The Golden Ring of Russia town, Suzdal, is just 15 square kilometers in size but boasts an incredible amount of well preserved monasteries and churches. One of the largest and best preserved in Suzdal is the Monastery of Saint Euthymius (it’s also amongst the five largest in all of Russia!). The white stone walls have a slight pink color and 12 unique defense towers surround the green and gold seven-onion-dome topped Cathedral of the Transfiguration, amongst other buildings.
The monastery was founded by Prince Boris Konstantinovichin in 1352 and it was the monk Euthymius of Suzdal that laid the foundation stone of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration. In addition to the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, cells, other buildings and an expansive wooden refectory with a Church of St. Nicholas were also constructed.
The interior of the cathedrals we saw all throughout our trip to Russia were nothing short of impressive. The cupolas soared high above our heads and every inch of the walls, columns, and cupolas were covered in bright frescoes. Daria, our G Adventures guide, told us that the frescoes helped the illiterate to understand the life of Jesus.
The interior of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration contains restored frescoes by the school of Gury Nikitin of Kostroma, dating from 1689. Many of the cathedrals did not allow photographs inside, but the Cathedral of the Transfiguration did. The only stipulation was that we could not photograph or video the concert put on for us by some priests of the local choir of the Monastery of Saint Euthymius. I accidentally captured them just as they started their concert.
The beautiful songs we didn’t quite understand were followed by the peals of the 18 bells in the 17th century bell tower standing before the cathedral. Every hour the bell ringer ceremoniously climbs the bell tower and puts on a short concert. He looked like a puppet with his strings being pulled as he used both arms and legs to set the bells clanging in rhythmic cacophony.
We visited a lot of churches and monasteries on our G Adventures trip to Russia and while the features of many have already become blended together in my mind, the Monastery of Saint Euthymius stands out because of the beautiful music we got to experience. I hope you’ll take a minute to listen to the choir of the bells in our video.
Know Before You Go
- The Monastery of Saint Euthymius is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 6pm and all-inclusive tickets are 400 rubles (about $12).
- The bell concert is hourly from 11am – 5pm.
- There are no trains that run to Suzdal, so options for visiting are on an organized tour like G Adventures Golden Ring of Russia or a day tour from Moscow.
- You can also visit independently by taking the train from Moscow to Vladimir. Buses run every 30 minutes from Vladimir to Suzdal and the Vladimir Bus Terminal is about 50 meters from the train station. Tickets cost 260 rubles each way for the train and 60 rubles each way for the bus.
Our trip to Russia was sponsored in part by G Adventures. As always, all opinions about the destinations visited on this trip are entirely our own.