Saint George Cathedral

Yuryev-Polsky, Russia

Saint George Cathedral in Yuryev-Polsky is one of a dozen surviving white-stone churches which were built in Vladimir-Suzdal Principality in the northeastern Rus prior to the Mongol invasion. Constructed between 1230 and 1234, the cathedral was also the last of these churches to be built, completed just three years before the invasion. Unlike most of the other pre-Mongol Vladimir-Suzdal churches, the St. George Cathedral was not designated as the World Heritage site.

In 12th century, the political and cultural center of Rus slowly moved from Kiev to Vladimir. Yuryev-Polsky was founded by Yuri Dolgorukiy, prince of Rostov and Suzdal, in 1152. The name of the town derives from St. George (Russian Yuri is one of the versions of the name George). Yury Dolgorukiy also built the cathedral consecrated to St. George, which stood inside the fortress. It is presumed that the cathedral was similar to the Saint Saviour Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky and to the Saint Boris and Saint Gleb Church in Kideksha, which survived to our days. Yuri's son, Andrey Bogolyubsky, moved the capital of the principality to Vladimir, and Yuryev-Polsky remained under the control of Vladimir princes until 1212.

In 1212, Yuryev-Polsky became a center of a separate principality and given to Sviatoslav, a son of Vsevolod the Big Nest. By 1230, the old cathedral was considered to be irreparable, and Prince Sviatoslav personally supervised the construction of the new Saint George Cathedral, which was completed in four years. The new cathedral was considered to be a masterpiece, and used as an example by the builders of the Assumption Cathedral, the first stone building in Moscow, in 1326. The exterior of the cathedral was covered by stone carvings. In 1252, Sviatoslav was buried in the cathedral.

In 1460s, the cathedral collapsed, which at the time was considered a national disaster. Vasili Yermolin was sent to Yuryev-Polsky to repair the building. He claimed to restore the cathedral in the original form, however, it became apparent later, that the new shape was far from the original, and some of the carvings lost their meaning. In 17th century, a tent-roof bell-tower was erected next to the cathedral, and in the beginning of 19th century, two new parts were appended to the building. In 20th century, all of them were demolished, and the cathedral stands now in the middle of a meadow, so that there are panoramic views from all sides. In Soviet times, it was turned into a museum.

The cathedral is and was originally built asymmetrically. Its main volume is a square supported by four columns in the middle. The columns are square in cross-section. The eastern side is an apse.

During the collapse in 15th century the northern wall survived the best. All other walls were partially destroyed (the southern wall suffered the most of all), and, in particular, much of the stone carving from the exterior of the cathedral was torn in pieces. Although at the time the exterior stone carving were considered to be out-of-fashion, Yermolin during the restoration works made attempts to put the stories together. In particular, he was able to put together two stones with the Holy Trinity image in the south portal. However, since there were panoramic images of the whole surface of the cathedral prior to the collapse, and many of the carved stones were destroyed, Yermolin was not able to identified all the stories, and put many stones in random order. Some of the stories were actually used for construction, and their carvings were buried inside the walls; other stones landed in neighboring farms. Some of the latter were later recovered by Pyotr Baranovsky during the Soviet times renovation. Currently, most of the original carvings have been reconstructed on paper.

The stone carvings of the St. George Cathedral combine human and animal forms, performed as reliefs, with floral ornamental motives, carried out in the fine carving techniques. This combination has been known in frescoes of Saint Boris and Saint Gleb Church in Kideksha and of the Nativity Cathedral in Suzdal, however, for the sculpture, the combination is unique for Rus. It is thought that the stone carvings were done by two groups of artists. One, consisting of 12 artists, was doing the reliefs, whereas another group of 18-24 was working on the floral ornaments.

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Details

Founded: 1230-1234
Category: Religious sites in Russia

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en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Дачник из Шушмора (2 years ago)
Красивейшая местность. Очень красиво выполнены изразцы и лепнина на этом храме. Вокруг все ухожено. Гуляя по улочкам Юрьев Польского создаётся впечатление, что вернулся лет на 30 назад, во времена СССР. Нет вычурности, настоящий провинциальный городок со своей самобытностью. Небольшую суету создают только туристы, приехавшие посмотреть на старинные храмы.
Сергей (2 years ago)
Мне понравилось, рекомендую. Пусть простенько и не поражает воображение, но это один из лучших образцов строительства того(!!!) времени дошедший до наших дней. Просто представьте себе задачу построить сейчас храм без применения современных материалов, технологий, инструментов и техники сегодня. И так чтобы это простояло как минимум 800 лет.
Сима Кузнецова (2 years ago)
Место очень древнее, историческое. Хочется, чтобы власти города обратили внимание, что памятники требуют реставрации и бережного отношения. Будущее поколение должно воспитываться на таких исторических местах.
Юрий (3 years ago)
Впервые побывал. Впечатляет!Георгиевский собор — главная достопримечательность Юрьева-Польского... Белокаменный храм был возведен здесь почти 800 лет назад внуком Юрия Долгорукого — князем Святославом Всеволодовичем. Если верить историкам, Георгиевский собор — последний храм (его основали в 1230 году), который успели возвести на Руси до татаро-монгольского нашествия. Внутри Георгиевского собора туристов ждет главная святыня — Святославов крест. В наши дни, несмотря на свой солидный возраст, Георгиевский собор в Юрьеве-Польском сохранился достаточно неплохо. Единственное, что нельзя оценить сегодня в полной мере, так это его уникальную резьбу. В 15 веке храм неожиданно стал разрушаться, при этом сильно пострадали стены, выполненные из резного камня. На реставрацию Георгиевского собора были направлены лучшие архитекторы из Москвы. Они спасли храм от разрушения, но, видимо, допустили погрешности
Андрей Иванов (3 years ago)
Георгиевский собор в Юрьеве-Польском построили в 1230-1234 годах на месте старого собора, построенного еще в 1152 году, который был заложен князем Юрием Долгоруким. Первоначальный собор простоял менее века, и, согласно летописным данным, был разрушен при землетрясении. Сразу после этого юрьевский князь Святослав Всеволодович, сын князя Суздальского Всеволода III, распорядился разобрать обломки храма и начать возведение нового собора....
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