Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Visiting Sergiev Posad

Going to Sergiev Posad with Ryan and Tani on September 29 was our second visit to this monastery located north of Moscow. We bought tickets for the electrishka at Yaroslavsky train station in Moscow and began our adventure. The train seats are usually hard plastic on the electrishkas, although we were lucky on our return trip to find a car with lightly padded seats. The trip takes nearly two hours, and then it's a short walk from the train station to the entrance gate. This is probably the only city on the historic Golden Ring that is a comfortable one-day trip.

Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius
Sergiev Posad

Passing by vendors on the short walk from the
train station to the monastery.

The city claims to be where the matryoshka nesting doll originated, and we found some reasonably priced with nice faces that included hand painted Russian scenes. There was a variety of souvenir things to see from scarves to pillow tops to lacquered boxes.

On our first visit in June, Chris and Greg Shepard were with us. On this second trip, Renee and Clark Mason joined Sam and me and our son Ryan and his wife, Tani.

White stoned wall of the monastery and gate.

Front corner tower is the Pyatnitskaya Tower (1640).

Small place of worship outside the walls.

Archway into the main grounds.

Bell Tower (1740-1770)
It is 88 meters high, has 42 bells
with the largest bell weighing 64 tons.

The Assumption Cathedral (1559-1585)
Built by order of Ivan the Terrible.

Trinity Cathedral (1422-1423)

Icons inside the Trinity Cathedral.

Interior of the Trinity Cathedral.

A highlight of our second visit to Sergiev Posad was hearing the beautiful voices singing in the Trinity Cathedral during a worship service. There were only a half dozen singers, but the combination of the acoustics and the quality of their voices was amazing. We lingered there to enjoy the clear harmony of their voices without any accompaniment.

Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Church of the Virgin of Smolensk (1745)
(blue and white building at the right)
The Pilgrim Tower is at the center back.
(Narene at the left.)

Chapel Over the Well
where holy water is sold.

Holy water is free for the taking here.
(The Chapel Over the Well
is seen in the background.)

Holy water near the Chapel Over the Well.
People still bring bottles, jugs, and buckets
to fill with the holy water from the spring
discovered in 1644.

The Assumption Cathedral
is the monastery's main cathedral.

On our first visit we waited with a group for the doors to open and then went inside to see the interior of this cathedral. However, when we tried to do this on our second visit, we learned that we had to have a tour guide in order to go inside. Apparently, without realizing it, the first time we tagged along with a tour. Thinking back on that first visit, I remember there was an English-speaking guide who had provided some interesting information.

Several monks were
walking on the grounds.

There were also nuns.

Sergiev Posad is one of Russia's most important
religious centers and places of pilgrimage.

Peter the Great took refuge here from the royal guards during the Steltsy Rebellion and later from the regent Sofia, who was conspiring to keep him from power. Later, his daughter Elizabeth gave it the title of "lavra," which is the highest religious rank for an Orthodox monastery.

It is such an historical site that Stalin left the monastery standing, although the monastery was closed down in 1919 by the Communists and the monks were sent to labor camps after the Bolshevik Revolution. Stalin allowed it to open again after World War II when it became the headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church until the headquarters were transferred to Danilovsky Monastery in 1988.

The Refectory (1686-1692)

The Refectory was built using money donated by Peter the Great and his half-brother in gratitude for the monastery giving them refuge during the Steltsy Rebellion. The monks had their meals in the Small Refectory attached to the main building. The large hall of the Refectory was used for receptions and was the largest hall in Russia at the end of the 17th century. The monastery manuscripts were kept in the upper tier of the building. In the room we saw, each wall was covered with a mural depicting an event from the Bible. One wall had Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before they partook of the forbidden fruit, and the next wall had a painting of Adam and Eve afterward when they had covered their naked bodies. A third wall was of Cain and Able. We wondered about the painting on the first wall to the left when entering the room, but decided it was people getting caught in the flood at the time of Noah and the Ark.

Shopping for souvenirs as we leave the monastery.

Ryan tried on a fur shapka, but didn't buy it.

As we walked to the train, we enjoyed
seeing the dachas with their decorative
window trims.

Clark & Renee went with Ryan & Tani and us on
our second visit to Sergiev Posad.
29 September 2008

Greg & Chris Shepard went with us on our first visit
in June. Chris is taking the photo of Greg, Sam & I.
The electrishka train is in the background.

As I have said before, it is an experience riding on the electrishka with vendors rotating through the cars one after another selling all sorts of things from ice cream to knives to tablecloths. Musicians and would-be musicians also walk through hoping their talent will prompt you to drop some rubles into their cup.

Ryan & Tani with Sergiev Posad in the background.


CoStick said...

Hi! Sorry, couldn't get your names.
That's the best Posad tourist description I read. Please check out my blog for more local details.

CoStick said...

Hi! Sorry, couldn't get your names.
That's the best Posad tourist description I read. Please check out my blog for more local details.

samnarene said...

Thank you for your comment and sharing the link to your blog. I enjoyed reading the information you posted there and seeing your nice photos. I hope you do well as a tour guide in Sergiev Posad. Best wishes!