Google celebrates 450 years of Saint Basil's Cathedral

It's been a while since we saw a pretty Google Doodle - but there aren't many prettier buildings in the world than Saint Basil's Cathedral and that is exactly what Google has chosen as the inspiration for its latest design.

In order to celebrate 450 years of its existence, Google has gone for a simple design that simply highlights the beauty of the building rather than an interactive design which it has been fond of as of late.

The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat, to give it its full moniker, is a Russian Orthodox church of which building began back in 1555. It was completed in 1561 and now takes pride of place in Moscow's Red Square.

Ordered by Ivan IV to celebrate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the geometric centre of the city and held the title of the tallest building in Moscow for 49 years. The building was badly damaged during the 1917 Bolshevik takeover of the Kremlin but has since been restored to its former glory.

The design of its nine onion-shaped domes combine the traditions of Russian wooden architecture with Byzantine and Islamic influences. Geeks will also notice that it's the inspiration for the buildings on the original Holobyte version of Tetris.

For those keeping count, we make this Google Doodle #126 for 2011.