Thursday, August 14, 2008

Moscow’s Golden Ring- Churches Galore

With Mum & Dad freshly arrived in Moscow from the Med, Mum made the request to explore the Golden Ring, a series of ancient Russian towns dating from about 1000AD, considered to be the birthplaces of the Russian nation.

These towns are arranged in a rough circle NE of Moscow, and all contain lots of monasteries, kremlins (fortresses), and churches, mostly topped with shiny gold onion domes- hence the name.

The group of us, accompanied by James and driven by my long-suffering driver Yuri headed to Sergiev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov, Suzdal, and Vladimir for a few days. We saw approx. 732 churches (about 730 more than Dad & I had attention span for), thousands of religious icons, lots of forest, no nightlife, and sampled plenty of mediocre Russian standards, although the local mead was pretty tasty.

Each of these quaint little towns was typically dominated by a kremlin or fortified monastery, from which a belltower would tower over the town. Suzdal was a picture-perfect medieval town, with a river meandering between hillsides dotted with churches and various spires, interspersed with interesting books, cafes and markets.

This is an interesting trip for anyone interested in Russian history or religion, but warning that even though the architecture is beautiful, church fatigue strikes quickly and without warning.

Photos are here.

Worldguide is here.

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