Pavlovsky Posad


Pavlovsky Posad is a town in Moscow Oblast, Russia, the administrative centre of Pavlovo-Posadsky District. Population: 61,982 (2002 Census). It is located 68 km from Moscow, at the confluence of the Klyazma and the Vokhna Rivers. The Moscow–Vladimir railway goes through the town.

Pavlovsky Posad was founded in 1845 on the site of a village Pavlovo (Vokhna). The place was always famous for its businesses. From its very foundation, the land on which the town stands belonged to the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church. Later (from the middle of 17th century) the land came into the state ownership. Because of its peculiarity, Pavlovsky Posad never knew Russian serfdom.

Pavlosky Posad was always famous for its shawl factories. One of these factories – Pavlova Manufactura - is still working and producing shawls and kerchiefs in the Russian style. The very fact of creation of a town (Posad) on the site of several villages (Pavlovo, Dubrovo, Zaharovo and Melenki) was not typical for 19th century Russia. It was only because local merchants were very energetic, enterprising and rich that this task was accomplished successfully. From the very beginning Pavlovsky Posad has had the textile industry as its main business.

In the middle of the 19th century competition between two groups of merchants in Pavlovsky Posad became very strong. One group consisted of residents of the central part of the town (former Pavolov), whereas the second group originated from the neighboring villages (Stepurino, Prokunino, Evseevo). The competition became even fiercer after 1822 since members of the first group (leaded by the D.I. Shirokov) were Popovtsy Old Believers, inclined to enter edinoverie (One Religious Belief), whereas the second group (leaded by Y. I. Labzin) were Bezpopovtsy Old Believers. In 1840 Y. I. Labzin and his relative V.I. Gryaznov entered official Orthodoxy and so became much more desirable for the state power, so the second group of businessmen won out over their competitors as a result. The factory of Y. I. Labzin and V.I. Gryaznov became the biggest shawl-producing factory in Russia; it is that factory that survived even after the Soviet era.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a lot of beautiful churches and one monastery were built in Pavlovsky Posad.

For his missionary work among the old believers V.I. Gryaznov was recognized as a local saint in 1999.

The textile industry is still the most prominent in modern Pavlovsky Posad. During the 1990s the major part of textile factories were transformed into public corporations, than considered to be bankrupt, and then bought for an understated price by local businessmen. The free float index for these factories is currently extremely low (about 90-95% shares of each factory are owned by one person).

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and to our time, the textile industry is in a very bad state in Russia, since the competition with Asian countries was too sudden and too strong for them to survive. However, some of the factories survived by finding their narrow product niches. The most famous factory of Pavlovsky Posad - the 'Pavlova Manufactura' is still producing traditional Russian kerchiefs and shawls; and since it's the only shawl mass-producing factory in modern Russia, its financial state seem to be rather good. Some other factories survived by concentrating on fire-equipment (such as fire-hoses), whereas some other are producing vestments for Orthodox priests.

Pokrovsko-Vasilyevsky monastery (Protection-Basil monastery) was established near the cemetery at the beginning of 20th century. In the monastery there's a cathedral that actually incorporates two independent churches: the upper church of Pokrov and the lower of St. Vasily Ispovednik (St. Basil the Confessor, who was Vasily Gryaznov's saint patron). A cathedral also has a bell-tower. Both the cathedral and the bell-tower are built in the so-called pseudo-Russian style. There's also a little church of St Andrey Rublev at the monastery gates.

For centuries the spiritual center of Vokhna, and later of Pavlovsky Posad, was the 'Voskresensky Sobor' (the Resurrection Cathedral), located on the left bank of the Vokhonka River. During the Soviet era the main body of the cathedral was demolished, and only a great bell tower and one side-altar preserved.

There are also three more Orthodox churches and one Old Believers Orthodox church, some interesting 19-century factory buildings, a local museum, a museum of Russian shawls and kerchiefs, an exhibition centre.

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