Beautiful entrance to the monastery, immediately behind is the Gate Church of St John the Baptist, built by the Stroganov family in 1692-99.
Gate tower or gate church is a feature common to all monasteries and fortified places in Russia. While in western Europe, the gates in fortifications were placed between two adjoining towers protecting the entrance, in russian fortifications, the gate was almost always placed in a gate tower.
Right beside the cathedral of Assumption is the tomb of the tsar Boris Godunov and his family. Originally it was inside the cathedral, but later was put outside. And it seems that when the tomb was opened, the skull of Boris Godunov was missing...
Trinity Saint Sergius Lavra is the residence of the head of the Russian Orthodox church and a flourishing theological college. The monastery was founded by St. Sergy of Radonezh in 1340 during his evangelizing crusade. The monastery became one of the most important monastic institutions, and in 1744 was given the rank of a lavra (laura). Nowadays it is a functioning men monastery and a place of pilgrimage. All churches are open for worship. The Cathedral of Assumption (1585), the Church of the Holly (1476), the Cathedral of Trinity (1422), the building of Refectory (1692) and other buildings are well preserved and maintained. The monastery is located in the town of Sergiev-Posad 71 km (44 miles) to the north of Moscow. It is ideal for a day trip if you want to see the countryside with dachas (russian summer cottages) and have a tour of one of the oldest and most privileged monastery of Russia. Sergiev-Posad (former Zagorsk) is, incidentally, often used as a location for costume films. You will have a great chance of seeing the countryside and enjoying authentic Russian experience.
Once you are inside the fortress, you can see the monastery chapels. As the photos will show you, they are something really spectacular. This is really what you come to Sergei Pasod to see. Some of these chapels are under various degrees of reconstruction or maintenance, but that didn't matter one whit. This is WAY better than the churches in the Kremlin. When you leave here, you feel like you have witnessed a very spiritual event, come to a genuine place of contemplation and reflection. People really come here to pray and the monks you see throughout the complex are really administrators of the Russian orthodox Church.
When you get off the train you can see the monastery cupolas in the distance. Its a ten minute walk from the station, and you just go to the end of the street, make a left and walk to the next corner. Tou can see the complex from there.
Once you see the fortress you will ber amazed. The only one I have ever seen that I can compare it to is maybe Vianden in Luxembourg. The walls are about 50 feet high and the whole structure really just inspires awe.
Few people know that Boris Godunov is buried in Sergei Pasod. For those of you who don't know who this man was, he was a favorite of Ivan the Terrible. Boris assumed stewardship of Russia, ruling in the name of Feodor, Ivan's weakling son. Although Boris Godunov never became a Czar, his stewardship was so long that he is usually counted amongst the rulers of Russia. I'll save the rest for the history books, but he and his family are buried here. I didn't really want to be in the picture, it kind of gave me the creeps thinking they once walked the earth and now here I am with having a snapshot taken.
This is the most pretty catheral in the monastery. With its star-spangled domes, it was modelled on the cathedral of the same name in the Moscow Kremlin.
It was finished in 1585 with money left by Ivan the Terrible in a fit of remorse for killing his son.
Services are held here in summer but outside service times, you may find it closed.
The monastery is enclosed by walls almost 2 km in length. In order to enter, you'll pass under/through the Gate Church of St. John the Baptist.
The Stroganov family founded it in 1692-9 and it's constructed in a gorgeous terra-cotta colour that makes it unique in the grounds.
It took 26 years to complete construction ~ Ivan the Terrible had been succeeded by his half-brother and the regent Boris Gudonov. The Gudonov family tomb can actually be found on the western outer wall of the cathedral.
In 1684, painters from the renowned Yaroslavl school took just over three months to decorate the interior of the cathedral. It's breathtaking, but you need to time your visit, as the church closes for several hours each day (we made it in just minutes before the closing).
The Cathedral of the Assumption is the monastery's main cathedral. The cathedral was commissioned in 1559 by Ivan the Terrible, to celebrate a victory at Kazan.
Its star-spangled domes are visible on the approach from outside the monastery walls. Once you enter the grounds, the paintings on the gables only add to the majestic and dominating appearance.
Even among the brightly coloured churches of the monastery, this small pink chapel stands out. Its cotton candy appearance aside, the chapel holds interest due to the traffic of people filling their water jugs and bottles.
The chapel was erected over a spring in 1644. . .if you enter it during a visit, keep in mind that there is very limited space inside. You should step into a corner as soon as you enter, to allow the non-stop line of pilgrims easy access to the well.
The exterior decoration of the refectory is a series of Baroque pillars, with sculpted and painted vines and leaves. We found it highly unsualy in comparison to the other Russian churches that we came across during our trip.
The same motif is continued inside, moving from multi-coloured to silver and gold paints. The same sculpting technique continues, with fruits, vines and leaves. At the east end of the Refectory, there is a dividing wall, which takes you into yet another lavishly decorated room ~ don't skip this! :-)
The monastery grounds offered shelter and safety to Peter the Great and his half-brother during the Streltsy Rebellion. In return, Peter later donated money which was used to build the monks' refectory in 1686-92, with the small Church of St. Sergius at one end.
Although it looks distinctly turqoise in the photograph, the bell tower's colour is actually closer to a match of the blue of the Church of Our Lady of Smolensk.
Construction was started in 1741 and completed in 1766. It once held 50 bells. . .today a small gift/icon shop is located inside the main floor. Access to any of the higher five levels was restricted.
Built to house an icon of the same name, this round Baroque church was closed during our visit. It was the last church to be added to the monastery (1745) and it matches the neighbouring bell tower, which was built during the same time period.