St Michael's Russian Orthodox Church – Altea, Spain - Atlas Obscura
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St Michael's Russian Orthodox Church

Altea, Spain

The magnificent sanctuary is Spain's first purpose-built structure of its kind. 

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After the end of the Cold War, the coastal resort towns north of Alicante became popular with Russians, both ex-pats and vacation home holders. But until 2007, many of the Russians in the area didn’t have a suitable place to worship.

A Russian entrepreneur decided to change that, funding the construction of Spain’s first purpose-built Russian Orthodox Church. The country had a few other Russian Orthodox Churches, but they had all been opened in converted buildings.

The magnificent structure at Altea is built largely from wood and was designed to be a copy of a 17th-century church in Russia. Its materials were imported from the Ural Mountains and assembled by a number of specialized Russian craftsmen.

The church interior is adorned with the iconography you’d expect to find within a Russian church. Its exterior boasts some great artwork in addition to the golden, onion-shaped domes common within Orthodox architecture.

Know Before You Go

The church is open from 10 .a.m to 2 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. It is about half way between the towns of Altea and Calpe within a luxury development called Altea Hills, just off the N332 coast road.

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