The main sight Sergiev-Posad has to offer is of course the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra (also sometimes translated as the Trinity Lavra of St Sergius) and a visit to the UNESCO-protected lavra alone is enough reason to visit the city. If walking to the lavra from the station you can enjoy great views of it from the special Viewing Platform (intersection of Ulitsa Sergievskaya and Voznesenskaya Ulitsa), from where you can admire all the domes and towers of various forms and colours. On approaching the lavra you can appreciate how its mighty walls once resisted a 16-month siege. The lavra is usually always busy with a mix of both tourists and pilgrims. Inside the monastery are a whole collection of cathedrals, churches and chapels.
The main entrance into the lavra is through the Holy Gates and then the St John the Baptist's Gate-Church, which was built between 1692 and 1699 using the funds of Grigori Dmitrievich Stroganov, one of the members of the famous industrial Stroganov dynasty. It is an excellent example of the architectural style known as Moscow Baroque. The archway through which you enter is decorated with frescoes.
The white-stone Dormition Cathedral is the largest building in the lavra and immediately greets you with its central golden dome surrounded by four blue domes decorated with golden stars. In was constructed between 1559 and 1585 on the orders of Tsar Ivan the Terrible to resemble the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. It is beautifully decorated inside with frescos from the 17th century and boasts a five layer iconostasis which includes icons painted by the famous icon-painter Andrey Rublev. The relics of St Maximus the Greek, who died in the monastery in 1556, are also here. During the summer months, services are held here daily.
Next to the Dormition Cathedral on Sobornaya Ploschad is the lavra's most ancient and important cathedral - the Trinity Cathedral. It was built in 1422 and was originally decorated with frescos by Andrey Rublev and Daniil Chyorny. These frescos were restored in the 17th century and at other periods, however original icons painted by Andrey Rublev remain in the cathedral's iconostasis. Also housed inside is the lavra's most sacred religious relic - the relics of St Sergius of Radonezh and you will often see queues of believers waiting to be able to pray at his shrine. If you do not wish to pray at Sergius' tomb you do not need to join the queue and can just walk into the cathedral without queuing. The cathedral holds services daily, all year round.
Behind the Trinity Cathedral is the lavra's Sacristy which is now run by the Sergiev-Posad Museum-Reserve as a museum displaying the treasures of the lavra dating from the 14th to the 19th century. In total there are 10 halls filled with items used in church services, robes, applied and decorative art, paintings, icons and icon frames, and embroidery. The museum can only be visited as part of an excursion.
The area on the west side of the lavra in front of the Dormition Cathedral is known as Sobornaya Ploschad (Cathedral Square). In the centre stands the Holy Spring and the Chapel-over-the-Well, from where believers fill bottles with holy and supposedly healing spring water, and the Obelisk which was put up in 1792 to honour the monastery's historical service to the motherland. Immediately in front of the Dormition Cathedral is the decorative Dormition Well and Chapel, another source of holy-healing water. Also here is the Holy Spirit Church which was built in 1476 by masters from Pskov, it is rather unique among Moscow church architecture as a bell tower is included in its dome. During the 1608-1610 siege, this bell was used to warn the monastery's defenders of danger. On the north side of Sobornaya Ploschad stands the Bell Tower, which was constructed between 1741 and 1769. At 88 metres it is the 7th highest bell tower in Russia, beating even the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Moscow Kremlin.
Godunov Burial Vault
in front of the Dormition Cathedral is the Godunov Burial Vault which is the final resting place for Tsar Boris Godunov, his wife Tsaritsa Maria Grigorievna, his son who reigned briefly as Tsar Fyodor II and his daughter Ksenia who became a nun at the lavra taking the name Olga and lived through the 1608-1610 siege.
South Side of the Lavra
On the southern side of the lavra is the elaborately decorated Refectory, which was built on the orders of the joint tsars Ivan V and Peter the Great between 1686 and 1692. Its facade is one of the best examples of Moscow Baroque with its intricate engravings and paintings. The refectory also comprises the St Sergius of Radonezh's Church. Next to the refectory is the Metropolitan's Palace which is the residence for the abbot of the lavra who is the patriarch of Moscow and All Rus. The palace was built at the same time as the refectory between 1687 and 1692. Its baroque facade was added in 1778.
North-West Corner of the Lavra
In the north-west corner is the hospital ward with incorporates Ss Zosima and Sabbatius of Solovetsky's Church. It was built between 1635 and 1637 and the design of the church was built based on the Intercession Cathedral of the Solovetsky Monastery which no longer exists. Next to this is the Our Lady of Smolensk Church which was built between 1746 and 1753 in the Elizabethan baroque style. It is a small blue church with a single dome. Once it held a miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary, which has since been removed to a museum and replaced with a copy.
North Side of the Lavra
Finally, the northern side of the lavra is taken up by the Tsar's Palace with the Intercession Church and administrative and residential buildings, which are closed to the public. The two story Tsar's Palace was built in the Moscow baroque style between 1686-1692 as a residence for the tsar on his visits to the lavra.
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