Despite decades of Soviet atheism, Russia remains a deeply religious country. Part of that devotion expresses itself in vibrant displays of faith. The saints of Russian icons, for example, look almost like sci-fi sages, wearing gold-trimmed, hooded robes, flashing mystical gang signs, and backlit by orange-orb haloes. By design, they are otherworldly.
The same is true of Russian churches. Their architecture trumpets the existence of a realm beyond this earth. For tens of millions of Russian devotees, these houses of prayer and worship are a link to that supernatural world, which is still a very real presence in their lives, as it was for their forbearers.
Here are seven of the most stunning examples of Russian religious architecture. These churches sprout across the wastelands of the former Soviet empire like flowers in the snow.