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Places to visit near Moscow: Sergiev Posad

a castle on top of a building

 

Do you want to explore places around Moscow, a curious stranger? Don’t miss an opportunity!

Even when your flight is tomorrow, you have a chance to see sights around Moscow. For example, you might be attracted by the idea to visit the Golden Ring of Russia. It is a brand name that unites small Russian towns, each at a distance of 50-300 km from Moscow.  Sergiev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Suzdal, and Vladimir are all in the list of the Golden Ring of Russia. 

Let us start with Sergiev Posad. It’s a famous Golden Ring town that is loved by Russian and international tourists for its religious importance. Sergiev Posad is home to one of the oldest Orthodox Monastery in Russia and the meaning of this place is comparable to the meaning of Vatican to a Catholic church. 

This unique Russian town is not further than 60 kilometers from the capital but life is much simpler and quite quiet there. 

How to get to Sergiev Posad? 

There are three main options to get to Sergiev Posad from Moscow. They are by train, by bus, and by car. The car is pretty obvious; everything you need is a driver’s license and a navigator. So we’ll tell you about the other options. 

By Express train you can reach Sergiev Posad within 1 hour 10 mins. The price of a one-way ticket as of April 2021 is 416 Rub. The convenient Express trains leave at 09:20 am and 12:57 pm from Yaroslavsky train station.

By a regular train, you will reach the town within 1 hour 30 mins. It’s very affordable. The price of a one-way ticket is 192 Rub. These trains ride every 30 mins from the Yaroslavsky train station. You can check the schedule at Yandex. Raspisaniye.

You can also take a bus N.388 going from the “VDNKh” bus station. You will be on the road for about 1-2 hours, depending on traffic. 

After you arrive at the local train or bus station, you will recognize the domes of the churches within a walking distance. Follow that direction. On your way, you can mount the observation platform on the Blinnaya Gora ( Pancake Mountain) and admire a wonderful view of the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra.

What to see in Sergiev Posad?

a person sitting on a table

Sergiev Posad is famous for its pearl – The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius.  It’s an Orthodox monastery, found in the 14th century by Sergii Radonezhskiy. The Lavra is huge, it’s a complex that consists of more than 50 buildings. Not only it’s big, but it’s also incredibly beautiful. Even if you’re not religious and don’t usually go to churches, you will be astonished at the splendid interiors of cathedrals.

No wonder the Architecture Ensemble of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra Monastery is included in the UNESCO list. 

The largest cathedral in the complex is Cathedral of the Assumption. Of course, when you see an old enormous cathedral, you can guess right that once it was endorsed by an important person. That was the case with the Cathedral of the Assumption as well. It was built in the 16th century by a Russian tsar with a bad temper but great commander skills- Ivan the Terrible.  Four blue domes studded with little golden stars are seen from any corner of the city. 

If you hear the ringing of a bell in the bell tower, know that you’re listening to the heaviest bell in the world that is now in use! It weighs more than 70 tons!

To add here, the monastery itself is also functioning. It’s a men’s monastery that is known to educate monks to take up high posts in the Russian Orthodox Church. The monks traditionally have a very structured lifestyle. If you spend several hours inside the Lavra observing its customs, you will see that every person is busy and has a duty. 

What might be a subject of interest is the local bread. The Monastery started local production of bread, buns, and kvas. They are really delicious because the monks don’t use artificial ingredients. Our advice is after you take a look at the sacred buildings in the Lavra to taste local bread. You will find them at a shop near the entrance gates.

a large blue clock tower

Essential tips and tricks:

Visiting hours: Better visit at lunchtime when there are less organized groups of tourists.

Price: The entrance to the monastery is free for everyone, there are group excursions that cost money. Please book in advance.

With freshly baked loaf and monastery gingerbread, you can take a walk around Lavra and enjoy the view of Kelarskiy Pond and Monument to Prince Peter and Princess Fevronia crowning the pond. It’s just ten minutes away from the Monastery walls, to the right when you leave the territory of Lavra.

If you want to know more about Russian traditions, Sergiev Posad has a nice museum for you. The Museum complex “Konnyi Dvor” ( in English “A Horse Yard”) tells visitors about the intricate history of the town and Trinity-Sergius Lavra, it also shows how a typical Russian village looked like a century ago. Finally, two other permanent exhibitions demonstrate Russian wedding dresses from earlier times, and matryoshka dolls – of any design possible. No tourist can leave Russia without a matryoshka symbol. The Russian doll from Sergiev Posad will be a nice present for your friends and colleagues. 

The museum address is Prospekt Krasnoy Armii, 144. It’s closed on Mondays. 

The fee for the entry ticket varies from 100 to 400 RUB per person.

Where to eat in Sergiev Posad? 

ExploRussia team tirelessly tried food from every café that we saw in streets next to the Monastery Complex, and here is our top three places: 

1. Kukhmisterskaya (Karl Marx Str. 7) – it’s a café and a museum in one building. 

The museum is rather unusual and will be interesting for those who like food. It shows how Russian cook-shops were equipped at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. There is also a chance to listen to an excursion about a caramel industry and prepare sweetmeats with your hands.

The café has a well-thought menu with fish, meat, and pelmeni as the main dish. Everything is home-made and is served in a Russian estate style. The desserts are the most extraordinary part of the menu because you won’t find them easily anywhere else- a cheese pudding, Guriev porridge cooked with a traditional recipe, baba with buttercream. Honestly, it’s a strong motivation to come back to Sergiev Posad. 

a plate of food on a table

2. Trapeznaya Palata(Prospekt Krasnoy Armii, 133) – compared to Moscow, the meals are cheap and still tasty. The décor is incredible: the hall will remind you of an old tsar chamber. The walls are covered with icons, in the background, you will hear the finest pieces of church music. The restaurant offers a menu that is suitable for vegetarians. The dishes are mostly of Russian cuisine. 

 

3. Café “Landau”  (Karl Marx Str. 7) it’s named after a world-famous physicist Leo Landau and the décor constantly reminds you about it. The place is decorated with plaster molds of heads, test tubes, models of Soviet phones and various aircraft models. This café is a modern gastro bar and offers popular food, like pasta and chicken nuggets, but also nano- pancakes, shakshuka, and mussels with grilled toasts. They also have a variety of soups and salads. Our favorite meals are mushroom cream-soup and Spaghetti Pesto with prawns.

a bowl of food on a table

We hope you have a nice day in Sergiev Posad that opens for you another page of Russian history and culture!

On your way back from Sergiev Posad to Moscow, we recommend you take a train, and not a bus because in the evening there is a high chance to be caught in a traffic jam. 

If after reading the article you feel you’re not ready yet for traveling alone in Russia, you can always join our private tours. It will be customized for you, including the route and restaurant stops. The guide will meet you at the hotel in Moscow or at the train station, as agreed, and will be entertaining you with stories about Sergiev Posad all day long. A guide will be the right option if you’ve already got lost in a foreign country and are afraid that it might happen again. We should assure you that nothing bad happens to you if you’re lost in a city with Lavra, but sometimes you might want to trust the travel arrangements to someone else and spend a day at ease, right?

For more interesting posts about Moscow and Russia, visit our blog!

written by Natasha Motorina

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