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Seven of Russia’s Most Spectacular Churches

St. Basil's Red Square Moscow

Source: Flickr

Despite decades of Soviet atheism, Russia remains a deeply religious country. Part of that devotion expresses itself in vibrant displays of faith. The saints of Russian icons, for example, look almost like sci-fi sages, wearing gold-trimmed, hooded robes, flashing mystical gang signs, and backlit by orange-orb haloes. By design, they are otherworldly.

The same is true of Russian churches. Their architecture trumpets the existence of a realm beyond this earth. For tens of millions of Russian devotees, these houses of prayer and worship are a link to that supernatural world, which is still a very real presence in their lives, as it was for their forbearers.

Here are seven of the most stunning examples of Russian religious architecture. These churches sprout across the wastelands of the former Soviet empire like flowers in the snow.

1. Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Sergiyev Posad

Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

Source: Flickr

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What We Love This Week, Volume CXXXV

Archtoyanie Sculpture Dancing Girl

Image Source: Smithsonian

Inside Russia’s Surreal Summer Sculpture Festival

Archtoyanie Sculptures Towers

Image Source: Smithsonian

It started with an army of snowmen. From there, Russian artist Nikolay Polissky moved on to a castle made of firewood and a 50-foot lighthouse made of branches. Soon, he launched the Archstoyanie festival and drew other artists and architects to the small town to the quiet, rural Kaluga region. But with over 40,000 visiting the sculptures of Polissky and company last year, the region is becoming a little less sedate. Given the fascinatingly surreal character of the festival’s sculptures and installations, it’s no surprise that more and more are flocking to Kaluga. See for yourself at Smithsonian.

Archtoyanie Sculptures Towers Light

Image Source: Smithsonian

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The Moscow Metro: A Mausoleum Of Revolutionary Ideals

Chandeliers Moscow Metro

Where else is the daily commute lit up by chandeliers? Be sure to check out the gallery at the end of this article for more gorgeous visions of the Moscow Metro. Source:

An average of 6.8 million riders get on the Moscow Metro every day. That is two million more daily riders than the ones crammed into the subway cars in New York City. For those nearly seven million Muscovites and visitors to the Russian capital, a ride in the metro is also a passage through an increasingly distant, though fascinating, Soviet past.

As in all state-sponsored, quasi-religious art, there is more than a seed of propaganda strewn across the gorgeous murals, sculptures and intricate ceilings of the Moscow Metro. The subway system of the former Soviet capital was explicitly created in the 1930s and 1940s as a paean to the highest ideals of Russia’s Communist revolution.

Moscow Metro CCCP Ceiling

The twelve mosaics from the 1950s on the ceiling at the Belorusskaya Station celebrate Soviet life in Russia’s neighbor, Belarus. Source:

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This Year’s Aquatics World Championships Are A Visual Feast

The FINA Aquatics World Championships have attracted the world’s best aquatics athletes since 1973. Hosted by FINA (translated from French as the International Federation for Swimming), competitions include a number of aquatics sports such as swimming, diving, high diving, water polo, open water swimming, and synchronized swimming. In other words, the FINA Championships are the place for aquatics competitors to show off their skills.

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