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St. Sophia Church
City: Harbin
Address : Harbin City, Heilongjiang, China
Open Hours : Daily ( 8:00am - 6:00pm )
Time for Visit: 1 Hours
Ticket Price : RMB 20/p.p
Introduction of the St. Sophia Church:

St. Sophia Church in Harbin is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the Far East. It is 53.3 meters high and occupies an area of 721 square meters. In November, 1996, it was listed as one of the Key Cultural Relics under State Protection. Half a year later, and the Harbin City government repaired it and renamed it as Harbin Art Gallery. It is a respectable landmark for Harbiners and for tourism.

St. Sophia Church has a complex history. Shortly after the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), the Russian built the church of timber in March, 1907. Then, the Russian rebuilt it using masonry and timber four years later. The onset of a second reconstruction by Russian was marked on September 23rd, 1923, and a ceremony was held to celebrate laying the corner stone. and it was completed on November 25th, 1932, after nine years, and was hailed as a monumental work of art.

St. Sophia Church in Harbin is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the Far East

The Byzantine style church is so beautiful, it is said to look as if it had been made by God's hands. In facts, St. Sophia means 'God's wisdom'. Having a Latin cross footprint, this church's original shape was preserved during reconstruction. The church has four floors and is accessible by a door on each side. Until the 1960's, the bell tower over the entrance housed 7 bells of the different sizes and tones. When there were religious festivals in the past, a well-trained ringer would play musical progressions, tolling the bells with ropes tied to his hand and feet. the bells resounded to the skies.


By the 1990's, St. Sophia had undergone considerable decline. The church no longer was in use, that's residential apartments and the office buildings surrounded it. Magnificent Russian painted murals that adorned the church arched walls were destroyed out of recognition. and in 1997, the Harbin government under took to undo the decades of deterioration. But as the original Russian murals were lost completely, they were replaced by topically the new murals depicting the architectural history of the Harbin community. And crosses that were removed in 6 places were replaced. Now, the murals, the pendent lamps, dome and the bell tower are restored to their original splendor.


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