St. Sophia Church, situated in the square of architectural art in Harbin, is the largest orthodox church in the Far East. The church is 175 feet (53.35 meters) high and covers over 7,700 square feet (721 square meters). Representative of Byzantine architecture, it was listed as national cultural heritage site in November, 1996. In June, 1997, St. Sophia Church was repaired and renamed Harbin Art Gallery.
This majestic and extremely beautiful church was built in 1907. With the completion of the Trans-Siberian railway, the 4th infantry divisions of Russia invaded Harbin as part of the Russo-Japanese War (1904 – 1905). Aimed at stabilizing the morale of army, the church was constructed at the heart of Harbin. Later, Sophia Church held its opening ceremony for expanding and renovating on September 23rd, 1923. After nine years of elaborate construction, the cathedral opened, which was praised as a monumental work of art.
The green dome and brick walls of the church are distinctly different from the architectural style of Chinese buildings, causing the cathedral stand out in the midst of busy Harbin city. The church has four floors which are connected by stairs and are accessible by a door on each side. In addition, there are seven bronze bells like seven music notes in the bell tower situated on the top of the front door. When there were important festivals in the past, the bells would ring out a harmonized melody.
Admission Fee: 20RMB
Open time: 8:00-18:00
How to Get there: Take the No. 1, 2, 13, 15, 64, 66, 113 bus to arrive there.