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Saint Sophia Cathedral

Saint Sophia Cathedral is located in Sophia Square, Daoli District, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, China. It is an orthodox church with Byzantine style built in 1907. It is a landmark building in Harbin. In 1986, Harbin Municipal People’s government listed it as a class I protected building; in 1996, with the approval of the State Council, it was listed as the fourth batch of national key cultural relics protection units. The interior of Saint Sophia Cathedral is now used as “Harbin Architectural Art Museum”.

The Saint Sophia Cathedral was built in March 1907, the 33rd year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty. It was originally a troop church built by the Fourth Infantry Division of eastern Siberia of Russia when it built the Middle East Railway. In the same year, the Russian tea merchant Chisjiakov built a new all wood structure Church based on the troop church. In 1911, a brick wall was built outside the wooden wall, forming a brick-wood structure church.

On September 27, 1923, Saint Sophia Cathedral was rebuilt for the second time. It lasted nine years and was completed on November 25, 1932. It became the largest Orthodox Church in the Far East. Sophia Church is designed by Russian architect Keyasikov. It is magnificent, elegant and magnificent. The church has a height of 53.25 meters and a building area of 721 square meters. At the top of the main gate is a bell tower. The seven bronze bells are exactly seven notes. It is necessary for a well-trained bell ringer to beat the bell with his hands and feet. The building plan of the church is arranged in the form of Greek cross, which is influenced by Byzantine architectural style. The main dome and bell tower have the traditional Russian “tent roof” and “onion head” shapes.

In 1986, Harbin Municipal People’s government listed it as a Class I protected building. In November 1996, it was listed as the fourth batch of national key cultural relics protection units. From June 2 to September 2, 1997, Harbin Municipal People’s Government renovated the church according to its original design. Sofia Square was expanded to 7000 square meters and turned into Harbin Architectural Art Museum to publicize and promote the unique architectural culture of Harbin.

In 2000, Harbin Municipal People’s government organized and expanded the construction projects of Harbin Architectural Art Square, central leisure square and urban construction planning exhibition hall, which were completed and put into use on October 1 of that year. After the expansion, the area of the building art square increased from 6000 square meters to 10000 square meters, and the central square area was 36154 square meters.

Saint Sophia Cathedral constitutes the unique and exotic cultural landscape and urban customs of Harbin. It is the historical witness of the Russian invasion of Northeast China and an important relic in the study of modern history of Harbin. It plays an irreplaceable role in promoting the multi-cultural construction of Harbin, promoting the opening-up, friendly exchanges and social and economic development of Harbin.

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