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Trinity Lavra of St Sergius

The picturesque town of Sergiev Posad is located in the Moscow Oblast and forms a vital part of the Golden Ring of Russia. The tourism generated by Golden Ring tours assists the small town’s economy, and many visitors come to Sergiev Posad to marvel at its many historical buildings and experience its fascinating attractions, such as the legendary toy factory. What most people do not realise, is that the town is home to a significant religious site, namely the Trinity Lavra of St Sergius. Many followers still make the pilgrimage to the monastery each year, which is also an important part of the history of the town.

Both the town and the monastery were named in honour of St Sergius of Radonezh, and even though the town experienced a few name changes during the years, its original name was restored in 1991. The monastery was first established in the year 1345, by St Sergius of Radonezh, and over the following years additions, renovations and improvements saw to it that the monastery survived until today. Starting out as a small wooden church, Sergius oversaw the first renovations, which started in 1355, adding a bakery, refectory, kitchen and cloisters. The first stone structure, the cathedral, was constructed in 1422. It is filled with invaluable memorabilia of St Serguis, as well as frescoes and paintings that were created by the masters of art, such as Daniil Chvorny and Andrei Rublev. The Church of the Holy Ghost is a very special structure; not only was it built on instruction of Ivan III in 1476, but it is one of the few remaining churches in the country that was constructed with a bell tower. Some of the disciples of St Sergius were interred in the Serapion tent, which was added by Vasily III in the sixteenth century. Ivan the Terrible commissioned the construction of the Assumption Cathedral in the year 1559, and this magnificent structure took twenty-six years to complete.

The wealthy families of Russia saw to it that the monastery remained in perfect condition, putting up the funds for renovations and additions over the years of its existence. Approximately three hundred monks reside at the monastery. Today, the Trinity Lavra of St Sergius is a spectacular collection of religious buildings, and visitors will still be able to see historical structures such as the bell tower, Holy Spirit Church, Duck Tower, Assumption Cathedral and many other significant structures, which were added to the World Heritage List in 1993.


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