«TOURCENTER» Tourist and Hotel Complex, Suzdal, Vladimir Region
November 10–14, 2014
On November 13 we invite the Conference participants to join us in the free guided bus and walking tours of the town of Suzdal.
Please register at our website so we could arrange transportation. On the day of arrival don’t forget to pick up your boarding coupons at the registration desk to produce on the tour bus.
Route 1. Bus and walking tour of the town of Suzdal: Wooden Masterpieces Museum — Pokrovsky Nunnery — Kremlin
Departure time: 09.40
The Suzdal Kremlin is the core around which medieval ensemble of Suzdal grew. At the turn of the 11th -12th centuries a fortress was built here, and it was surrounded with a belt of earthworks. Logged walls with towers were built on the top of the earthworks.
In the south and west narthexes there are ancient folding doors – “the Golden Gates” of the 13th century made with the technique of “fire gilding”. Inside the cathedral is covered with blue colors of later paintings under which you can see picturesque ancient fragments. The carved iconostasis of the 17th century survived. The graves of the members of the most famous boyar and princely families, e.g. the Shuyskys, the Shuyskys-Skopins and the Belskys are located in the cathedral necropolis. Also sons of Yury Dolgoruky (Yury the Long-Armed, founder of Moscow) lay in this place.
In front of the cathedral you will see the Chrism Chamber. From the low staircase topped with green tegulate hipped roof, stairs lead to spacious entry, and after you pass a wide portal you are entering a large room of Episcopal House. In the center, a long table with chairs stands with the Archbishop’s armchair at the head of the table. The walls are adorned with portraits of tsars and Suzdal bishops, also the room is adorned with magnificent ceiling lamps and two Holland furnaces. Today the Suzdal Kremlin is a museum with many expositions dedicated to the history of Suzdal land, famous people who played important roles in its history, treasures from monasteries and churches, Old Russian paintings, arts, and crafts.
Pokrovsky Nunnery – is the next goal of our tour.
The Nunnery founded in 1365 is located on the right bank of the Kamenka river in the northern part of Suzdal. The current architectural ensemble was completed in the 17th century when the Nunnery turned into exile place for disgraced Russian tsarinas and noble women who took here the veil (e.g., Solomonia Saburova, Vasily’s the Third wife, Evdokia Lopukhina, Peter’s the Great wife, and others).
Today the functional Nunnery embraces the Pokrovsky Cathedral, asylum and various outbuildings on its territory. Unique icons and arts of embroidery are the main values of the Cathedral. There is also a writ hut on the territory of the monastery - it’s a very rare historical monument. Once destroyed, and now reconstructed cookhouse is also worth seeing. Recently the Nunnery was given back to church, and in 2009 a refuge for orphan girls was open here.
Museum of Wooden Masterpieces – is the next stop on our way. The idea of wooden architecture and peasantry life museum dates back to 1960s. V.M. Anisimov, employee of restoration workshops, developed the project. The museum was decided to be erected on the bank of the Kamenka river on the outskirts of Suzdal, on the place of nonextant Dimitrievsky monastery of the 11th century, one of the earliest in Suzdal. Remained wooden buildings were moved in there from many villages in Suzdal region: churches, log huts, household outbuildings. One vacant place on the high bank of Kamenka was built up again.
It is a kind of village which embraces everything that survived since 18th -19th centuries – that was not burnt in fires, broken for firewood, or destroyed during hard years. The streets of the villages are arranged of those moved log houses and buildings, with high domes of wooden churches and wings of windmills dominating above them. The Museum of Wooden Masterpieces is the place where you may also get the idea of the life Russian peasants.
