Cathedral of the Annuciation (1560-84), Southwest Panorama with Vychegda River, Sol'vychegodsk, Russia


This southwest view of the Cathedral of the Annunciation at Sol'vychegodsk (Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1996 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Located near the confluence of the Vychegda and Northern Dvina rivers, Sol’vychegodsk (Salt of the Vychegda) is in an area of many salt springs. In the 16th century it became the center of vast trading operations owned by the Stroganovs, whose wealth was based on salt. The patriarch of the dynasty, Anika (Ioannikii) Stroganov (1497-1570), began the Stroganovs’ practice of supporting the arts, including the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the last of the great masonry churches of the Russian north, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Work on the cathedral began in 1560 and apparently was concluded in the early 1570s, although the cathedral was not formally consecrated until 1584. The church is only two bays in length, but it has the five cupolas typical of major Russian churches. The exterior originally culminated in curved gables (zakomary), whose outlines are still visible beneath a four-sloped roof dating from the 18th century. The large neoclassical bell tower was added in 1819-26.

Last updated: January 11, 2016