Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda, which can be translated as Aleksandr's Settlement, is also often called the Aleksandrov Kremlin and was first developed at the turn of the 16th century when Grand Prince Vasili III established a provincial residence here. Between approximately 1508 and 1513, the Intercession Cathedral, the Trinity Church and the Dormition Church were built here, although later the Intercession Cathedral was re-consecrated as the Trinity Cathedral and the Trinity Church as the Intercession Church. Today the territory of the Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda is shared between the Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda-Museum Reserve, which holds exhibits in some of its old churches and buildings, and the Svyato-Uspensky Convent, which is once more a working convent.
Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda Museum-Reserve
Dormition Church, Hospital Ward and Exhibitions
The Dormition Church is the oldest church within the Aleksandrov Kremlin and was built between approximately 1508 and 1513 to serve as the personal church of Grand Prince Vasili III and included the palace chamber of Vasili III. The original part of the church is the main cube structure, which was later modified with the addition of five domes, large vestibules around three of its sides and a bell tower. After the Revolution the church was closed and it became part of the Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda Museum-Reserve. It remains part of the museum-reserve today and holds three permanent exhibitions: an exhibition dedicated to trade in the city in the 19th and early 20th centuries, an exhibition on traditional 16th century Russian drinks and an exhibition hall for temporary displays of work of various artists.
Just behind the Dormition Church is the Hospital Corpus which dates from the 1680s. Built onto the end of the corpus is the small Presentation of the Lord Church which has since been returned to the Orthodox Church. The remainder of the corpus though is still used by the museum-reserve to hold an exhibition displaying late 19th and early 20th century furniture, as well as premises for temporary exhibitions.
Intercession Church and Exhibitions
The main exhibition premises of the Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda Museum-Reserve are located in the Intercession Church which is thought to have been built approximately between 1508 and 1513 on the orders of Grand Prince Vasili III and was originally dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The church features a tent-dome and if it was indeed built in the 1510s as historians believe, then it is the older tent-dome church in Russia, as the Ascension Church in Kolomenskaya Estate in Moscow, which was also built on the orders of Vasili III, was completed slightly later. Under Tsar Ivan the Terrible the church was used as the tsar's personal church and it was extended with the addition of the royal court chambers. It was here that Ivan the Terrible killed his son and heir - Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovich - in a fit of rage in 1581.
Today the church holds several exhibitions, mainly dedicated to Ivan the Terrible and his links with Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda. In total there are nine exhibitions here:
- 'The Royal Court at Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda and the Personal Church of Ivan the Terrible' which details the history of Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda and displays the features of the Intercession Church, including the surviving frescos inside of the tent-dome, Ivan the Terrible's throne and the carved portal-doors.
- 'Royal Personalities at Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda' which has information on the grand dukes, tsars, emperors and empresses who visited Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda.
- 'History of One Exhibit' which features a video concentrated solely on a single item displayed at the museum-reserve.
- '16th Century Dining Chamber' which is a recreations of Ivan the Terrible's dining chamber.
- 'Bed Chambers' which is a recreation of Ivan the Terrible's bed chambers, featuring a traditional 16th-century style bed.
- '16th Century Cellar' which recreates the dungeon of Ivan the Terrible, including models of people being tortured.
- 'Tsar Ivan the Terrible in Pictures' which displays copies of paintings of Ivan the Terrible, including Repin's famous depiction of Ivan killing his son.
- 'Treasures of Aleksandrov Lands' which exhibitions examples of beautiful 16th to 18th century church items, including icons, books and robes, from Aleksandrov and the surrounding area.
- 'From the Depths of Time' which displays the archaeological finds and the very structure and façade of the building itself.
In 1581, after Tsar Ivan the Terrible killed his own son, Ivan left Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda and never returned. The complex was left abandoned and started to fall into disrepair until 1651 when Tsar Alexis granted permission to establish the Svyato-Uspensky Convent there. Over the next century new churches, walls and monastic corpuses were built there. In 1698, Peter the Great banished his half-sister Tsarevna Marfa Alekseevna to the convent for helping her sister Regent Sofia in her plots against Peter. Marfa adopted the name Margarita and later died at the convent in 1707. In the 1921 the convent was completely closed and the Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda Museum-Reserve was founded in its place. However in 1991 the convent was re-established although not all of its former churches were returned as they continue to be occupied by the museum-reserve.
Today the main cathedral within the re-established convent is the simple but beautiful Trinity Cathedral. The cathedral is thought to have been built between 1508 and 1513 as part of Vasili III's development of Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda as his residence. Originally it was dedicated to the Intercession of the Virgin Mary, but was changed to the Holy Trinity later. The cathedral has a single dome, is surrounded on three sides by a gallery and has three apses at the back. The western and southern gates of the cathedral were brought here after Ivan the Terrible's bloody campaigns against Tver and Novgorod respectively. The interior of the cathedral was decorated with frescos in the mid-17th century, but these were repainted in the late 19th century. The cathedral was closed in 1919 but reopened in 1946. In 1991 it became part of the re-established Svyato-Uspensky Convent.
St Theodore Stratelates' Gate-Church
Another church to have been returned to the convent is St Theodore Stratelates' Gate-Church which was built over the western holy gates to the Svyato-Uspensky Convent in the 1680s. To either side of the church are monastic cells. Also located nearby is the 19th century building of the Mother Superior's House.
Presentation of the Lord Church
The Presentation of the Lord Church which is built onto the Hospital Ward was also reopened in 1994 and it now holds services from time to time. The church dates from the 1680s and has a single dome and a small belfry.
|Location||20 Muzeyny Proezd|
|Clock||winter: 10:00-18:00 (Fridays: 10:00-17:00), summer: 10:00-20:00. Closed on Mondays.|