Route 2. Guided tour of Spaso-Evfimiyev Monastery:. Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral –Gold Treasury – Suzdal Jail
Departure time: 10.00
The Spaso-Evfimiyev Monastery was founded in 1352 by Konstantin Vasilievich, Prince of Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod, as male mansion of the Savior. It is located to the north of the town, beyond its borders, so it was acting as an outpost. Evfimy, the first hegumen of the Monastery, was canonized early in the 16th century, and his gained hallows were acknowledged as saint and were kept in the monastery, in the cathedral of the Savior (today it’s a side chapel of the Preobrazhensky Cathedral).
There are several architectural monuments on the territory of the monastery: campaniles, hipped roofs, Uspenskaya Refectory Church, the magnificent Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, Nikolskaya Church with the hospital block and Nadvratnaya Blagoveschenskaya church. All these buildings were erected gradually from 16th till 18th centuries.
The walls of Spaso-Evfimiyev Monastery are of light pink color, and each of twelve towers of the monastery is unique. Some scenes of the famous film «Andrey Rublev» by Andrei Tarkovsky were made near the monastery on the high bank of the Kamenka river; prince Dmitry Pozharsky was buried on the monastery territory.
The massive Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral (16th - 19th centuries) is the central building of the monastery, it was completed and extended several times. The cathedral is crowned with large five onion domes, and its interior is very rich. Paintings of the end of 17 century were made by masters Gury Nikitin and Sila Slavin, of the town of Kostroma. During the reconstruction, the murals of the 16th century depicting mainly the saint hegumen Evfimy were found in the south side chapel and then partly cleaned.
The Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral faces a small square surrounded with two more remarkable buildings – the Campanile and Uspenskaya Refectory Church..
The Uspenskaya (Assumption) Church (1525) is a unique sample of Russian art of building of 15th -16th centuries, and one of the earliest architectural monuments of hipped roofs type. It’s combines a church and a refectory in one structure.
The Campanile (16th -17th centuries) has a very complex structure and a long construction history. Initially it was erected as the decahedral pillar church of John the Baptist «for bells». In its style, it looks much like its neighbor – The Uspenskaya Church. In the late 16th century, a high-raised arch was built on the south side of the pillar, and two more arches in the 17th century. A new type of campanile with galleries for bells appeared. When in the 17th century the hipped roof was destroyed the campanile was crowned with clock tower. You will be able to see it today.
To the east of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral you will see the Nikolskaya Hospital Church (1669) with a ward for monks. The first floor of the two-storey building were given over to a refectory, and the wards were on the second floor. The Nikolskaya Church erected as a chapel for sick monks and prisoners of the monastery jail is moderately decorated and crowned with just one small wooden dome. The rowlock portal, window linings and a row of corbel arches revive its smooth white walls a little. Here the Gold Treasury is located today. It is a museum that comprises over 500 exhibits of the Russian ornamental arts and crafts. Many in the display are related to the history of the towns of Vladimir and Suzdal. The earliest artifact of the 13th century is a small carved clay icon of healer Panteleimon.
The Brethren Building (17th century) – is a two-storey stone building with monastic cells. The southern building and the first floor of the Brethren Building are the oldest buildings (early 17th century). The facades are moderately decorated, mainly with window linings and corbel arches, and a pilaster on the southern facade.
The Jail is among the most remarkable historical buildings; in 1766, Ekaterina the Great ordered to set up here the prison for political criminals. Initially the prisoners were kept in the Hospital Building, and in 19th century the jail was expanded, and the monastery buildings around the Nikolskaya Church were rebuilt into the site with solitary confinement with the high blind stone wall around.
The Suzdal jail was sadly known as the cruelest in Russia. Today the exhibits of the Jail building tell both the story of tsarist Russia prisoners as well as the story of political jail of the Soviet era.
Having survived through the hard 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s as a political detention facility, NKVD specialized concentration camp, filtration internment camp, it has finally become a museum displaying items on the history and arts of the land of Suzdal. The big museum complex is a part of Vladimir and Suzdal Historical, Architectural and Art Museum Reserve.
The complex of the Spaso-Evfimiyev Monastery is inscribed among UNESCO World Heritage sites.
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