In the Historical Centre (Vologda Kremlin)

St Sophia's Cathedral and Bell Tower

St Sophia's Cathedral is the major landmark in Vologda and the oldest surviving building in the city. Construction of the white stone building was began in 1568 during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. However all construction work was unexpectedly halted in 1571 on the orders of the tsar, when the cathedral was still unfinished. It was only fully completed and consecrated in 1587 under the reign of Ivan's son Feodor I. In structure it is a traditional Russian monumental church with six pillars and five domes. Between 1654 and 1659 the cathedral's old wooden bell tower was rebuilt in stone and between 1869 and 1870 the original tent dome of the bell tower was replaced, adding 32 metres to the structure giving it a new height of 78.5 metres.

The cathedral's interior was decorated with beautiful frescoes in 1686 by a group of masters from Yaroslavl led by famous fresco painter Dmitri Plekhanov. The frescoes have been restored over the centuries and their original beauty has been preserved. The cathedral also features a iconostasis. The current one, which is the third to be installed in the cathedral, dates from 1741.

In 1923 the cathedral and bell tower were turned into museums of the Vologda State Historical, Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve, which they remain to this day although religious services are also occasionally held here.

Location 15 Ulitsa Sergeya Orlova
Clock 10:00 - 17:00. Closed on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays.