Architecture in Russia

South Florida has a large population of Russian émigrés. I am particularly fond of all things Russian because I spent 6 weeks in Astrakhan, Russia while adopting our son Thomas.

The first thing which visitors see when they travel to Russia, is the buildings, i.e. architecture of Russia.

The history of Russian architecture reflected all changes that took place in Russia. They name about eight main periods in the development of Russian architecture.

During the greatest part of its history, architecture of Russia was mainly religious. The churches were built everywhere: in big and small cities, in villages; each settlement had its own church. The first churches were from wood, that’s why they didn’t preserve to present time, but anyway the first constructions were to be built from stone earlier than other erections. Nowadays, they are the buildings that can “narrate” about styles of architecture of that time to us.

The 11th century is considered to be the period of time, when the fundamental elements of Russian church appeared. The churches of that time are St. Sophia Cathedral, cathedrals St Anthony’s, St George’s,and St Nicholas’s. At the beginning of its development, architecture was under Byzantine impact, further it was under influence of Romanesque architecture of Western Europe.

The churches that were erected during medieval period (about 13-18 centuries) can be seen nowadays. The well-known Cathedral of St. Basil’s appeared under reigning of Ivan the Terrible. The tsars of that time influenced architecture styles greatly. It was Peter the Great who began this tradition and imposed European styles. The result of it is Smolny Cathedral and the rococo Winter Palace. While Catherine the Great was ruling, neoclassicism was a preferable style.

The favorite style of Alexander I was the Empire Style, in what if you travel Russia can assure visiting the Kazan Cathedral, the Bolshoi Theater, and St Isaac’s Cathedral. The second half of the 19th century showed the interest to traditional Russian architecture (the Kremlin Armory and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Great Kremlin Palace).

The new style of architecture appeared with downfall of Russian Empire. Soviet Union is remarkable for withdrawal from modernism, that’s why the majority of buildings were very similar to each other.

Similar is not a word to describe Raymond Jungles. He is a trendsetter and is setting the landscape architecture world on fire. Check out the May issue of Architectural Digest Russia. A 6 page spread on his comprehensive work.

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