The second tallest wooden cathedral in the world – Voznesenskyi sobor

Nazerke Makhanova | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The Vosnesenskyi sobor, which is located in Almaty, is a truly eye-catching and beautiful building in  Kazakhstan. Its striking architecture and peaceful view attract people to visit, have a walk around in the park, and take photos. As the second tallest wooden cathedral in the world, it is also included in the list of the eight highest wooden buildings around the world. Except for being called Vosnesenskyi sobor, which literally means Ascension Cathedral, it is also known as Zenkov Cathedral. In the next paragraphs, I will tell you shortly about the history of this fantastic building

© iStock / Photoprofi30

Zenkov Cathedral 

The cathedral is located in one of the most popular parks of Almaty, which is dedicated to the 28 Panfilov soldiers of WWII. At first, it was bearing the name of Sofia Cathedral, and then got renamed to 'Zenkov' after the engineer who supervised the building between 1904 to 1907. It was made according to a unique technology, which does not use any nails when building the construction. Thanks to this technology and its wooden structure, it stood still as an anti-seismic building at the time of the 1910 earthquake. The inner side of the cathedral was designed in Moscow and Kiyev. 

© Flickr / Martha de Jong-Lantink


In the time of the Soviet rule, the cathedral was ordered to be shut down in 1927. It was then robbed many times, and the library got almost destroyed - but yet, the building itself survived. From 1929, the cathedral served as the central governmental museum of Kazakhstan. Additionally, it hosted many public organizations. Even the bell tower was used as an antenna for the first radio broadcasts in Almaty. In May 1995, the place finally became a cathedral and received official religious importance. In all the special religious occasions, it gathers hundreds of people inside. The street where the сathedral is located also bears the name of the famous engineer Andrey Pavlovich Zenkov

The park

The cathedral is located right in the middle of the green park Panfilov. The Cathedral’s yellow color creates an amazing landscape of colors, surrounded by tall green trees. It is a place to find peace inside and out. The park has some attractions for the children, like trampolines and pony riding facilities. An interesting fact to observe is that there is a countless amount of pigeons flying around the cathedral. Usually, people buy some seeds at the shops and feed the pigeons there - it is like feeding ducks in the Stadtpark in Vienna. 

© Flickr / Helen Liu

What to discover around

The park is located in the heart of the old city center. Therefore, within less than 15 min, you can find dozens of stuff do to around here. There is a monument with an eternal flame made in the memory of the 28 Panfilov guardsmen. In a 5 min walk outside of the park, there is the museum of national folk musical instruments, as well as the military history museum, welcoming guests. Since you know that Kazakhstan played a significant role in WWII, including men and women soldiers, you will have the chance to learn more about Kazakhstan’s history while there. These two museums are good to get closer to the Kazakh nation and culture. By the way, if you are looking for anything to bring home, starting from the local delicacies to souvenirs at a fair price, in just a 10 min walk, you can reach the Green bazar of Almaty. It is a local market that sells almost everything that a person might need, from furniture to itsy bitsy necessities. 

Taking into consideration all of these beautiful and exciting things to discover around, I would say that it is worth visiting the park where the second tallest wooden cathedral in the world – Voznesenskyi sobor is placed. 

© Flickr / Dan Lundberg

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