Sergiyev Posad Travel Guide

Sergiyev Posad Travel Guide

Sergiyev Posad

Introduction


Sergiyev Posad is most famous for its Trinity-Sergius Lavra founded by St Sergius of Radonezh, a monastic reformer. It is a gem of the Golden Ring, 75 km from Moscow, a picturesque hilly city with a religious spirit. It attracts Orthodox pilgrims from all over the world and would be interesting for any visitor because of its rich historical heritage.

 

Historical Overview


Sergiyev Posad is a region with a rich history which is closely connected with St Sergius of Radonezh. Sergiyev Posad was originally a monastery settlement which eventually developed into a city. In 1337, Bartholomew (Sergius of Radonezh) settled here and led a lonely life. Later, people began to learn about Sergius of Radonezh and went to him to ask for help. The Trinity Monastery was founded in 1337 and grew into a Lavra and united several settlements around it. The place began to play an important role in the political life of the Moscow State and became the spiritual centre of Russia. The Lavra became an impregnable stronghold during the Polish and Lithuanian intervention. Its walls gave shelter to the Godunov family.
During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the Trinity Lavra was surrounded by a wall with 12 towers. During the Times of Troubles, the monastery became one of the centres of Russian resistance. It survived the terrible 16-month attack of the Lyakhs.
Thanks to the opening of the railway link between Moscow and Yaroslavl (1862-1870), the city became the largest in the Moscow province. In 1919, the city was named Sergiyev, becoming the centre of the homonymous district.

From 1930 to 1991, Sergiyev Posad was named Zagorsk in memory of the deceased secretary of the Moscow party committee, V.M. Zagorsky. In 1969, the city of Zagorsk, the only city in the Moscow region, was included in the Golden Ring. Numerous tourists visit the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, whose architectural ensemble was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993, and the State Historical and Art Museum, whose collection includes more than 120 000 works of ancient, folk and contemporary arts and crafts. The blessed land of Radonezh creates a special atmosphere for the development of art. Numerous artists and masters of art lived and worked here, and more than 100 of them are members of the Union of Artists of Russia. You will also find folk crafts here: Bogorodskaya and Sergievskaya toys, Abramtsevo-Kudrin carvings, Sergiev Posad nesting dolls. The oldest industrial school of the Bogorodsky Craft and Abramtsevo Art and Industry College are located here. Dozens of music festivals, contests and folk art festivals are held in the district. The city's day is celebrated every year on the day of the Holy Trinity.


Where to Stay


Finding a hotel in Sergiyev Posad is quite simple, as all of them are concentrated next to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. The Old Monastery Hotel located in a 19th-century building offers views of the White Pond and the Lavra. At the Monastyrskaya Trapeza restaurant, you can try a variety of local specialities. Centre Mini Hotel is a small cosy hotel 5 minutes from the Lavra. Russki Dvorik Boutique Hotel features a lovely lace house, 18th-century interior and tasty breakfasts. Tsentralnaya Hotel is just 500 m from the White Pond. If you want to stay a bit longer and enjoy the tranquillity and hospitality of the Russian countryside, choose Zagorodni Club Zabava (Zabava Country Club). It’s a large eco-complex next to the forest and the pond.


Bars and Restaurants


Sergiyev Posad offers numerous cafes and restaurants with Russian and international cuisine, as well as bars and fast food. At most restaurants, you can try such local dishes as pancakes, apple-roasted duck, shashlyk (fried meat), solyanka (meat soup), borshch (beet soup), ukha (fish soup) and pelmeni (dumplings). Take a look at Russki Dvorik, Gostevaya Izba, Varenichnaya 9 or Prishvin. Don’t forget to try Siberian malt lemonade from the Lavra's own brewery.


What to See

 

  • As noted above, the Trinity-Sergius Lavra was founded in 1337 (according to some sources, in 1342) by St Sergius of Radonezh. Sergiyev Posad grew up around the monastery and got its name from this fact (it means residential area near the monastery). This is the largest and most significant Orthodox monastery in Russia. Since 1688, it has been the residence of patriarchs. The relics of the founder, the most revered Orthodox saint, are kept in the Trinity Cathedral. During church holidays, especially on the most significant dates, the monastery turns into a place of mass pilgrimage, and thousands of believers come here. The majestic fortress and architecture attract a large number of tourists from Russia and beyond.
  • The Chernigov Skit was founded in 1843-1844. It was a residence of monks of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. At the end of the 19th century, metropolitans visiting the residence of the patriarch stayed here to rest. Inside the church, there are painted murals.
  • The Vvedenskaya and Pyatnitskaya churches on Podol are two Old Believer churches located next to the fortress walls of the Lavra. They make up a single ensemble of the monastery. The Vvedenskaya church was damaged during the siege of the monastery and restored in 1969. During the Soviet regime, the Pyatnitskaya church was used as a warehouse and restored in 1960.
  • The tall Bell Tower was designed in 1740 by architect I.Ya. Schumacher.
  • The Trinity Cathedral is the oldest building on the site of the Lavra. It is one of the three most important cathedrals in Russia. Inside the building, there are unique frescoes by Andrey Rublyov and Daniil Cherny. Here you will also find the relics of St Sergius of Radonezh, the founder of the monastery. The cathedral was built in 1422-1423 on the order of Nikon, the disciple of Sergius, on the site of the first wooden church.
  • Under the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the monastery became a major centre of pilgrimage, and the old Trinity Cathedral could not accommodate all believers. So it was decided to build a new cathedral. The Assumption Cathedral was built from 1559 to 1585.
  • The Toy Museum was opened in 1918. Located in a two-storey brick mansion with a mezzanine, the museum contains homemade wooden and clay figures, toy soldiers, and a large collection of Russian dolls.
  • The Historical Museum was founded in 1920 on the basis of the monastery collection. Here, you will see more than 110 000 exhibits from Russian history.

 

Transport


To get to Sergiyev Posad by bus, take No 388 from Moscow’s VDNKh metro station. It will take you about two hours to get there, depending on the traffic. The city’s bus terminal is opposite the railway station. From Sergiyev Posad, you can also get to Yaroslavl, Kostroma and other cities. Note that on Fridays and Saturdays, there tends to be heavy traffic, so going by train is a better option. Trains leave Yaroslavsky railway station every 20-30 minutes, and the trip will take 1 hour 30 minutes. Within the city, you won’t require transport, as all the attractions are within walking distance.