Just beyond the border of the Old Town, Geneva’s Russian Orthodox Church (Église Orthodoxe Russe) dominates the skyline with its golden onion-shaped domes. A popular destination for tourists, particularly as part of a walking tour of the city center, the church is worth a visit for anyone passing through or living in Geneva.
Built in the quiet and stately Les Tranchées neighborhood of Geneva on the site of a former Benedictine priory, the Église Russe is an example of Byzantine-Muscovite style and today serves as a place of worship for the 3,000+ Russians in Geneva as well as other Orthodox Christians.
Construction of the church began in 1863, funded by Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna Constancia, Queen Victoria‘s aunt and sister-in-law of Tsar Alexander I. The Byzantine-style church was completed in 1866. Upon the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the church, in 1916, the three naves were enlarged and a bell tower was added; the golden domes were restored in 1966.
Exteriors feature the aforementioned golden domes plus Byzantine-style striped arches and grand stained glass windows. Inside, treasures from the 16-20th centuries adorn the walls and the air is thick with the scent of incense.
The church is located at Rue De-Beaumont 18, between the Old Town and Boulevard des Tranchées. The church is open to the public; visitors are asked to make a CHF 2 donation at the entrance. Neither dogs nor smoking are permitted on church grounds. Inside the church, photography, cell phone use, and eating are not allowed.
More information, including opening hours and a schedule of services, is available from the church website (in French and Russian) here.
We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.