Ascension Cathedral, Almaty

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Ascension Cathedral
Вознесенский собор
Zenkov cathedral.jpg
Location Almaty
Country Kazakhstan
Denomination Russian Orthodox
Consecrated 1907
Style Ukrainian baroque

The Ascension Cathedral (Russian: Вознесенский собор, Voznesenskij sobor), also known as Zenkov Cathedral, is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located in Panfilov Park in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Completed in 1907, it is claimed to be the second tallest wooden building in the world,[1] but the church of Sapânta and the monasteries of Bârsana and Peri, all in Maramures, Romania, are now all higher.[2]


Opening ceremony of the cathedral 1907

In the late 19th century the first bishops of the Turkistan eparchy discussed the need for a Russian Orthodox Church in Almaty. On September 26, 1903 the bishop of Turkestan and Tashkent, Paisii (Vinogradov) consecrated the foundation of the church. Construction lasted 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,[3] although some credit might also be given to the advanced anti-earthquake techniques invented or employed by the architect, Andrei Pavlovich Zenkov.[4]

The inner structure of the cathedral was made in the artistic workshops of Moscow and Kiev. The iconostasis was painted by N. Khludov. 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 important public organizations. The first radio transmitters in Almaty were situated in the cathedral's belfry.[3]

Front View of the cathedral during winter

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, and after additional restoration work it was reopened for religious services in 1997.[5]


  1. ^ Ness, Immanuel. Encyclopedia of World Cities. M E Sharpe Reference, 1999. ISBN 0-7656-8017-3. p. 19.
  2. ^ Burford, Tim & Longley, Norm The Rough Guide to Romania. Rough Guides, 201. ISBN 978-1-84836-887-3. p. 287.
  3. ^ a b Zhamkhanova, K. A., A. K. Botanov, and Manash Kabashevich Kozybaev. Pamiatniki istorii i kulʹtury Almaty: katalog dokumentov. Almaty: Izd-vo Ȯner, 2003. ISBN 9965-595-57-7. p. 39.
  4. ^ Dombrovsky, Yury "Khranitel Drevnostey" 1964, trans. as "The Keeper of Antiquities" Longmans 1969, pp. 18, 19
  5. ^ Свято-Вознесенский кафедральный собор Аппарат акима Медеуского района (in Russian)

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Coordinates: 43°15′32″N 76°57′11″E / 43.258789°N 76.953160°E / 43.258789; 76.953160