Around seventy kilometres north of Moscow is Sergijev Posad, a monastery city named after its founder, Sergij Radoneschkij. During the fourteenth century one of the main centres of the Russian Orthodox Church was established there.
The complex resembles a fortress. Eight fortified towers and a high wall assured protection against attack by the Tartars, Lithuanians, Swedes and Poles. In the centre of the monastery town is Uspenskij Sobor Cathedral that was built under the command of Ivan The Fourth, also known as “the Terrible”, in 1554.
The monastery’s Holy Spring was said to possess healing powers. The Zirborium was built in the seventeenth century above the spring. It is very colourful, rich in decoration and has a playful kind of splendour.
Alexander Pushkin once said: "We owe our history to the monks and consequently we also have our culture.” Indeed, although the monastery city of Sergijev Posad features an array of fascinating Russian architecture of bygone times, it is more than just a monument. It is a lively sanctuary of the Russian Orthodox Church.