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St Nicholas’ Cathedral


St Nicholas Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox church with very traditional background of relics and icons. The main tower, square in plan, is topped with five onion domes. The pale turquoise Nikolsky Sobor (Baytursynuly 51), with its gold onion domes, stands out west of the centre. The cathedral was built in 1909 and was later used as a stable for Bolshevik cavalry, before reopening in about 1980.

The interior is covered with pastel-toned murals of biblical scenes. It’s a terrifically atmospheric place, like a corner of old Russia, with icons, candles and restored frescoes inside and black-clad old supplicants outside. For the best impression, visit at festival times such as Orthodox Christmas Day (7 January) or Easter for the midnight services.

The Nikolsky Bazaar, which used to lie immediately to the north of the cathedral, was demolished in 2006, and nothing remains save for a few street-side stalls.