Cathedral of St. Seraphim (1907), Southwest View, Viatka, Russia


This photograph of the Cathedral of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Viatka 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. The city of Viatka, renamed Kirov in 1934, is located on the Viatka River, 900 kilometers east of Moscow. Founded in 1181 under the name "Khlynov," Viatka was brought into the Muscovite realm by the end of the 15th century. The town subsequently became a trading and administrative center in northeastern European Russia. By 1897 its population had reached 25,000. Located on the rail line between Nizhnii Novgorod and Perm', the city grew rapidly during the Soviet period. Its population now hovers around half a million. The most colorful of its architectural landmarks is the Cathedral of St. Seraphim, completed in 1907 to a design by the local architect Ivan Charushin. The structure has a bell tower on the west and chapels attached to the north and south facades. This ensemble displays a profuse array of cupolas, ornamental gables and arches outlined in white on red walls in imitation of 17th-century Muscovite architecture. It is dedicated to St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833), a prominent Russian monastic canonized in 1903 with the support of Nicholas II.

Last updated: January 11, 2016