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Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad

Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad

This is a fine example of a working Orthodox monastery, with military features that are typical of the 15th to the 18th century, the period during which it developed. The main church of the Lavra, the Cathedral of the Assumption (echoing the Kremlin Cathedral of the same name), contains the tomb of Boris Godunov. Among the treasures of the Lavra is the famous icon, The Trinity , by Andrei Rublev.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Ensemble architectural de la laure de la Trinité-Saint-Serge à Serguiev Posad

Ce site est un exemple exceptionnel d'un ensemble monastique orthodoxe complet en activité, avec une fonction militaire caractéristique de sa période de développement du XVe au XVIIIe siècle. La principale église de la laure, la cathédrale de l'Assomption, qui rappelle la cathédrale du même nom au Kremlin, contient la tombe de Boris Godounov. Parmi les trésors de la laure figure la célèbre icône de la Trinité d'Andreï Roublev.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

المجموعة الهندسيّة لدير الثالوث الأقدس – القديس سيرج في سيرغيف بوزاد

يُشكّل هذا الموقع مثلاً استثنائياً على مجموعة أديرة أرثوذكسيّة كاملة لا تزال ناشطةً وقد أدّت في حقبة تطوّرها بين القرنين الخامس والثامن عشر وظيفةً عسكريّة. وأول كنائس الدير الشرقي هي كاتدرائية الصعود التي تذكّر بكاتدرائيّة الكرملين التي تحمل الاسم نفسه والتي تضمّ مقبرة بوريس غودونوف. ومن بين كنوز هذا الدير أيقونة الثالوث الأقدس الشهيرة لأندري روبليف.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0



source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Архитектурный ансамбль Троице-Сергиевой лавры в городе Сергиев Посад

Это яркий пример действующего православного монастыря, обладающего чертами крепости, что вполне соответствовало духу времени его формирования – XV-XVIII вв. В главном храме лавры – Успенском соборе, созданном по образу и подобию одноименного собора Московского Кремля, - находится гробница Бориса Годунова. Среди сокровищ лавры знаменитая икона «Троица» работы Андрея Рублева.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Conjunto arquitectónico de la laura de la Trinidad y San Sergio en Sergiev Posad

La laura es un ejemplo excepcional de monasterio ortodoxo, aún en actividad, dotado con estructuras defensivas características del periodo en que se desarrolló (siglos XV al XVIII). En la iglesia principal, la catedral de la Asunción (que evoca la catedral del mismo nombre edificada en el Kremlin), se halla la sepultura de Boris Godunov. Entre los múltiples tesoros de la laura destaca “La Trinidad”, el famoso icono de Andrei Rublev.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


source: NFUAJ

Architectonisch ensemble van Troitse-Sergieva Lavra in Sergiev Posad

Dit architectonische ensemble is een fraai voorbeeld van een functionerend orthodox klooster met militaire functies kenmerkend voor de 15e tot de 18e eeuw, de periode waarin het klooster zich ontwikkelde. De belangrijkste kerk van het Lavra is de Kathedraal van de Maria-Tenhemelopneming (in navolging van de Kremlin kathedraal in Moskou) die het graf van Boris Godoenov bevat. De kathedraal heeft een vergulde koepel, uitgevoerd in opdracht van Ivan de Verschrikkelijke in 1556 om de inbeslagneming van Kazan te vieren. Het interieur is licht en ruim, de muren zijn versierd met fresco’s van Chernyi en Rublev.

Source: unesco.nl

the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad © Sacred sites
Outstanding Universal Value
Brief synthesis

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. Being situated in the town of Sergiev Posad about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow, it is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The property is a serial one, including buildings outside the main monastic compound.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, “the pearl” of the Russian church architecture, was founded in the first half of the 14th century (1337) by the monk Sergius of Radonezh, a great abbot of Russia and one of the most venerated orthodox saints. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

The Parish churches situated within the territory of Sergiev Posad, which were originally wooden and later rebuilt in stone, formed a ring of domes echoing those of Lavra. Being smaller and located apart from other buildings, they only emphasize more the supremacy of the Lavra.

Thus, the Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra includes both buildings and constructions inside the wall and a complex of buildings near the monastery. It represents the key element of town-planning of Sergiev Posad.

Criterion (ii): The Trinity Sergius Lavra Monastery complex represents the fusion of traditional Russian architecture with that of Western Europe, creating an Eastern European tradition with a strong influence on architectural developments in a large area of Eastern Europe.

Criterion (iv): The Lavra is an outstanding and remarkably complete example of an active Orthodox monastery complex with a military function that is characteristic of the period of its growth and expansion from the 15th to the 18th century.


The Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra possesses all the components representing its Outstanding Universal Value. Particularly, the historical boundaries of the property have been well preserved, as well as the architecture of the historic buildings. The conservation of the ensemble has been maintained through the creation of a State museum reserve from the beginning of the 20th century.

Along with the approval of the boundaries of the buffer zone, the integrity of the ensemble is provided by legally warranted and registered boundaries of the land occupied by the buildings and architectural structures of the ensemble.

Among the factors that have a negative impact on the property are the construction of monuments and other forms of development pressure within the buffer zone, which impacts adversely on the Lavra’s historic appearance, and the increasing number of tourist and pilgrim groups.


Since its foundation, the complex history of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra Monastery has resulted in many changes and rebuildings over the centuries, resulting from war, fire and imperial support and sponsorship. No single building can therefore be considered to be in its original state. However, the importance of the monastery as a symbol of Russian spiritual cultural identity has ensured that much time and resources have been spent in its conservation and restoration. As an ensemble that has evolved over time, therefore, it has an authenticity of its own.

The restoration work of the 1920s was aimed to achieve a certain “unity of style”, returning buildings to their appearance in the 18th century and earlier. This is a different approach from contemporary conservation practices.  However, it must be seen in the historical context of alterations and additions made in the 19th century and in the cultural context of efforts to strengthen the site’s symbolic importance for the Russian people.

Restoration work from the 1960s onwards, led by the architect Baldin, has conformed in general to the Venice Charter.  This included the revealing and restoring of hidden and underlying elements (particularly original vaulted forms), which strengthened the coherence of the buildings’ architectural expression. Also, later additions that retain a particular significance were preserved. The restoration and conservation activities, together with the monitoring performed by specialists, ensure the continued preservation of the authenticity of the ensemble.

Protection and management requirements

The Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra is a Cultural Heritage Site of federal importance and it is regulated according to Federal Law of 25.06.2002 № 73-FZ “On cultural heritage sites (historical and cultural monuments) of nations of the Russian Federation”.  Its state protection and management is implemented by the federal executive body - the Department for Control, Supervision and Licensing in the Cultural Heritage Sphere of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, which has in its charge all methodological and control functions concerning restoration, usage and support of cultural heritage sites and the territories connected with them. The status of Cultural Heritage Site of federal importance allows a high level of legal protection.

At a regional level the conservation and management of the property is performed by the Moscow Region Government, the Culture Ministry of Moscow region. The municipal regulatory body is represented by the Sergiev Posad City Government. The above authorities, in cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church and all the stakeholders, carry out activities of conservation and development of the Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in conformity with norms and regulations.

Based on the foregoing and in order to ensure the integrity of the ensemble, a management system in a broad context needs to be applied taking into consideration the interaction between physical forms, spatial organization and communication, sociocultural values and other characteristics of the area.