Sergiev Posad

Sergiev Posad is the spiritual and religious centre of Russia and was founded in 1340 by St Sergius though he wasn’t a saint then !St Sergius

And probably didn’t have a pigeon on his head !!

Came here last year but didnt realise that it was Trinity Sunday and that the Patriach (think Pope with Jewels) who is based here some of the time, was processing (strutting his stuff) and security was so tight that we couldn’t get into the main cathedrals.

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That was last year,   Anyway its the 1st stop on a tour of the Golden Ring so went back for more…

So “did” the Cathedrals and then a 3 hour white knuckle drive to Vladimir……………

Vladimir

Vladimir was founded in the 12th century by another of the Princes of Kiev called – you guessed it Prince Vladimir,    It became the capital of Kievian Rus and Grand Prince Bogoliubsky (more of him later) built two of what are the oldest buildings in Russia – The Cathedral of the Assumption and The Cathedral  of St Dimetrius.     They are at least 200m apart and both were constructed out of limestone with the help of some imported Italian architects and craftsmen, and are masterpieces both inside and out, with exquisite carvings covering the exterior which the photos do not do justice……..

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Here a detail of the carving taken from the guidebook………

Scan 18 May 2018 at 15.21 - St Demetrius Carvings

Then onto the Golden Gate which used to be the main gate into the city until Catherine The Great got her carriage stuck going through it and had the surrounding walls and ramparts demolished.   Since when it has been somewhat redundant !!    But it is still nearly 1000  years old and pretty impressive !!

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Needless to say its got a church on top it as everything does around here !

Next a quick drive down the road to Bogoliubovo where Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky decided to build his own residence and set of churches etc.

Bogoliubovo

His most stunning of which is the Church of the Intercession built where two rivers meet in the middle of nowhere.    Its over a miles hike to get there from the nearest road but as I mentioned the Russians don’t or certainly didn’t do roads !    It rises up out the the flood plain and in winter after the rain is invariably completely surrounded by water.

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Same design, same Italian influence but absolutely gob-smacking.

Then another hours drive to Suzdal which is still a small community, but with 15 monasteries and umpteen churches, is like stepping back 1000 years.    Apart from the fact that I arrived at my hotel in the middle of an Yves Rocher (I think they do beauty products – not chocolate !)  sales convention and for reasons that I will never get to the bottom of, I was allocated the honeymoon suite complete with 4-poster bed, double bath, shagging platform in front of  a fireplace and enough heart shaped cushions to drive you dilly.    Anyway this was to be home for the next two nights.    Photos of Suzdal to follow in my next upload but here are some of the accommodation……..

You get the idea !!???………..

More later as we move onto Kostroma and Varoslavyl by which time onion dome fatigue and Icon overload starts getting confusing so bear with me……………R

PS – My trusty guide Lyuba informs me that there is an old Russian proverb that goes along the lines of.. “There a two major problems in Russia – The  roads and fools”.    She was certainly right about the first bit !!

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