Sakhalin: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk – Cathedral of Nativity
While the town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk fails to impress (but succeeds to depress), that is not the case with the spectacular new Cathedral of the Nativity. The building is massive, 81-meter high with five gold and blue domes laid out as a cross. Lavish is an understatement here as the cathedral screams with Italian white marble, and Indian red granite, and Jerusalem-made mosaics (supposedly some of the largest in the world). And that’s just from outside! When you get inside – you get almost blinded with gold and shiny icons (92 of them). It took over 20 years to build and it was finally complete. Interestingly, it’s one of the two structures in Sakhalin seismically rated to withstand a 8.0 earthquake (Sakhalin is in the seismic Ring of Fire). The other structure is the statute of Lenin.