Cathedral of the Icon of the Sign (1768-1801), Early 20th Century, South View, Tiumen', Russia


This photograph of the south façade of the Cathedral of the Icon of the Sign (Znamenie) in the western Siberian city of Tiumen' 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 1586 on the site of a Tatar settlement at the confluence of the Tiumenka and Tura rivers, Tiumen' is considered the oldest permanent Russian settlement in Siberia. Until the 19th century, it existed in the shadow of Tobol'sk, located to the north, on the same river network. (The Tura is a tributary of the Tobol River.) The importance of Tiumen’ as a center of Russian Orthodoxy is evident in the elaborately decorated Cathedral of the Icon of the Sign. Begun in 1768, two years after a fire that destroyed most of Tiumen', the church was built in stages as funds became available. A side altar to St. John Chrysostom was dedicated in 1775, but the main altar was not consecrated until 1801. The church is a remarkable, if belated, example of an exuberant baroque style of Ukrainian origin. The structure preserved its stylistic unity even with expansion and the addition of numerous altars from 1850 to 1904. Designated a cathedral in 1913, the church was closed from 1929 until 1944, when it was reopened for worship.

Last updated: January 11, 2016