ALREADY KNOW YOUR NEXT DESTINATION?
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE AUDIOGUIDE
If you are travelling north of the city and you approach avenue Nicholas II, you have the opportunity to discover one of the greatest symbols of Nice: the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, popularly known as the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
Built in 1912 by order of Tsar Nicholas II, this cathedral is a living reminder of the time when Russian aristocrats chose Nice as a holiday destination, fleeing the cold winters in their country.
Although this is certainly not the only Russian attraction you will find in the city, it is well worth a visit. You can admire the oldest Russian cathedral in Western Europe, the largest Orthodox building that exists outside of Russia and, without doubt, an architectural beauty that impresses every visitor.
It impresses with its imposing and majestic figure, traditional bulbous Russian towers and, of course, with its superb harmony in the mix of elements and colours. Red bricks, grey marble, vivid ceramic hues... A simply wonderful visual feast.
You have to experience it in person to capture the beauty of this building. A beauty able to transport you to Russia in just a moment. And, to design this architectural gem, inspiration was taken from another great architectural gem: Saint Basil's Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow.
If you decide to stroll through the gardens that surround it, you can admire the memorial chapel that was built in honour of Nicolas Alexandrovitch. And if you decide to visit, you will discover valuable treasures kept inside: icons, wood carvings, frescoes... as well as historical information about the construction of the cathedral.
Visits are not permitted during services. To be safe, consult the schedules.
A curious fact is that an end has recently been put to a long and controversial debate surrounding this iconic building. To know the facts we must go back a few years. In the 1920s, shortly after its construction, the Orthodox Association of Nice took over the administration of the cathedral, but its free lease expired on 31st December 2007. A loophole then opened around the church that prompted Russia to assert their property rights by legal means. Finally, in January 2010, a French court ruled that the Russian Federation was the sole owner of the land, the cathedral and all its possessions.