Church of St. Nicholas in Vladychnaia Sloboda (1669), Northwest View, Vologda, Russia


This northwest view of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Archbishop's Precinct (Vladychnaia sloboda) in Vologda was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Before the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Russia depended on a northern route through the White Sea for trade with western Europe. One of the most important centers on this route was Vologda, founded in the 12th century. A rich center of medieval Russian culture, Vologda has numerous churches. Among the oldest currently in existence is the Church of Saint Nicholas, a large five-domed brick building completed in 1669 on territory formerly belonging to the archbishop (vladyka) of Vologda. The monumental walls of the main structure have ornamental window surrounds and culminate in semicircular forms (zakomary) that spring from decorative pilaster strips. The heated ground level was used for winter worship and has its own altar. On the west side of the church, a compact, low vestibule (trapeznaia) connects to an entrance porch that supports a bell tower of ascending octagons. The ensemble of bells was taken down when the church was closed in 1930. In the early 1990s the cupolas were restored and the church was reopened for worship.

Last updated: January 11, 2016