BEIJING. December 10, 2004
The authorities of Harbin decided to re-open the five-domed Iversk church.
(forgive my ignorance, but all old depictions of Harbin's Holy Iversk
Church, we can see SEVEN domes: five on the church's roof, one on the
belltower, one above the temple's altar. I don't insist on anything -
perhaps the belltower's dome and that above the altar are not part of
count?) Harbin's Russian population sometimes referred to the
1908 structure as the "military church": it was built in memory of
soldiers who fell in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War.
é migré s -- former White Army officers -- were buried on the adjoining
cemetery. Inside the church, which for a long time was used as a
factory warehouse, one can still find the semi-destroyed tomb of
General Vladimir Kappel, whose remains were brought by Whites
retreating from Chita. (The church is
used as a warehouse and garage - a horizontal partition has been
The second floor has offices of a Chinese firm. V.O. Kappel's burial
is outside the church, along its northern side.) A magnificent mosaic panel is to be re-built
in the church as well as other decorative elements -- the fate of the
tomb is still unclear. (The mosaic panels are outside the
church, decorating its exterior walls.)
A large Russian colony once existed in Harbin -- a major population
point along the Chinese-Eastern Railroad (KVZhD in Russian), now an
administrative center of Heilongjiang Province. (Harbin was founded by Russians, who
in it for over two hundred years, not just decades.) Memory of the
colony's presence is preserved in the "Russian" architecture of the
old part of the city -- and also in the lexicon of present-day
natives of Harbin who refer to bread as "leba", and a bucket as "veydelo" (I, nevertheless, would transcribe this word as "veydalo").
Harbin's municipal authorities will reconstruct the historical
center, attempting to return "European" features to certain streets.