Sergiev Posad


Sergiev Posad is a city and the administrative center of Sergievo-Posadsky District of Moscow Oblast, Russia. It grew up in the 15th century around one of the greatest of Russian monasteries, the Troitse-Sergieva (Trinity) Lavra established by St. Sergius of Radonezh. Sergiev Posad does not rank among the oldest Russian towns of the Golden Ring, but it occupies a prominent place in Russian history and culture. The town’s name in Russian means Sergius’s Settlement, which is associated with Russia’s most brilliant spiritual leader St. Sergius of Radonezh, who was the saint of the Russian Orthodox Church. The town became incorporated in 1742.

As the town's name, alluding to St. Sergius, had strong religious connotations, the Soviet authorities changed first to just Sergiyev in 1919, and then to Zagorsk in 1930, in memory of the revolutionary Vladimir Zagorsky. The original name came back into official use in 1991. According to the 2002 Census, the town had population of 113,581. The settlement attracted all sorts of people all over the country especially craftsmen, who laid the beginning of some artistic handicrafts that the town is famous for to this day.

Tourism associated with the Golden Ring plays a role in the regional economy. There is also an important production of wooden toys. Sergiev Posad also has beautiful museums such as the History Museum and Toy Museum.

In 1947, the Soviet Union established its first factory to weaponize smallpox at the edge of Sergiev Posad.

State Historical and Art Museum-Reserve of Sergiev Posad was established in 1920 by the decree of the People's Commissars. All valuable artworks and edifices of the monastery became the museum's property. Mostly, the museum fund contains valuable religious and historical attributes that were discovered in the Monastery.

Toy Museum was established in Moscow in 1918 by the artist N.D.Bartman. In 1921 it was transferred to Sergiev Posad. B. Shergin called Sergiev-Posad the capital of the toy kingdom. He wrote, "According to popular legends the first wooden toy was contrived by St. Sergius. He would carve birds and horses of lime-wood and give them away to the local peasant children.

The museum has over 30,000 exhibits among which are the toys found in archeological excavations, toy collections from abroad, popular Russian toys made of wood, clay and papier-mache' and toys of the Soviet period.

In the late 19th century a mass production of toys shaped on a lathe was launched in Sergiev Posad. The museum has an extensive variety of wooden toys delivered from the neighboring villages. Clay toys are represented by remarkably warm and bright figurines from the Dymkovskaya settlement.

Sergiev Posad was the place of birth of one of the most famous icon “The Holy Trinity” painted by the XV century artist Andrey Rublev. The icon features three Angels, who according to the story of the Old Testament, visited the elder couple Abraham and Sarah with the good news that soon they about to have a son who they should name Isaac.

This very idea of the triple entity of God was chosen by St. Sergius of Radonezh for the spiritual unity of the Russian people. The mounting of the icon has changed many times during the past centuries, but only a few decades ago the decision was made to restore the icon. The famous artist who was hired to do the job later remembered, "When the gold mounting was taken off the icon," he writes, "how surprised we were! Instead of the original ancient icon we saw an icon panted in a novel style of the 19th century Palekh manner. The background and margins were brown, the gold inscription were new. All angels' clothing was repainted in purplish tint and washed by gold instead of whiting. The table, the mounting, and the chambers were repainted... There were only the faces by which one could judge that the icon was ancient, but they were shaded by an oil-paint. "

The restorer returned the "Trinity" back to its initial look by taking off the over-layers. The news that the authentic Rublev was uncovered made a sensation. Pilgrims started to come in crowds to revere it. But the priest of the Lavra covered the icon by the blind mounting. In 1928 the decision was made to move the precious icon to the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow for both public view and safety. Today the "Trinity" by the monk Andrei of Radonezh nicknamed Rublev, canonized on the threshold of the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity in Russia, is a world-famous masterpiece. For Russian people it is a pure expression of their souls.

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