Church of St. Alexander Nevskii (Late 17th Century), Northwest View, Vologda, Russia


This northwest view of the Church of Saint Alexander Nevskii 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 still standing, in various states of preservation. Among them is the Church of Saint Alexander Nevskii, located on the right bank of the Vologda River near the cathedrals of Saint Sophia and the Resurrection. It was originally called Saint Nicholas on the Limestone (na izvesti) because of its site near the remains of a fortress begun by Ivan the Terrible. Apparently built at the turn of the 18th century, the church was renovated in the 1860s and given a new dedication in honor of Tsar Alexander II’s survival of an assassination attempt in 1866. Its form is typical for parish churches, with a cuboid main structure (culminating in a cupola supported by octagons), a low vestibule (trapeznaia) and a bell tower on the west side. Closed in the 1920s, the church was reopened for worship in 1997.

Last updated: January 11, 2016