St. Sophia Church Travel Guide
St. Sophia Church in Harbin is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the Far East Area.
It is 53.3 meters (175 feet) high and occupies an area of 721 square meters (0.18 acres). In November, 1996, it was listed as one of the Key Cultural Relics under State Protection. Half a year later, the Harbin City government repaired it and renamed it as Harbin Art Gallery.
It is a respectable landmark for Harbiners and for tourism.St. Sophia Church has a complex history. Shortly after the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), the Russian built the church of timber in March, 1907.
Then, the Russian rebuilt it using masonry and timber four years later. The onset of a second reconstruction by Russian was marked on September 23rd, 1923, and a ceremony was held to celebrate laying the corner stone.
It was completed on November 25th, 1932, after nine years, and was hailed as a monumental work of art.By the 1990s, St. Sophia had undergone considerable decline. The church no longer was in use, and residential apartments and office buildings surrounded it. Magnificent Russian painted murals that adorned the church´s arched walls were destroyed out of recognition.
While in 1997, the Harbin government under took to undo the decades of deterioration. But as the original Russian murals were lost completely, they were replaced by topically new murals depicting the architectural history of the Harbin community. And crosses that were removed in six places were replaced. Now, the murals, pendent lamps, dome and the bell tower are restored to their original splendor.
Bus No.1, 2, 13, 15, 64, 66, 113
Recommended time for a visit: two hours.
For the photographer, photography is permitted by purchasing a special ticket to hang on your camera.