The Building That Didn’t Get Built

I think the best thing about our trip to Russia was seeing the building that didn’t get built.

Yeah, the building that didn’t get built.

On our last day there, my daughter Taylor and I saw the sights of Moscow. The most memorable was the Cathedral of Christ Our Savior, which is not too far from Red Square in the heart of the city.

The original Cathedral had been blown up and torn down by the Soviets under Stalin in 1931. Their plan was to replace the Cathedral with a “Palace Of The Soviets” — an enormous building dedicated to the Communist way of life. And a central piece of the “Communist way of life” is atheism.

The Soviets designed a building taller than the Empire State Building, topped by an ominous statue of Vladimir Lenin. You can see architectural renderings in this article. It’s the closest things to a modern-day Tower Of Babel I’ve ever seen.

And it never got built.

The resources ran short, the money ran dry, and time ran out. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90s, all they had on the site was a swimming pool. No soaring skyscraper, no ode to Communist living, no statue of Lenin.

But it gets better. When Communism fell, the new Russian leaders and people decided to rebuild the Cathedral that the Stalinists had torn down. So they did. And it’s gorgeous. Again, you can read all about it in the article I reference above. Our Moscow travel guide described the new Cathedral as a testimony to “the victory of Christianity over Communism.” While the reality is not quite that clear cut in Russia, the line sure hints at the truth.

The building that didn’t get built. And the one that did. God is good.