Church of the Savior (1706-10), East View, Irkutsk, Russia


This photograph of the Church of the Miraculous Icon of the Savior (Spas Nerukotvornyi) in the city of Irkutsk was taken in 1999 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. From the time of its first log forts in the 1660s, Irkutsk was destined to be the administrative and commercial center of eastern Siberia. In 1700, Irkutsk became the third Siberian city capable of producing bricks on a large scale. Shortly thereafter, in 1706-10, the master builder Moisei Dolgikh erected this church, the town's oldest surviving masonry structure. This view, taken from the east, shows the apse (the location of the main altar) and the high east wall. The lower level of the two-story building was used to store fur pelts until 1713, when a secondary altar, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, was created for use in the winter. The east wall contains unusual early-19th century paintings, whose subjects include the Baptism of Christ (center) and the Sanctification of Innokentii Kul'chitskii, first bishop of the Eparchy of Irkutsk and Nerchinsk. The Savior church was closed in 1931. After a prolonged restoration, it was converted in 1982 into an exhibit space of the Irkutsk Regional History Museum. In 2006, the church was returned to parishioners as a place of worship.

Last updated: January 11, 2016