It was the railway that inspired the idea for the cathedral in 1895. Back then, stations, maintenance centres and also churches were built for railway workers.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was founded at the first verst of the Central Siberian Section of the Great Siberian Railway. It was designed by the architect K. Lygin, who decided to recreate the Church of Rejoicing Holy Mother in Galernaya Harbor, St. Petersburg.
The original idea was to lay the walls in rows of white and dark bricks. But it turned to be expensive. Then the construction team opted for red bricks, which were laid by Italian masons. The church walls were painted by icon painters from Joseph Pankryshev Tomsk workshop, the first in Siberia.
The cathedral has three altars: the main one was built in the name of Prince Alexander Nevsky, while the two side altars are dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and the Holy Great Martyr St. George the Victorious.
For a while the cathedral housed several educational institutions (a women’s gymnasium, a teachers’ seminary and 10 parochial schools).
However, the cathedral has also seen some hard times — for instance, when it was shut down for 51 years in 1937. The authorities tried to blow it up and destroyed its paintings, but in 1989, the cathedral was returned to church, which launched its restoration. In the mid-2000s the cathedral was back to its full glory.