Сергиев Посад/Sergiyev Posad
Троице-Сергиева Лавра/Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius
Троице-Сергиева Лавра – open daily 8:00 to 18:00
Weekends churches are closed to the public
Lavra’s Museum on-site closed on Mondays
Free Admission to the monastery
Электричка round-trip to Сергиев Посад – 273 rubles
At a SRAS event last Friday, our SRAS leader pointed out that we have only been outside of Moscow two or three times during our time in Russia. She mentioned that we should explore the area again before leaving for home in the upcoming week. We agreed this was a great idea and she suggested exploring a town nearby called Сергиев Посад.
Сергиев Посад (Sergiev Posad) is a major religious center for the Russian Orthodox religion and is located to the northeast of Moscow. To get to the city, we decided to take the электричка (elektrichka or electric/commuter train). The электричка runs sort of like the Moscow metro. There are multiple stops in different areas for people to board or leave the train according to their destination. To get to Сергиев Посад, we simply took the Moscow metro to Комсомольская (Komsomolskaya) station and the Ярослвль (Yaroslavl) train station, which is located directly outside the metro exit. We purchased tickets to Сергиев Посад at the green ticket booth (marked “пригородные кассы” or “short-distance trains”) to our right after exiting the metro.
Be sure to buy a ticket for the trip to Сергиев Посад as well as coming back, and keep track of your round-trip ticket (273 rubles or about $9). We needed it to get into the train station area to board, when the ticket masters checked our ticket on both the coming and leaving trains, as well as when we left the train station once we arrived back in Moscow. If we had misplaced it or accidentally threw it away, we would need to purchase another to get to our final destination or even to leave the Moscow train station after returning to the city. The train announces every upcoming station arrival just as the metro does and we were easily able to discern when our stop was being announced. The trip takes about an hour and a half one-way.
Сергиев Посад is important to the Russian Orthodox religion because located in this city is Троице-Сергиева Лавра (the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergii). A lavra is the name given to the biggest, most significant Russian Orthodox monasteries directly underneath the Patriarch of Moscow. Троице-Сергиева Лавра is one of the four Russian Orthodox lavras in Russia. When we arrived in Сергиев Посад, we stepped off the train having no plan of action, only knowing that the important monastery was located somewhere within the limits of the small town. We walked directly away from the train station down ул. Рыбная (Ribnaya/Fish Street) and eventually arrived at пр. Красной Армии (Krasnoi Armii Prospekt/Red Army Prospect). From this street corner, we could see the domes of the monastery in the distance to our right and continued towards this direction.
Unfortunately for us, main parts of the monastery, including the beautiful blue domed church and buildings surrounding it, were undergoing major renovations during our visit. We were a little disappointed with our inability to view the full monastery. However, we were still able to walk around to view the church where the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh, the founder of the monastery, are placed and the Fountain of Holy Water. We found the fountain when we noticed a small line of visitors holding bottles around a small gazebo. Visitors would wait in line and, when it came to their turn, fill their water bottle up and wash their face or hands with holy water from the fountain. A fellow SRAS student and I decided to join in with the culture and try our hand at catching a few drops of holy water into one of our empty bottles.
After a few more pictures inside the monastery, we decided to find some coffee in a nearby café. We found a restaurant named Pronto where we enjoyed some iced coffee and planned the rest of our day. Since Сергиев Посад is mainly known for the monastery and surrounding churches, little else could be found when we Googled for things to do. Our group of five then decided to simply explore the residential areas of Сергиев Посад to get a better grasp of life outside the big city of Moscow. After leaving Pronto, we decided that пр. Красной Армии, the road that Pronto resided on, was considerably full of traffic and soon became too loud and dusty for us to remain walking along. We veered left toward some residential apartments farther up the road to get away from the cars and found ourselves walking along a dirt path through a very large storage sheds with hundreds of storage rooms for families or businesses to store their things. At the end of this area, we turned left down another small dirt path,across metal bridge and through a field that eventually gave us access to the residential community in Сергиев Посад that we had been searching for. We wandered through the homes taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful, sunny, warm day for a few hours before turning towards one of the main roads and following the main traffic back to the train station to catch a ride home.
In terms of food, our group of five had originally stopped at a grocery store located near the train station in Moscow and bought a picnic lunch/dinner to bring with us. Our choice for food included bread, cheese, sausage, cookies, apples, potato wedges and tons of water (for a total of 850 rubles split by 5 people). I brought along my backpack to carry it all with us instead of having to lug around an annoying bag of groceries. Our lunch was eaten on the train on our way to Сергиев Посад and our dinner was eaten during our self-guided tour of the residential community along one of the side roads. There are a multitude of restaurants, such as Pronto, located in Сергиев Посад either right outside the train station or along пр. Красной Армии. There are also a few small restaurants and a bakery located inside the monastery if needed. Overall, Сергиев Посад was an interesting place to visit for a laid back adventure outside of the city. I would definitely recommend taking a trip out there to walk through the monastery as well as through the town itself.
For groups or faculty-led tours, Сергиев Посад would be an interesting place to visit to view a location very special to the Russian Orthodox religion. The monastery itself is beautiful and is very easy to walk through for a couple of hours. Travel time is an hour and a half with a little extra needed for boarding the train and finding a place to sit in one of the wagons.