The St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Naval Cathedral is the dominant visual and spiritual feature of Karosta sharply contrasting with the surrounding panel apartment blocks.
Russian Tsar Nikolai II and family participated in the ground-breaking ceremony when construction began in 1901. The church was built according to the principle of the 17th century Russian Orthodox churches – one central dome and four domes on the sides.
At the beginning of World War One, many of the cathedral’s objects, such as bells and icons, were taken to Russia. The rest was looted by soldiers of the occupying German army.
After World War Two, the USSR occupying army opened a gym, cinema and entertainment centre for sailors and soldiers. The central dome was sealed with concrete in order to stop the fantastic acoustics from interfering with the sounds of the films being watched.
The military left the cathedral in September of 1991 and the first church service was held there already in December.