Weekend report: Holy places of Vladimir region of Russia

We decided to spend this weekend in Vladimir region of Russia together with my wife. I will put a lot of reference links to this post to provide you possibility get more information about each place or building.
Click on photo to get a full screen view.


We started on Sunday at noon and arrived to the first destination: Alexandrov near 3 PM. The most time of the trip we spent in a traffic jam. There was a hard rain in Moscow but the forecast for Vladimir region was more optimistic. Nevertheless even there was a little rain. We got the Alexandrov kremlin and bought tickets near the entrance.

We started sightseeing with Church of the Assumption
It  is a regular building in the style of 16th–17th centuries. The church was originally constructed around 1525. However, the reconstructions in 1570s and in the 17th century modified the galleries and added the bell-tower. Presently, this church is a part of the museum.

View on a main entrance of the kremlin
 Actually there some small different expos inside Church of the Assumption. You can see old tools and domestic stuff there.

Old chest

Old balances

Spinning wheels


 Sewing machines and different hand tools

Another balances

The gramophone


Behind the Church of Assumption there are different old buildings where different museum expos are located.

Curch of Assumption from the rear side

Old furniture inside museum

Old musical instrument. This is not a piano.

This clock will never run again

Another view of Church of Assumption. The weather was getting better and better.

Next object of the Kremlin is Bell-tower of the Crucifixion
This is unusual building from the middle of 16th century, the time of Ivan the Terrible. This bell-tower is an example of advanced hip-roof architecture with a pointed hip and numerous semi-round kokoshniki below it (yet the tower is just 40 years younger than the church of the Intercession). The adjoining stone building is known as Marfa's Chambers, the place of imprisonment of princess Marfa, the daughter of Tsar Alexey Michailovich. The museum ticket allows to climb the bell-tower and enjoy panoramic views of Alexandrov.

Church of the Intercession – the hip-roof church originally built in 16th century. It is the first hip-roof church in Russia. You will hardly feel its beauty from the outside, because this church was the very first attempt to incorporate the hip, a new element in 16th century Russian architecture. Moreover, later annexes, the refectory chamber and the bell tower, also changed the appearance of the building. Still, its interior remains unique due to the wall paintings (frescos) inside the hip. Hips instead of domes are a distinctive, but not very common, feature in Russian architecture. Hips were popular in 16th and 17th centuries, while later traditions restricted the hips to only bell towers. Painting the hips from inside was uncommon even for the medieval tradition. The frescos are painted in dark color and converge to the image of Our Lord in the apex. Overall, they look mystical and awesome. The church was originally attached to the prince palace as an in-house church. The present building of the refectory chamber stands on the spot of the former palace, so in the basement you can still see carved portals and original stone-work from 16th century.

Additionally we went to small house at kremlin where you can see how simple peasants lived before. This vessel is a washstand prototype:

Furnace and domestic staff:

Strange building looks like garage:

Different doors of Church of the Intercession:

Bell tower of Church of the Intercession:


Church of the Intercession from another side:

The biggest building of the kremlin Cathedral of St. Trinity built in 1513. The cathedral is rather conservative in its shape and decorations. It resembles the ancient churches of Vladimir, Bogolyubovo, and Yuryev-Polsky, however the stone carvings are few. Inside the cathedral, you find some original frescos from 16th century and two iron gates. The gate in the southern portal was brought from Novgorod during the punitive expedition of Ivan the Terrible in 1570. The other ancient gate is installed in the western portal and also originates from Novgorod. The gates reveal fine carvings depicting biblical stories. Both gates date back to 14th century and evidence the skill of russian craftsmen. The cathedral belongs to the church. Entrance is free.

So that was a time to move on and we continued our trip.


On the way from Alexandrov to Vladimir we saw a beautiful bell tower in small village Cherkutino:
There were no churches around but bell tower looks great and not standard in my opinion.


We arrived to Vladimir at 6 PM and were a little bit tired. That's why we just took a short walk in a part of the town with old private houses. Unfortunately the most of them in a bad conditions but still beautiful and looks more interesting than modern ones. People still live there.

The guard of antiquity:

Another old building:

After that we had a dinner and got the hotel where we spent disturbing night because of the "high quality bed" in our room.

* * *

Next day we started at the historical centre of Vladimir.
Church of St. Michael the Archangel is impressive dark-red church was built in the end of 19th century in neo-Byzantine style. It is probably one of the best (or, at least, most harmonious) representatives of this style in Russia.

The building of Aero-mechanical college located in front of Church of St. Michael the Archangel:

Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. This catholic church from late 19th century is a rare example of neo-gothic building in Vladimir region. The church was constructed for Polish-Lithuanian troop that stayed in Vladimir. At present, the church works under the supervision of Roman Catholic church. This lovely place is worth a visit, especially during catholic holidays.

