Church built for Russian polar explorers working in Antarctica

Gorno-Altaisk, a town in Western Siberia, has built a church for Russian polar explorers working in Antarctica. In the next few months, the details of the church will be transported to the ice continent and erected at Bellinshausen station.

The idea to construct a temple for polar explorers was advanced by a resident of Gorno-Altaisk. Russian explorers asked that the church be named after St. Nicholas the Wonder-Worker, the saint known in Russian Orthodox tradition as the protector of all travelers.

Constructed to admit 25-30 people at a time, the church was built of Siberian cedar, a wood species known for its durability and frost-proof qualities. The iconostasis is being painted by artists from Palekh, a Central Russian village famous for its lacquered miniatures. The bells were ordered by descendants of the famous Russian Decembrist Muravyov-Apostol, who reside in Switzerland. In December 1825, the Decembrists organized an uprising against the tsar. The majority of the plotters were later exiled to Siberia.

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