A blast that destroyed the world’s largest Orthodox church and the launch of the first nuclear icebreaker are recalled in tonight’s Historama.
Christ the Savior dynamited
On this day in 1931 the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was demolished in Moscow.
The place where it stood was chosen by Soviet leaders for the site for the Palace of the Soviets. After attempts to disassemble the cathedral, it was dynamited.
The Palace of the Soviets, however, was never built due to a lack of funds. Under Nikita Khrushchev the area was transformed into the world’s largest open-air swimming pool.
In 1994 a three-year reconstruction program for the cathedral was begun. Now it is the biggest Orthodox church in the world.
Nuclear energy breaks the ice
On this day in 1954, the Soviet Union launched the Lenin icebreaker. It was the world’s first nuclear-powered surface ship and also the first nuclear-powered civilian vessel.
Many world leaders, including Richard Nixon, came to see the ship during construction and tests.
The Lenin broke the ice for 35 years until it was decommissioned in 1989. It is now berthed in ice-free Murmansk and serves as a museum.