In the late 19th century the first bishops of the Turkistan eparchy discussed the need for a Russian Orthodox Church in Almaty. In 1903, the bishop of Turkestan and Tashkent, Paisii consecrated the foundation of the church.
Ascension Cathedral completed in 1907, is made out of wood but without nails. Its height is 56 meters tall, and is claimed to be the second tallest wooden building in the world. The iconostasis was painted by N. Khludov. The inner structure of the cathedral was made in art workshops in Moscow and Kiev.