Church of St. Trinity. The red-brick church of eclectic style (with an emphasis on russian revival, though) from 1913-1916. Presently, it houses a museum of crystal, miniature paintings, and embroidery.

Golden Gate. Once the entrance to the walled city, the gate was originally built in 1158-64. At that time, the city was surrounded by a rampart with five stone gates. The Golden Gate is the only remaining part of the complex and the unique monument of ancient fortifications in Russia. The ramparts were removed in 19th century, and the gate was reinforced by four circular bastions at the buttresses. These bastions strongly changed the appearance of the gate, so it may be advisable to see the picture of the original building like in a museum of military history inside the gate. The remaining part of the rampart is found south from the gate, along the Kozlov Rampart Street. This monument is recognized by UNESCO and included in the World Heritage List.

House of the Assembly of Nobility. This building in the empire style from early 19th century has once been a cultural centre of Vladimir.

Male gymnasium building:

Cathedral of the Assumption. It is one of the most historically important Russian Orthodox Churches. For a short period in the 14th century, the cathedral was the seat of the Metropolitan, the leader of the Russian Ortodox Chuch. Originally, the cathedral was built in 1158 and had only one dome. However, the major reconstruction followed already in 1185: four smaller domes were added, and the building was considerably enlarged in order to resemble St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev. Later on, a similar project was utilized for the cathedral of the Assumption in Moscow Kremlin. The neghboring bell tower of eclectic style was built in 1810 to replace the former hip-roof tower. The interior of the cathedral includes a number of ancient frescos from late 12th century (northern wall) and 15th century (vaults), the latter being painted by Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chyorny. Presently, the cathedral combines church and museum activities. Services are normally held in the morning and offer free entrance.

The view on the valley from Cathedral:

Rail road is going next to the hill where Cathedral located:

The view from Cathedral on Nativity Monastery. The monastery was founded in the end of 12th century and played important role for Russian Orthodox Church during the Middle Ages. None of the ancient buildings survived, but it is worth to see the stone walls and towers from 18th century. Though there was no real threat to Vladimir at that time, the walls imitate fortifications of ancient Russian monasteries. You will also find a church and several living houses with fine decorations from 17th century. Presently, the monastery is a home to the bishop of Vladimir region.

Cathedral at another angle:

After the sightseeing in the centr of Vladimir we moved to the final destination of this trip: Bogolyubovo.


To get Bogolyubovo from Vladimir you just need to pass few kilometres to East. We had two targets there: Bogolyubovo convent and Church of the Intercession on the Nerl

Bogolyubovo convent is located  right on the main road of Bogolyubovo village. Although the convent was founded in 13th century, most of its buildings are more recent.

The major reconstruction took place in 19th century and provided the present baroque–to–russian-revival style of the site. The only significant monument is the remaining part of the Prince's palace of Andrey Bogolyubsky – the so-called Staircase Tower and the adjoining gallery from 12th century, both are now incorporated into the Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin (built in 18th century).
 You will easily recognize the old fragments due to their unusual appearance that strongly contrasts to the other buildings. These fragments are believed to trace back to 12th century and are considered as the only monument of ancient secular (and civilian) architecture in Russia. The decoration of the walls is relief and rather resembles that of St. Demetrius Cathedral in Vladimir. Presently, the church houses a small museum that shows archeological findings and a reconstruction of the ancient town of Bogolyubovo.

Apart from the ancient fragments, you will find a number of more recent and bright buildings, including the Cathedral of the Bogolyubovo icon of Our Lady (1855-65, russian-revival style, the most impressive and visible building of the convent)

and the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady (over the gate, built in 1841).

We left the convent we started our walk journey to the pearl of the Russian Ortodox archetecture: Church of the Intercession on the Nerl.

This is probably the most harmonious and complete church in Russian architecture. Both the shape, the exterior decoration, and the location are perfect. The church stands in the field, on a small hill near the Nerl river, close to its confluence with the Klyazma. One has to approach the church by foot that makes the journey something like a pilgrimage. But you can rent the carriage.
The way is very picturesque, since you can see the church in front of you and the Bogolyubovo convent behind you.
 In the spring, high water cuts the church off and provides a breathtaking view. To get to the church, cross the railway tracks near the Bogolyubovo train station and head south. You will find a unique, stone-paved road through the meadow, and you will likely see the church as soon as you pass through a narrow line of trees between the railway and the meadow. It takes about 15 minutes to walk (driving to the church is impossible).
In the daytime, one can enter the church, but the interior is quite average and inferior to the exterior.

That's how we spend last weekend and I hope we will get more interesting places in the future to share with you afterwards.
Many thanks for your attention and watching this long photo report!

This post contain information from wikitravel.com

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