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Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy (Дмитриевский собор) (Vladimir)

Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy was constructed in 1194- 97 by a Russian duke Vsevolod III the Big Nest. He dedicated his church to a famous Christian martyr from the earlier centuries of pagan Roman prosecutions Dmitry of Thessalonica (city in Greece).

 

 

Constructed: 1194- 97

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Description of Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy of Vladimir

Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy is of modest size since it was intended only for the royal family, but its elegant and simple architecture makes it one of the most significant medieval Russian churches. At the time of its construction it was part of the massive royal palace complex. Most of original buildings were torn down due to old age, while the church was preserved.

 

Construction of Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy involved Vladimir artisans and workers as well as invited as artists from the Balkans. Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs and Dalmatians (modern day Croatia) aided in stone carvings on the walls of the church. It gave the buildings its distinct Byzantine style as the Balkans were part of the empire at the time. In the time of the low literacy, carvings and visual representation was an effective way to tell the story told by the Bible. Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy is so rich in this artistic detail it is sometimes referred as a "stone poem" or a "precious casket".

 

Take a note of the Southern facade of Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy. It is covered by carvings depicting the Ascension of Alexander the Great to the heaven. In the depiction he holds lion cubs symbolizing his might and bravery. Never mind that Alexander died three centuries before Jesus Christ was even born, it is certainly a very unusual for a Christian church to depict a pagan ruler. Apparently Byzantine workers felt it would be necessary to depict their national hero to the barbarian Slavic tribes.

 

Alexander the Great (left) and King David surrounded by animals, birds and mysterious creatures (right)

 

The inside of Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy is covered by frescoes. The most interesting is that of the Last Judgment. It was painted by two Greek artists in a very realistic and colorful manner. Much of the damage to its colors were made by subsequent "renovations" that did more damage than helped to preserve it.

 

Survival of Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy is nothing shirt of miraculous. It saw invasion and looting of the Tatars in 1237 as well as subsequent invasions, civil wars and conflicts. Residents of Vladimir often tried to seek refuge within its walls, but the doors were knocked down and parishioners were massacred. Surprisingly medieval walls survived these attacks. Only in 1837- 39 Cathedral of Saint Dmitriy saw any renovations projects by the order of the Russian Emperor Nicholas I. However it accomplished very little in the securing foundation. Instead many of the original medieval carvings were damaged or knocked down.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Transportation

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

 

Interesting information and useful tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

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