Situated at town's historical center, the grandiose Annunciation Cathedral - one of the most beautiful Kharkiv's churches - rivets attention by its original forms and uncommon striped patterns. Built in Russian and Byzantine style, it is recognized as unique architectural monument of the early 20th century and inevitably remains in the center of tourists' attention.
The first Annunciation Church was built here in the middle of the 17th century, almost immediately after Kharkiv's foundation. However, it existed less than a century: in 1738, the wooden temple was burned out in a large fire. 50 years later, a new stone Cathedral in early classicism style was built on its place. It stood out among other Kharkiv's churches of those times, due to its imposing size and decorative finishing's richness.
However, in the late 19th century, town's rapid development led to need in other - larger and greater temple. Thus, in 1888, a new cathedral was laid near the functioning Annunciation Cathedral. Its building lasted almost thirteen years. Raised in predominantly Byzantine style, the temple harmonically combined some traits of other architectural directions, which made it look incredibly beautiful and artistic. The Annunciation Cathedral's imposing ruggedness was opposed to elegant lightness of the 80-meter high four-layer bell tower.
New temple's inner decoration was not inferior to its appearance. Iconostasis from snow-white marble is considered to be interior's main adornment. Temple's painting - icons and magnificent fresco paintings on the walls - also causes admiration.
During merciless destruction of all cultic buildings in Soviet times, Kharkiv's Annunciation Cathedral got lucky. It wasn't blown up, but just closed and its premises were decided to be used for cultural needs. Local residents, however, state that it was used as stabling and oil products' storehouse instead.
Ironically, the World War II period became favorable for the Annunciation Cathedral: it was opened anew during the German occupation and continues to function to this day.
By the way, the place, where the temple stands, has an ill fate among Kharkiv residents. It is probably the reason for Cathedral's recent troubles. In the summer of 1996, strong hurricane damaged the cross on the bell tower. It was soon reconstructed, but a year later the cross was damaged again - this time through fire that broke out under the dome and virtually destroyed the cross. The Annunciation Cathedral, however, managed to profit from this situation: after dome's and cross's reconstruction, the temple became higher and more majestic.