Pin from the Soviet Union. The text on the pin reads:”History Of Religion And Atheism. Museum Leningrad”. The building on the pin is the Kazan Cathedral.
The construction of the cathedral started in 1801 and finished in 1811. The architect Andrey Voronikhin modelled the building on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Although the Russian Orthodox Church strongly disapproved of the plans to create a replica of a Catholic basilica in Russia’s then capital, several courtiers supported the Empire Style design.
After Napoleon invaded Russia (1812) and the commander-in-chief General Mikhail Kutuzov asked The Lady of Kazan for help, the church’s purpose changed. When the war with Napolean ended the Russians saw the cathedral primarily as a memorial to their victory over Napoleon.
In 1876 the Kazan demonstration, the first political demonstration in Russia, took place in front of the church. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 the authorities closed the cathedral (January 1932). In November 1932 it reopened as the pro-Marxist “Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism”. Services resumed in 1992, and four years later the cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.