Anything But Paella

Altea’s Russian Orthodox Church

Many places along the Spanish coasts have a large Russian ex-pat community. It seems amazing then, that until 2007 there was no purpose-built Russian Orthodox church in the country. That all changed when a Russian entrepreneur decided to fund one on the outskirts of Altea. Materials were brought in from the Ural mountains specifically for the project to build an exact replica of a 17th Century church in Spain.

Russian Orthodox Church, Altea

To the north of the town is the luxury development of Altea Hills. On the edge of the woodlands between this urbanisation and the N332 you will find a huge wooden church bedecked in gold. The Church of Saint Michael the Archangel (San Miguel Arcangel) can be visited every morning and in the early evening at weekends. It is locked outside of mass times but you can still get a glimpse through the door if your timing is off. The iconography and magnificent gold work inside is something to behold.

Russian Orthodox Church, Altea

From the gardens you can’t but admire the golden domes which are resplendent in the sun. The wooden structure of the church is magnificent. You should also look out for the statue of Saint Nicholas with his sword in one hand and a mini replica of the church in the other. There is also a pond surrounded by plants. Terrapins quietly soak up the sun but no doubt they hide away if an Orthodox baptism is taking place in the waters!


If you are feeling moved by your visit, a gift shop will sell you an icon of your favourite saint. Another wooden building is under construction next door. It would appear to be accommodation of some type for weary pilgrims, but only time will tell what manifests itself there.

2 thoughts on “Altea’s Russian Orthodox Church

  1. Stephen Nicholls

    What a lovely church! I visited it two weeks ago. The congregation were very kind, and even took a picture of me admiring the beautiful icons.
    During the service there was a choir of four [?] girls singing in close harmony…. or it may have been angels, as they were hidden in a side apse!
    After the service I had a chat with the friendly priest.
    A truly memorable visit: may God bless each one of you on your daily pilgrimage through life…..

    1. Post author

      That sounds amazing Stephen. I might have to re-visit but make sure I’m there during mass.

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