On the fifth day of our tour, the group returns to Irkutsk. During the day we will see the most interesting things in this city.
In 1849, the Irkutsk gold-mining millionaire Evfimiy Andreevich Kuznetsov made a donation of 250 thousand rubles for the construction of a new cathedral in Irkutsk. It was not immediately possible to choose a place for the construction of the cathedral. Discussion of this issue lasted from 1850 to 1872 with detailed publication of various options in print. On April 17, 1875, the birthday of Emperor Alexander II, the new cathedral was solemnly laid by Bishop Benjamin, in the presence of the Governor-General of Eastern Siberia Baron Fredericks and other officials and residents of Irkutsk.
The Irkutsk Cathedral was one of the largest religious buildings in Russia. It accommodated 5,000 worshipers, and its height reached 61 meters. Contemporaries testified that the cathedral was "the fourth provincial in size and beauty inside and out."
After the October Revolution, in conditions of persecution and terror against the church, the life of the cathedral began to freeze. An active campaign was waged in the local press for the liquidation of the cathedral. On November 10, 1930, on the basis of a resolution of the Presidium of the Irkutsk District Executive Committee, despite the petitions of the Diocesan Church Administration, the cathedral was closed.
An attempt to dismantle the cathedral into building material was unsuccessful. Then it was decided to blow it up. The first explosion of the cathedral took place in August 1932. He had five domes, and explosives were placed under each. The cathedral did not give up. The first explosion was followed by the second, third, fourth ... There was so much rubble that it was enough to fill the access road to the bridge over the Angara, which was being built at that time. Brigades of workers manually disassembled the wreckage of the cathedral, unloading them on trolleys, which took away the garbage along temporary rails arranged in the square. After leveling the remains of the cathedral on Tikhvin Square, its level rose by almost 1 meter.
In October 2001, at the initiative of the regional administration, a memorial chapel was built on the site of the cathedral in the name of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, destroyed in 1932. It is a commemorative sign to commemorate the 3rd millennium of Christianity in Russia and is a reduced copy of one of the four small chapters of the cathedral (2/3 of its current size).