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Sergiev Posad (Zagorsk): Center of Russian Orthodoxy
Day 1. Moscow
9.00am - Meeting with the guide and driver at the hotel. Departure to Sergiev Posad.
11.00am Arrival in Sergiev Posad.
You will see Holy Uspensky gates, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Assumption Cathedral, Sergius Well Chapel, Towers, Refectory, Church of the St. Micah, Sacristy, Church of the Holy Spirit, Trinity Sergius Monastery, Old Russian Applied Art Museum, Chertogi Palace, Kelarskiye Ponds, Church of St. Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, Church of the Presentation of the Mother of God etc.
02.00pm - Visit to the Toy Museum.
03.30pm - Lunch in "Skazka" restaurant.
04.30pm - Departure for Moscow.
06.00 - 07.00pm Arrival to the hotel.
A 75 – kilometer (46 – mile) ride north of Moscow leads to Sergiev Posad, the most popular town on the Golden Ring route. As soon as the road leaves Moscow, it winds back in time through dense forests of spruce and birch, past old wooden dachas, country homes and farms, and eventually opens onto a magical view upon which fairy tales are based.
In the early 14th century two brothers, Stefan and Varfolomei (Bartholomew), built a small wooden church and monastic retreat in the forests of Radonezh (lands inherited from their father, a pious Rostov boyar). Varfolomei took his monastic vows as Sergius and founded his own monastery in 1345; St. Sergius would one day be named the patron saint of all Russia. Sergius and his pupils went on to establish 50 other monasteries across northeastern Russia that also acted as educational centers and regional strongholds during the Mongol occupations. Seventy of St Sergius; disciples attained sainthood.
In 1380, Grand Prince Dmitri Donskoi and his armies were blessed before battle by Sergius Radonezhsky. Outnumbered four to one, they defeated Khan Mamai`s hordes – the first major Mongol defeat in over a century. At the monastery, one of St. Sergius’ pupils, the famous iconist Andrei Rublyov, painted the Old Testament Trinity (now in Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery) to commemorate this famous battle at Kulikovo on the Don. After the victory, Moscow princes and rich boyars contributed heavily to the establishment of the Troitse – Sergiyev Lavra (Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius) until it became not only the wealthiest in all Russia, but also the most revered pilgrimage shrine in Moscovy.
The thick kremlin walls were built around the monastery in 1540 during the reign of Ivan the Terrible to protect it from attack. A half – century later, the Lavra (monastery) withstood a 16 – month siege by Polish forces; it was protected by over 3,000 monks. The monastery complex was such an important center for the Russian people that its fall would have meant the end of Rus. The monastery remained an important fortress that defended Moscow well into the 17th century.
Eleven octagonal towers were built into the walls as key defense points. The most famous, the northeast tower, is knows as the Utichya (Duck) Tower; the duck atop its spire symbolizes Peter the Great`s hunting expeditions in Sergiev Posad. (He also enjoyed taking shots at the ducks swimming in the pond below). The place also played an important cultural role; the manuscript – writing and color miniature painting sections date back to the 15th century.
After his death, Sergius was canonized; he is buried in the Holy Trinity Cathedral on the monastery grounds. In 1992, the Orthodox Church celebrated the 600th anniversary of St. Sergius` passing. Each year special church processions are held, especially during of St. Sergius and Holy Trinity Days, New Year’s and Easter holidays. Today the Trinity – Sergius Monastery is the largest lavra run by the Orthodox Church, with over 100 monks. The monastery remains a place of devoted pilgrimage, and believers from all over the country continue to pay homage to “the saint and guardian of the Russia land”.
In 1930, the town’s name of Sergiev Posad (Settlement of Sergius) was changed to Zagorsk, after the revolutionary Vladimir Zagorsk. The monastery was closed down and converted into a State museum by Lenin in 1920 and during the Stalinist era it lost of its wealth and power. The town officially reverted back to its original name of Sergiev Posad in 1990, when the monastery was also returned to the Orthodox Church. Sergiev Posad has a population of over 100,000, but receives nearly a million visitors a year.
Price is starting from $ 95
- Meals as per the itinerary
- All excursions as per the itinerary (individual licensed English speaking guide, foreign A/C car, professional driver)
- All transfers according to the program with arrival/departure transfers
- Entrance tickets