Friday, August 23, 2013

Russia part 10 - Suzdal Kremlin

Suzdal Kremlin - the oldest part of town, the heart of Suzdal, archaeologically exists with the X century, and on record/ chronicle- 1024 
Located in the bend of the river Kamenka, in the southern part of town.
July 2012

Entering the town on the Vladimir road we immediately meet the pair of the Virgin Blacherniotissa and the Deposition of the Robe. Walking towards the centre by the Trading Rows are the churches of the Resurrection and the Virgin of Kazan, a little further on, SS Lazarus and Antlpas, on the other side of the road, the Emperor Constantine and the Virgin of Compassion, and further on still St Nicholas and the Virgin of Smolensk.

Following the River Kamenka upstream we see the following pairs: the Archangel Michael and SS Plorus and Laurus, the Epiphany and the Nativity of St John the Baptist, and SS Cosmas and Damian and the Virgin of Bogoliubovo. The "pair consisting of Saints Peter and Paul and St Nicho­las stands by the walls of the Convent of the Intercession.

Let us now return to the town Kremlin. On the right we have the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin (thirteenth — sixteenth centuries), and on the left a seventeenth-century bell-tower. The latter has a tent-shaped spire. At the end of the seventeenth century it was given a chim­ing clock. The column of the bell-tower is powerful and seems to be supported by the west and north galleries which lead to the small private Church "under the bell". The austere ornament Increases its significance and creates a harmonic whole with the cathedral. This compositional unity is further enhanced by the highly decorated porch of the gallery, which is in line with the south portal of the cathedral.

The gallery becomes a passage way linking the bell-tower with the Archbishop's Palace. This civic stone building begun in the fifteenth century was incorporated into the large complex built by Metropolitan Hilarion at the end of the seven­teenth century. Facing the cathedral square, the Archbishop's Palace had a main entrance in line with the west portal of the cathedral. This entrance was emphasized by a sharply-pointed tent spire covered with greenish-turquoise tiles. The broad windows are seventeenth-century in style and have carved surrounds. A wide ceremonial staircase leads up to the vast reception hall without pillars.

The wooden Church of St Nicholas stands in the Kremlin grounds behind the Archbishop's Palace. It was transferred here in 1960 from the village of Glotovo in the Yuriev-Polskoy district of Vladimir Region. This church, built in 1766, is a specimen of the so-called klet type. It consists basically of a rectangular log frame, or klet. Because of its exquisite pro­portions this small, simple church looks very graceful and impressive. Although they were more widespread In North Russia, wooden klet churches were also built in the central belt. The influence of their forms can be traced in Suzdalian stone architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, mainly in the winter churches, and also in the early eighteenth-century stone town house.

On the other side of the Kamenka stands the wooden Church of the Transfiguration (1756), transferred from the village of Kozlyatievo in Kolchuginsky district, a rare specimen of church architecture, with the so-called "barrel" roofs. The development of these forms goes back into the dim and distant past and is more typical of the northern parts of Russia.

Most probably this is a reproduction in wood of the stone barrel vaults with their pointed terminations, and the tiered roof of progressively diminishing octagons seems to echo the tent-roofed churches, the building of which was forbidden from the middle of the seventeenth century onwards by the Church authorities because it did not conform to church canons.

The Church of  the Transfiguration   blends well   into Suzdal's  architectural ensemble. The aesthetic, artistic and national importance of these beautiful monu­ments of the Vladimir lands is so great that as early as the fifteenth cen­tury Moscow architects turned to this school of early Russian architecture, making creative use of its heritage. For the Moscow principality this was the period when the unification of all the Russian lands into a single national state was nearly complete. The Moscow princes fought, like the Vladimir princes, for undivided princely authority. On the advice of Ivan III, the architects building the Cathedral of the Dormition in the very heart of Moscow, the Kremlin, went to Vladimir to make a careful study of its "white-stone" architecture, its magnificent, monumental buildings. From then onwards Moscow became the head of a single artistic trend, neutral­izing the influence of local schools and exerting its own artistic influence on them.

K. Polunina “Architectural Monuments of Vladimir, Suzdal and Yuriev-Polskoy”

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