Church of the Archangel Michael (1745-54), South View, Tobol'sk, Russia


This photograph of the southwest view of the Church of the Archangel Michael 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. Among the city's imposing 18th-century "Siberian baroque" churches, the Archangel Michael Church is a dominant feature of the traditional commercial district, or "Lower Town," near the Irtysh River. The structure was built in two stages (a typical practice for large churches in Siberia). The lower level (1745-1749) was used for worship in the winter. The upper church, consecrated in 1754, was not completed until 1759. Further modifications occurred at the end of the 18th and in the 19th centuries. Vertical emphasis is provided by the baroque dome and by the bell tower that rises above the high stairway to the upper vestibule. The bell tower, demolished for political reasons in the 1930s, was rebuilt during a restoration of the church for parish use. The territory of the church is enclosed by an iron fence of elaborate 18th-century design.

Last updated: January 11, 2016