The Cathedral of Ascension is a Russian orthodox cathedral located in Panfilov Park in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Completed in 1907, the cathedral is made of wood, however the structure contains no nails. Its height is 56 meters tall and is claimed to be the second tallest wooden building in the world.
Viewing the cathedral's exterior
Upon arriving at the cathedral, visitors will notice the prominent six golden domes of varying sizes. The central dome of the cathedral is the largest, and each dome is decorated with gold, orthodox crosses on top. One of the more popular focal points of the cathedral for visitors is the bell tower above the main entry doors. In the late 19th century the first bishops of the Turkistan eparchy discussed the need for a Russian orthodox church in Almaty. In September 1903, the bishop of Turkestan and Tashkent, consecrated the foundation of the church. Construction took place between 1904 and 1907. The belfry was erected on September 14, 1906. The cathedral survived the 1911 earthquake with minimal damage (even though it was built without any nails) which some bishops attributed to divine intervention (although some credit might also be given to the advanced anti-earthquake techniques employed). The inner structure of the cathedral was made in art workshops in Moscow and Kiev.
After the Russian Revolution the cathedral was used to house the Central State Museum of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. From 1930 to 1940 it was used by notable public organizations. The first radio transmitters in Almaty were situated in the cathedral's belfry. Restoration work on the cathedral began in 1973 and lasted until 1976. In May 1995 control of the cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1997, after additional restoration work, it was reopened for religious services. For decades, the cathedral was a wooden building, until recently a stone building was erected in its place. At that time Tomsk was the largest city in the region and it was Tomsk eparchy that made the decision about the construction of the cathedral.
Cathedral and warehouse history
At the end of the 1930s the Cathedral of Ascension was used as a warehouse for storing grain, and unlike most similar cases of dual-use houses of worship, it wasn't severely damaged and even its interior decoration remained almost completely intact. In 1944 the cathedral was again consecrated, and religious services were resumed. The cathedral is conveniently located in the center of the city, with easy access and has a nice park to sit, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
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