One of our company chauffeurs will collect you from your Moscow hotel and take you to the classical, yet stunningly preserved Sergiyev Posad. It is about a 2-hour drive from the nation’s capital to the northeast. The town has many charms, from quaint side-streets to atmospheric restaurants, but nothing draws more attention than the enormous Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. A Lavra is another term for a monastery, which indicates an elevated importance and hermitic style of living. In this case, the monastery is the absolute center of spiritual Russia.
Situated in the middle of the numerous religious buildings included in the complex is The Trinity Cathedral, where large walls of shimmering icons called iconostases house some of the most precious pieces of Russia’s long history. Andrei Rublev’s most famous icon, The Trinity, is one of these many artworks, although the original has been transferred to the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Rublev is by far the most adored Russian icon painter of all time, the subject of a critically acclaimed Tarkovsky film, and a window into the soul of Russia.
One unique aspect of the Trinity Lavra is its wildly diverse architecture. Differing from the more austere walls of the Trinity Cathedral, The Refectory (a large building attached to the Church of St. Sergius) boasts multicolored Baroque exterior walls and ornately carved archways. The towering blue and gold domes of The Assumption Cathedral set it apart as the biggest building in the Lavra. Constructed during the reign of Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV Vasilyevich), your tour guide will describe what life was like for both monks and Russian citizens living in this infamous epoch of history.
To look at a wonderful view of the monastery, we head to nearby Krasnogorskaya Square. Aside from the photo opportunities it provides, this square is also abuzz with interesting contemporary local life. Lunch is included with the price of the tour at a local restaurant. If you like, we can tell you all about traditional Russian food and some of our favorite dishes that are sometimes overlooked by tourists. Have you ever heard of Golubtsi (stuffed cabbage leaves) or Syrniki (soft cheese curd pancakes)? Delicious! After lunch we will have a bit of free time and head back to Moscow in the mid-afternoon. You will have seen some of the most impressive architecture, icon painting, and religious sites in the all of Russia, all in one day.