Cathedral of St. Sophia and Dormition (1681-86), (right), and Cathedral of the Intercession (1743-46;1850-67), (left), East View, Tobol'sk, Russia


This photograph of the east view of the St. Sophia Cathedral ensemble in Tobol'sk (western Siberia) 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. Founded in 1587 at the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh rivers, Tobol'sk was for some two centuries the de facto Siberian capital and, as of 1620, the center of the vast Eparchy of Siberia. This exalted position was reflected in the main cathedral (visible on right), which was dedicated both to Saint Sophia (Divine Wisdom) and to the Dormition of the Mother of God. Begun in 1681 under the supervision of the Moscow builder Vasilii Larionov, the Tobol'sk cathedral was completed in 1686, thus making it the oldest masonry church in Siberia. In 1726, the original onion domes were replaced with Ukrainian-style, double-articulated domes. The sacristy, a simple cuboid structure, was later attached to the cathedral's southeast corner. The current bell tower was designed in 1785, but structural problems delayed completion of this monumental structure until 1797. The ensemble's final component was the Cathedral of the Intercession (left), originally completed in 1746 but rebuilt and expanded in the mid-19th century.

Last updated: January 11, 2016