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I have been to Moscow now several times and have seen most of the interesting places in Moscow. This year I decided to go with a business partner on a day trip from Moscow to Sergiev Posad to see the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nearby we visited the Chernigovsky skete and Abramtsevo Colony which made the day packed with things to do. The Sergiev Posad day trip from Moscow I can recommend everyone to do if you are in Moscow for holidays or business. Read on and enjoy the tour together with me.
Sergiev Posad & Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius
Sergiev Posad is a city about 70 km north-east of Moscow and most famous for the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. This was my main reason to visit Sergiev Posad on a day trip from Moscow. The other places were of less importance to me. The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and founded in the mid-14th century by Sergius of Radonezh. Today the complex functions as the center of the Russian Orthodox Church.
I arrived with my Russian business partner by bus to Sergiev Posad after which we had to walk 10 minutes to arrive at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. In the distance I could already see the towers with the shiny golden spires. It was a beautiful view with the clear sky. At the square before the entrance there were a lot of, mainly Chinese, tour groups who made the place a bit crowded. The entrance is free of charge and through the beautiful decorated gate you arrive at the inner compound.
TIP! Check the bus schedules beforehand; you can also take the train which might be faster!
I walked counter-clockwise starting at the Tsars palace which was not open to the public during my visit; it seemed reconstrution was going on inside. I walked around the Bell Tower passing the Church of the Virgin of Smolensk arriving at the main square. Looking outwards you see the various towers on the 1.5 kilometer long wall surrounding the place. The inside of the Bell Tower houses only a tourist shop so I went to the Assumption Cathedral from the late 16th century. Inside you find an active church with many pilgrims lighting candles and praying. The walls are covered with beautiful frescos and icons all around.
The heat got me thirsty and I was out of water so I went outside to the well to take water and fill my bottles. It is said this water has healing powers. Next on the list was the Trinity cathedral which is in the corner and at the place the first church from wood was built during the early 15th century. The current church is made out of stone and beautiful decorated on the inside with golden spires on the outside. A long line of pilgrims was waiting in line to light a candle at the Trinity cathedral. The inside is small and if you are not in the line it will take you like 10 minutes to see. From here I continued to a few of the other buildings before departing for a short walk outside the walls in Sergiev Posad. I continued to Chernigovsky skete afterwards.
TIP! Take a taxi to Chernigovsky skete to avoid looking for the bus. On the way back you can simply catch the bus without worrying to get a taxi there.
Just outside of Sergiev Posad you will find the Chernigovsky skete which is famous for its underground caves and living cells. The easiest way to get there is to take a taxi and on the way back just wait for the bus. It saves you time in Sergiev Posad to find the bus there and on the way back there is just one. With a tour underground it takes just over an hour to explore the place. I arrived in shorts, which was not really appreciated but was accepted to join the tour as long as the monks, who still live there, would not see me.
In the mid-19th century a group of monks searched for seclusion and dug a cave temple with cells for living. The first wooden structures formed the Archangel Michael Cave Temple. Over time the temple was rebuild into stone, walls were build, a belfry tower and the Chernigovsky cathedral on top finally. There is a source of water in the underground caves of which the water is said to have healing powers. The underground structure can only be visited on a guided tour which runs a bit irregularly. It is however worth the visit and you can see how the monks lived in seclusion in the old days. After my visit I took the bus back to the train station of Sergiev Posad to continue my day trip from Moscow to the Abramtsevo Colony.
Abramtsevo Colony in Khotkovo
A 20 minute train ride and a 20 minute walk through pristine forests will bring you to the Abramtsevo Colony. A visit here will pack the day very full. If you want to take it easy I suggest skipping the Ambramtsevo Colony.
The Abramtsevo Colony was an estate in the 19th century and served as the main center for artists. It was built by Sergei Aksakov and many artists visited him like Nikolai Gogol. The center was meant to be an inspirational center for new Russian art without influence of Western artists. After the death of Sergei Aksakov it was bought over and continued to function as a center for modern Russian art. Today the estate functions as a museum.
TIP! If you want to photograph inside OR outside be sure to buy a ticket which allows you to do this. They are strict!
There are several buildings hosting each different expositions of art. A small beautiful church and a manor can also be visited. The manor is only open on a guided tour which lasts around 45 minutes. You can wander around the estate with beautiful views over the water and pine trees. I walked around the area for just under 2 hours at which time it also started to close. Across the street is a restaurant with a hotel where I had dinner. The quality is good but overpriced but without any other option nearby they can probably ask what they want. After dinner I walked through the forest back to the train station for a one hour ride back to Moscow, back to my Intercontinental hotel. A great day trip from Moscow to Sergiev Posad came to an end. I can really recommend this trip to everyone wanting to escape the busy streets of Moscow for a day.
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Did you visit Sergiev Posad too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!
Gallery Sergiev Posad
Click an image for a full screen gallery of more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.