The Assumption Cathedral of St. Sophia of the Tobolsk Kremlin is the oldest white stone building in Siberia erected during 1683-86 by an artel of masons from Moscow and Veliky Ustyug headed by Gerasim Sharypin.
The decision about the construction of the cathedral was taken under Metropolitan Paul I of Tobolsk, the former archimandrite of the Chudov Monastery of the Moscow Kremlin. He ordered masons to use the designs of a cathedral of the Ascension Convent of the Moscow Kremlin (now this convent is being restored).
The height of the St. Sophia Cathedral is 47 meters and the thickness of the walls reaches 2 meters. By June 1684 the cathedral was almost finished but the support pillars failed and the vault collapsed on the night to June 27. A year later the construction was resumed and in October 1686 the stone cathedral was consecrated in honour of of the Dormition (Assumption) of the Mother of God but the former name also was preserved.For almost 3 hundred years this was the main cathedral of the bishops and metropolitans of Tobolsk and Siberia, as well as their burial vault. There are 7 burials under the floor of the cathedral.
From within the cathedral looks very big. The vaults of the cathedral are supported by massive pillars, which were made thicker than usual after the collapse. In 1710, by the order of Peter the Great, the Treasury gave a thousand roubles for a new carved iconostasis.
In 1930 all churches of Tobolsk, including St. Sophia Cathedral, were closed. For some time it was even used to accommodate the families of the exiled and the de-kulakized. About that time the magnificent iconostasis and church plate disappeared. Then the cathedral was used as a grain storage.
Fortunately, the cathedral wasn’t destroyed, unlike many cathedrals in the other cities of Russia. In 1940 the monuments of history and culture of Tobolsk were entered in the museum books. Since that time St. Sophia Cathedral had been a museum and in 1991 it was returned to the Church.