Around the Town

Intercession Church on the Nerl

Despite its small-scale and the simplicity of its structure, the Intercession Church on the Nerl is one of the most famous churches in Russia and is often used to represent the very image of Russia churches.  The church was built during the reign of Grand Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky of Vladimir, although the exact date is not known.  Some historians believe it dates from 1158 and the founding of Bogolyubovo itself while others believe that it was built around 1165 based on information contained in the hagiography of Andrey Bogolyubsky which states that the church was built in memory of Andrey's son Izyaslav Andreevich, who died in 1165.

In form the white stone church is a basic four-pier structure with a single dome and decorated with stone engraving. Its location in a nationally-protected meadow on a bend in the River Nerl, close to its confluence with the River Klyazma, only adds to the church's refined beauty.  The opening scenes of Andrey Tarkovsky's acclaimed film 'Andrey Rublev' take place at the church and this too has most likely helped in creating the church's iconic status.  In 1992 the church was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal.  Today the church is shared between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-Reserve.  When services are not being held there, it is open as a museum exhibit.

The church is located just over a kilometre from Bogolyubovo Railway Station and to get there you need to walk along the path through the meadow.  In summer months it is possible to take a ride on a horse and cart there and in the winter you can get a sleigh ride there.  In the spring the meadow is prone to flooding and in this case there are usually locals on hand with boats to ferry tourists to the church for a small fee.

Location Bogolyubsky meadow on the River Nerl