Suzdal, Vladimir, train to St Petersburg
Suzdal Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
June 17th, 2010 – by: Jody-Scott
We left Moscow to visit some of the old (medieval) towns in the countryside that have survived. The first stop was a famous monastery, Sergiev Posad. In addition to having a complex of beautiful old buildings, this is an active religious site with monks and pilgrims. It felt a bit odd to be watching as a procession of visitors took communion and then proceeded to light candles, kiss the glass over the tombs of various saints, and write their requests for divine assistance on little slips of paper ... Our guides tell us that despite a strong secular streak in society, a growing number of people have returned to active participation in the church.
A lengthy drive took us to Suzdal, where our official touring would recommence the next day. We strolled into town for dinner and were repaid for our days of enduring rain with an exceptionally fine rainbow. A quiet town --despite a busy tourist trade, we were the only customers in the restaurant.
Our official tour of Suzdal and Vladimir started with the museum of wooden architecture -- mostly 19th century buildings from peasant villages. They often had two churches -- one for summer (larger and with no caulking between the logs) and one for winter (smaller space to keep warm, with hemp packed tightly into every crevice in the walls).
The monastery in Suzdal is no longer an active site of worship, so we could wander more freely through the complex. Over the centuries, this monastery has served many purposes [fortress for the town, prison, public administration site]. As we watched the carilloneur playing the 19 bells, our guide pointed out the clock with no minute hand and letters instead of numbers on the clock face. Monks only needed to know the hour for prayers, minutes were of no interest. And .... it wasnâ€™t until the time of Peter the Great (late 17th century) that Russia (reluctantly) embraced such western innovations as the arabic number system and chairs.
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