St. Sophia Cathedral (Harbin, China)

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The Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God in Harbin, China. Built in 1907, closed during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution period, and recently turned into a museum in 1997.
The Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God in Harbin, China.
Interior of dome of the Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God in Harbin, China.

The Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God or Saint Sophia Cathedral in Harbin
(Chinese: 聖索菲亜教堂, Russian: Софийский собор в Харбине) is a former Russian Orthodox church located in the central district of Daoli, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, China.

St. Sophia Orthodox Cathedral is one of the most magnificent structures in Harbin. It was built in 1907 after the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1903, which connected Vladivostok to northeast China. The Russian No.4 Army Division arrived in this region just after Russia's embarrassing loss to the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). St. Sophia Church was built and completed in 1907 as a spiritual symbol to help the army regain confidence. It was expanded and renovated in 1923 into the present day St. Sophia Church.

This church stands at 53 meters tall and is the perfect example of Neo-Byzantine architecture. The main structure is laid out like a cross with the main hall topped with a huge green tipped roof. Under the bright sun, the church and the square area it lies on looks quite like the Red Square in Moscow.

The cathedral was closed during the period of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution.

As of 1997 the cathedral was turned into the Municipal Architecture and Art Museum, showcasing the multi-cultural architectural developments of Harbin throughout the ages.


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