Located in the central district of Daoli, Harbin city, Heilongjiang province, the Saint Sophia Cathedral was first built in 1907 and rebuilt into brick and wood structure in 1912. It is the largest Orthodox Church in the Far East. In November, 1996, it was listed as one of the Key Cultural Relics under State Protection. Six months later, it was repaired and renamed as Harbin Art Gallery by the Harbin City government. It is a respectable landmark for Harbiners and for tourism.
The history of St. Sophia Church was complex. Shortly after the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), in March, 1907, the Russian built the church of timber. Then, the Russian rebuilt it using masonry and timber four years later. The onset of a second reconstruction by Russian was marked on September 23rd, 1923, and a ceremony was held to celebrate laying the corner stone. It was completed on November 25th, 1932, after nine years, and was hailed as a monumental work of art.
Sophia Cathedral is the most finely protected Byzantine architecture in China. The whole Saint Sophia Square and the magnificent and elegant Church with nearly a hundred years’ history are full of charming and mysterious colors. Thousands of beautiful pictures presenting the past, the present and the future of the cultural city of Harbin are being displayed in modern professional exhibit halls in the Saint Sophia Square. The Saint Sophia Square and Church of Saint Sophia attracts millions of tourists from home and abroad.