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Zabaykalsky Krai , Chita

The Decembrist Church Museum

Музей «Церковь декабристов»
Музей «Церковь декабристов»
Музей «Церковь декабристов»
Музей «Церковь декабристов»

The Mikhailo-Arkhangelskaya Church (also known as the Decembrist Church) located on the Selenginskaya street is the only 17th-century monument in the city of Chita. It was built in 1771. The church is a two-story larch log building. According to specialists who have studied the church's architecture, the monument represents a mixture of archaic, traditional elements of old Russian wooden architecture with «new style» architectural details. The church is one of the most interesting and significant monuments of art and history in eastern Siberia. In 1875, the church had a stone foundation installed. Before that, the church was called a cathedral, but then it was renamed as a parish church.

The Mikhailo-Arkhangelskaya Church is mentioned in many historical writings and memoirs, as well as in the  diaries of Decembrists and their wives. The Decembrists and their wives who followed them into exile were the parishioners of this church. Pauline Gebel, a French national and daughter of an officer of the Napoleonic army, traveled the excruciating thousand-mile route separating Moscow and Chita by horse. In April 1828, it was in this very church that she was married to the ex-lieutenant Ivan Alekseevich Annenkov and became his wife under the name of Praskovya Yegorovna Annenkova. The wedding was not without its curious moments: the groom was brought to church in shackles that were removed at the entrance and put back on after the wedding. The bride, confused, mistakenly went to the second floor, causing a great fuss among the clergy and all those who had come to witness the wedding on the floor below. The great French writer Alexandre Dumas dedicated his novel «The Fencing Master» to the life of Pauline Gebel — Praskovya Annenkova.

It was in this church that the Decembrist Dmitriy Zavalishin, who decided to settle here after having served his penal servitude, married Appolinaria Smolyaninova.

The Decembrist Church, the neighboring small cemetery, and garden are surrounded by a fence.

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Address: Zabaikalskiy Krai, Chita, Dekabristov Street, 3-b
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