Three Oldest Buildings of any kind still in use in Russia

Shoana Church
Shoana Church

These are a collection of the oldest structures in Russia that are still in use today. This information came from outside sources, but I will say that my thoughts where to show the length and depth of the Russian culture. Each of these building have been used for over a thousand years. The fact that they are still being used for their original purpose is even more extraordinary in itself once one knows a bit about Russian history. This will be the first of many post exploring the history of Russia’s architecture from it’s churches which are at the core of architecture in Russia. I would enjoy comments and ideas for future postings in this subject.

Shoana Church (Russian: Шоанинский храм), also known as Khumara Church (Russian: Хумаринский храм), is an early 10th-century Alanian church sited on a cliff above the left bank of the Kuban River, 7 km upstream from Karachayevsk, Russia and 4 km downstream from the ruins of Skhimar, in the vicinity of Kosta Khetagurov Village. It is a typical Byzantine-style church, 12.9 meters high, with three naves, separated by four pillars. The building was first explored and depicted by Joseph Bernardazzi in 1829; a more scholarly description was given by Abraham Firkovich in 1848. Two medieval books from this church are now in the University of Göttingen.

This link is to a 360 degree view of the church: Shoana Church (2010).


North Church

North Church served as the Cathedral of the Alanian Empire during the 10th -13th centuries.[citation needed] The church was constructed using sandstone. The plan has the shape of a cross. The length of the church without narthex is 21 meters.

Some of the frescoes of the late 19th century were painted by DM Strukov. Fragments of ancient plaster, already without the paint layer, have been preserved during the restoration of the walls of the church. According to v. a. Kuznetsov North Church was perhaps constructed from 914-916 and was dedicated to St. Nicholas the miracle worker. Inside the church are an ancient baptistery, altar, and cemetery near the south wall. Saint_Sophia_Cathedral_in_Novgorod

The Cathedral of St. Sophia

The 38-metre-high, five-domed, stone cathedral was built by Vladimir of Novgorod between 1045 and 1050 to replace an oaken cathedral built by Bishop Ioakim Korsunianin in the late tenth century (making it the oldest church building in Russia proper and, with the exception of the Arkhyz and Shoana churches, the oldest building of any kind still in use in the country). It was consecrated by Bishop Luka Zhidiata (1035–1060) on September 14, in 1050 or 1052, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. (A fresco just inside the south entrance depicts Sts. Constantine and Helena, who found the true cross in the fourth century; it is one of the oldest works of art in the cathedral and is thought to commemorate its dedication.) While it is commonly known as St. Sophia’s, it is not named for any of the female saints of that name (i.e., Sophia of Rome or Sophia the Martyr); rather, the name comes from the Greek for wisdom (Σoφíα, from whence we get words like philosophia or philosophy—”the love of wisdom”), and thus Novgorod’s cathedral is dedicated to the Holy Wisdom of God, in imitation of the Hagia Sophia cathedral of Constantinople. It replaced an even older wooden, 13-domed church built in or around 989 by Bishop Ioakim Korsunianin, the first bishop of Novgorod. The main, golden cupola, was gilded by Archbishop Ioann (1388–1415) in 1408. The sixth (and the largest) dome crowns a tower which leads to the upper galleries. In medieval times these were said to hold the Novgorodian treasury and there was a library there, said to have been started by Yaroslav the Wise. When the library was moved to the St. Petersburg Spiritual Academy in 1859, it numbered more than 1,500 volumes, some dating back to the 13th century. The current Archbishop, Lev (Nikolai L’vovich Tserpitskii),has reestablished a library there, in keeping with the ancient tradition. As of 2004, it housed some 5,000 volumes. A Sunday school is also held in the gallery.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s