Saint Nicolas Cathedral in Nice, France

The colourful Saint-Nicolas Cathedral in Nice in the south of France is the largest Russian Orthodox church outside Russia and is one of the most photographed buildings in Nice.

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicolas is not only the centre of the city's Russian colony, but also one of the most visited and photographed buildings in Nice. We've included the ornate structure on our list of the 10 most beautiful churches in France and our top 10 sights in Nice.

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With its richly decorated onion domes, the colourful cathedral is reminiscent of the famous St Basil's Cathedral on Moscow's Red Square. Although the cathedral is in France, it is administered by the Moscow Kremlin. It has been a listed building since 1987.

PICTURES: Saint-Nicolas Cathedral

Photo gallery: Saint Nicolas Cathedral in Nice

Visit to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice

The loving details that make the Saint-Nicolas Cathedral in Nice, France, an imposing work of art only become visible on closer inspection - © Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock
© Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

Even from afar, in a small park on Boulevard du Tsarévitch, the six domes of Saint Nicolas Cathedral stand out against the azure sky over Nice. Anyone who looks up at the richly decorated façade can understand that this is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral outside Russia .

The loving details that make the cathedral an imposing work of art only become visible on closer inspection.

The interior of Saint-Nicolas Cathedral has the classic church shape of a Greek cross and is also splendidly decorated. The composition of precious wood panelling, valuable paintings icons and elaborate gold work make the interior of the church unusually different and interesting.

History of Saint-Nicolas Cathedral in Nice

The Saint-Nicolas Cathedral was commissioned and financed by the Russian Tsar Nicholas II at the beginning of the 20th century, Nice, France - © BTWImages / Shutterstock
© BTWImages / Shutterstock

Ever since Tsar Alexander II visited the Côte d'Azur in 1864 - following the example of British high society - and was delighted by the mild climate in Nice, the south of France has been visited by more and more Russians.

The cathedral wascommissioned and financed by the Russian Tsar Nicholas II at the beginning of the 20th century, after the existing Russian Orthodox church in Rue Longchamp had become too small. The church was built in the Old Russian style by the Russian architect Michel Preobrajenski.

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The church was built on the site where the already seriously ill Tsar's son Nikolai Romanov had died of encephalitis in 1865. In 1912, after 10 years of construction, the church was consecrated and immediately became the most important place of worship for the Russian Orthodox believers in Nice and its surroundings in the south of France.

Saint Nicolas Cathedral in Nice, France, was built in the early 20th century in the Old Russian style by architect Michel Preobrajenski and is now a listed building - © Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock
© Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock


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