Bogolyubovo is located 10 km (6 mi) Northeast of Vladimir in Vladimir Oblast
in Russia. Its name means "God- loving" in Russian. It was found in the 12th
century by Russian Prince Andrew Bogolyubsky on the hilly ridge along the
old riverbed of Klyazma river. Bogolyubovo was designed as a royal suburb of
Vladimir. Some of the best known religious complexes are found here
including a Bogolyubovo Monastery and a Church of the
Intercession on the Nerli. After Russian Revolution in 1917 many of
the monasteries and churches were closed, others destroyed. Only after
collapse of Soviet Union, the revival of Orthodox structure gained any money
from a government. Reconstruction makes up for decades of neglect.
Geography Bogolyubovo sits on the high bank of river Nerl,
several kilometers away from its confluence with the Klyazma. The
Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod railway line passes at the foot of the
hill, south from the village. Behind the railway line, there is a
water-meadow with the church of the Intercession on the Nerl. The
old road from Moscow to Nizhniy Novgorod goes through the village,
parallel to the railway. Within Bogolyubovo, this road is called
улица Ленина (ulitsa Lenina).
Bogolyubovo was found between 1158 and 1165 as an
official residence of medieval prince Andrei Bogolyubsky ("beloved
by God" in Russian). The place was found on a picturesque confluence
of Nerl River and Klyazma River. Local legend claim that Andrey
Bogolyubsky found Bogolyubovo on a site where he had a spiritual
vision in his sleep of Virgin Mary Theotokos ("God bearing" in
Greek). She ordered him to construct a church and a convent. Prince
Andrei spent living 17 years in Bogolyubovo until he was
assassinated in 1174.
Shortly thereafter Bogolyubovo was besieged and
captured by troops of Prince Gleb of Ryazan in 1177. In February
1238 during Mongol invasion the city was captured again by Mongol
troops. They destroyed its military fortifications. Today only
remains of earth mounds and ruins of white stone walls and towers
remain. From that point on Bogolyubovo lost its political and
military role in medieval Russia. Instead it became the center of
religious and spiritual life. City monasteries grew in size and
splendour. After Russian Revolution of 1917 atheist fanatics closed
all monasteries and most of the churches. Only in 1992 all temples
were re- opened and returned to Russian Orthodox Church.
Travel Destinations in Bogolyubovo
Bogolyubovo has few sights, but most of them are essential and
included in the UNESCO World Heritage List
Church of the Intercession on the Nerl. This is probably the most
harmonious and complete church in Russian architecture. Both the
shape, the exterior decoration, and the location are perfect. The
church stands in the field, on a small hill near the Nerl river,
close to its confluence with the Klyazma. One has to approach the
church by foot that makes the journey something like a pilgrimage.
The way is very picturesque, since you can see the church in front
of you and the Bogolyubovo convent behind you. In the spring, high
water cuts the church off and provides a breathtaking view. To get
to the church, cross the railway tracks near the Bogolyubovo train
station and head south. You will find a unique, stone-paved road
through the meadow, and you will likely see the church as soon as
you pass through a narrow line of trees between the railway and the
meadow. It takes about 15 minutes to walk (driving to the church is
impossible). In the daytime, one can enter the church, but the
interior is quite average and inferior to the exterior.
Bogolyubovo convent: the convent is located in the Bogolybovo
village, right on the main road. Although the convent was founded in
13th century, most of its buildings are more recent. The major
reconstruction took place in 19th century and provided the present
baroque–to–russian-revival style of the site. The only significant
monument is the remaining part of the Prince's palace of Andrey
Bogolyubsky – the so-called Staircase Tower (Лестничная башня) and
the adjoining gallery from 12th century, both are now incorporated
into the Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin (built in 18th
century). You will easily recognize the old fragments due to their
unusual appearance that strongly contrasts to the other buildings.
These fragments are believed to trace back to 12th century and are
considered as the only monument of ancient secular (and civilian)
architecture in Russia. The decoration of the walls is relief and
rather resembles that of St. Demetrius Cathedral in Vladimir. The
church houses a small museum that shows archeological findings and a
reconstruction of the ancient town of Bogolyubovo. Apart from the
ancient fragments, you will find a number of more recent and bright
buildings, including the Cathedral of the Bogolyubovo icon of Our
Lady (1855–65, russian-revival style, the most impressive and
visible building of the convent) and the Church of the Assumption of
Our Lady (over the gate, built in 1841).
Church of St. Jehoiakim and St. Anna (ул. Ленина, 48) – a
regular church built in the middle of 19th cenutry in
classicism style. During the Soviet period, the church was
partly ruined, but now it is renovated.
Get in The way to Bogolyubovo normally starts from Vladimir.
Then you have several options:
By train Local trains in
the direction of Nizhny Novgorod (towards Kovrov, Vyazniki, or
Gorokhovets). The trains run 8 times per day, and the schedule is
rather inconvenient (there is a gap between 08:30 and 15:30).
Generally, it is advisable to take a bus.
Bogolyubovo is connected with Vladimir by bus routes 3c, 18c, 53,
102 and 152, served by BigAvtoTrans. In
Vladimir, you can find these buses on any bus stop in the historical
center, e.g., near the Golden Gate or on the Cathedral square: just
ask for the buses serving Bogolyubovo. Take off the bus as soon as
you see a huge convent on your right-hand side. The road to the
right, after the convent, goes down to the railway station.
By car From Vladimir, head east towards Nizhny Novgorod.
Bogolyubovo should be the first settlement on your way (before the
old road joins the M7 highway). In Bogolyubovo, the parking space is
rather limited. You can leave the car near the convent (for free) or
turn right after the convent and use the toll parking near the
There are no commercial accommodations. However, it is usually
possible to spend the night in the convent. You will not have to
pay, but you will have to work for the convent instead (note that
this option is relevant for Russian-speaking travellers only, others
are unlikely to get to the convent at all). Most travellers stay in
Vladimir that is only half an hour away and offers numerous hotels
of different comfort and price.
Buy There are grocery stores along Lenina
street (ulitsa Lenina) where you can buy food and a minimum of
household goods. For better choice, you have to go to Vladimir.
During the summer, souvenirs are sold along the road to the Church
of the Intercession.
Stay safe Despite its great history
and tourist importance, Bogolyubovo is a rather unpleasant place
with respect to the safety. In general, it is not recommended to
stay there during the night (in fact, there is nothing to do in the
evening anyway). In the daytime, Bogolybovo is visited by numerous
tourist groups and should be quite safe. The only problem may come
from the beggars who are very annoying and sometimes even
aggressive. If you do not plan to support these people, do not
hesitate to send them off.