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The Assumption Cathedral

The historic centre of the city is also marked by another marvellous church — the Assumption Cathedral. Following the spirit and design of the Saint Clement Church in Moscow, it was erected in 1777 to replace the stone church destroyed in the fire. It took six years for the sculptors, icon-painters and wood-carvers to decorate the interiors, paint walls, and construct an enormous wooden icon-stand which is thought to have been designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli. In 1844 the new belfry was erected to commemorate the victory of Russian troops over Napoleon. The building (unlike the Baroque cathedral) was created by a university architect E. Vasiliev in Classical style. Together with the cross, the belfry is 89.5 metres high. The cost of the construction was 110,000 silver roubles which were collected as donations. In 1862 the first striker was set on the belfry. It was made by a French company ‘Borel’ and was the first clock of this kind in Kharkiv. The clock face diameter was 3.7m.

In the times of the Soviet Union, the Assumption Cathedral was closed and all its treasures were confiscated. In 1929 its domes were taken down and one year later the bells were removed from the belfry, while a local radio antenna replaced the cross. After the restoration carried out in the 1980s, the Cathedral became home to the House of Organ and Chamber Music, with an organ specifically made for it in Czechoslovakia. Today the Church of St. Paraskeva Piatnitsa is renewed in the Cathedral. As for the organ, another location is being prepared for it