Golden Ring of Russia, Sergiyev Posad
Several chapters of Russian History can be easily illustrated with the pictures of Sergiev Posad which is a small town located in the Moscow Region. Tatar yoke, Andrey Rublev and Dmitry Donskoy, the fight between Peresvet and Chelubey, Minin and Pozharsky, Peter the Great and Savva Mamontov - all these great people and events are more or less related to Sergiev Posad.
Undoubtedly, the town's main landmark is the famous Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. It ‘has been living' an interesting life since its foundation (the middle of the 14th century). The story began when a young man Varfolomey, who was later taken the monastic vows as Sergy and propagated the ideas of non-money-grabbing and diligence, settled in a simple cabin after the death of his parents. Step by step the monastery was becoming bigger and attracting both new devotees and pilgrims from all over Russia. A hundred years later the main stone temple was founded on the spot of the former wooden church. It was built by Serbian monks from Kosovo, who took refuge here after the Battle of Kosovo Field. Later the monastery took the name of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
Ivan the Terrible himself visited this place to conduct control of the building process and then afterwards False Dmitry tested its durability. And even Stenka Razin is said to have been a prisoner inside one of its monasteries.
The Lavra withstood the 16-year siege of the Polish and Lithuanian interventionists, at the time of the Streltsy Uprising it served as a refuge for tsarevna Sofia Alekseevna, Ivan and Peter tsareviches. This is the place where the massacre of Sofia's supporters took place and Peter the Great left this place as an absolute ruler. By 1763 the Trinity Sergius Lavra, having nearly ‘forgotten' the initial idea of its creation, had become one of the richest monasteries of Russia as well as was considered to be one of the largest landowners and possessed more than 100 thousand of peasants.
However, this is the reason the Lavra have enriched a world treasury of architecture, because it's almost impossible to build and decorate monuments without financial resources.
The most significant iconostasis of the Lavra was created by the famous Russian icon painters Andrey Rublev and Daniil Cherniy. The famous icon "The Holy Trinity" was painted especially for this iconostasis by Rublev. Totally, the monastery's ensemble includes more than 50 buildings of different purposes, which were designed and decorated by the best masters of the 15th-19th centuries. Since 1993 the architectural complex of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius has been inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
But the Holy Trinity Lavra is not the only landmark of Sergiev Posad. Being surrounded by greenery and standing on the banks of the Kanchura River, this town preserved a lot of ancient buildings and seems to stay in the past. The posads (the districts of the town) were spontaneously built around the monastery and the modern town did not manage to join them altogether. The majority of districts are still bearing charming old names such as Hardware Settlement (Skobianoy Poselok), Peasant Village (Krestianskaya Sloboda) or Birds' Town (Ptitsegrad).
Despite the fact that modern Sergiev Posad considerably depends on the monastery, it still has several surprising and special sides. The only research institute of toys in the country and probably in the world is situated here. Previously, there was the highest 20 meter tall waterfall in the Moscow Region. Isn't it a miracle indeed? At the Soviet Union period the town bore the name Zagorsk in honour of a revolutionary, who had never been here. Moreover, even now the historians can not disclose the relation between them. But thanks to this, the name of the town's inhabitants is more similar to space aliens' name: the Zagorchans (in Soviet period) or the Sergievchans (in old times and nowadays).
All the events that, according to any unfortunate accident haven't happened there, in Sergiev Posad, and taking in consideration its rich history, were skillfully created and imprinted in Art. For example, the adventures of the legendary intelligence agent Tuliev from the soviet hit movie "Resident's Fate" take place here; a fantastic story about an illiterate peasant girl, who makes her way up from a housemaid to a leading weaver (film "Light Way"), shot particular here. Even to illustrate the events from Vasilisa Prekrasnaya's life, the walls of this picturesque town were chosen and became the best decorations.
We offer you to admire the bird's eye view of the town, imagining that some historical, heroic or completely unbelievable event is going on right near that house...
Photos by Oleg Gaponyuk, Sergey Semenov, Stas Sedov, Sergey Shandin
14 July 2015