Cathedral of St Sophia

sights / Religious

Cathedral of St Sophia information

Opening hours
8am-8pm, services 10am-noon daily & 6-8pm Wed-Sun
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Lonely Planet review

This working cathedral, the kremlin’s focal point, was finished in 1050. It has a simple, fortress-like exterior designed to withstand attack or fire (flames had taken out an earlier, wooden church on the site). The onion domes were probably added during the 14th century – even so, they are perhaps the first example of this most Russian architectural detail. The west doors, dating from the 12th century, have tiny cast-bronze biblical scenes and even portraits of the artists. The icons inside date from the 14th century; older ones are in the museum opposite.