The Russian Church in Geneva, Switzerland is a lovely 19th-century Russian Orthodox church topped with golden onion domes and filled with treasures.
History of Russian Church
Russians first started coming to Geneva in the 19th century after writer Nikolai Karamsin visited and described the place in one of his travelogues. In 1859, the tolerant authorities of Geneva authorized the growing Russian Orthodox population to build a church.
The Grand Duchess Anna Fyodorovna, sister-in-law of Tsar Alexander I and aunt of Queen Victoria, was a long-time resident of Geneva. Geneva and funded the construction of a Russian Orthodox church in 1863. Built over the remains of a 16th-century Benedictine priory, it was designed by Grimm, a professor at the St-Petersburg Academy, and completed in 1866.
A stately neighborhood (Les Tranchées) developed around the church in the late 19th century, accommodating the many Russians who came to Geneva to study. Since the fall of Communism, Geneva's existing Russian community has been joined by a wave of new-rich Russians, about 3,000 of whom now call the Swiss city home.
Today the Russian Chuch serves not only the Russian community but also Bulgarians, Serbs, Coptic Christians and other Orthodox worshippers who do not have their own church in Geneva.
What to See at Russian Church
The Russian Church (full name: Cathédrale de l'Exaltation de la Sainte Croix) is designed in a Byzantine Moscovite style topped with colorful, golden onion domes (restored in 1966). It is entered via a stately porch with Byzantine-style striped arches.
The interior features icons from the 16th to 20th centuries as well as treasures donated by the Russian imperial family.
Quick Facts on Russian Church
|Église Russe · Russian Church
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|46.198896° N, 6.153781° E
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Map of Russian Church, Geneva
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