Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Walking Tour of Uglich

At last we had a "sea day" and a chance to relax before arriving in Uglich at 6:30 p.m. We passed this lighthouse along the way...

And many little villages...

Another huge cathedral that looked like it was in the middle of nowhere. One dome cathedrals were usually privately built by wealthy merchants. The government had no input into these churches, although now some of the more historic ones do get some support.

We would be going through 20 locks on our way to St. Petersburg...

You can see the gate is now closed and showing above the water line.

In the four minutes it took me to walk from the back of the ship to the front, this is how much the water level dropped.

This was taken from our balcony. Look how close the ship is to the side of the lock...

This was also taken from our balcony and you can see how close you are to the wall as the ship is being lowered.  Hey, that looks like Mike peeking over his balcony.

The gates opened and we headed out of the lock.

Lovely view as we’re passing through...

Looking back at the lock we just came through...you can see a little boat came through at the same time.

After being on the ship for a couple of days, I finally got up to the sun deck. The weather just hasn’t been warm enough to sit out and there had been little time for relaxing. Looks like I had it to myself...

We took a sharp turn in the river, went around the fisherman, and started down the river on the left.

Coming into Uglich, you could see churches and churches and more churches.

The Moskva Hotel Uglich on the Volga River...

So it's time for a quick history lesson on Uglich (pronounced oo-glitch). This small industrial town was founded in 937 and was the scene of a terrible tragedy. Ivan the Terrible bequeathed the town to his infant son, Dmitry, and banished him there with his mother. In 1591, Dmitry, then aged 9, was murdered. He was declared a saint in 1606 and the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood was built in 1692. That was our destination for the walking tour.

After docking in Uglich, we were met by this lovely girl. One of the welcoming Russian traditions is that you are met with a loaf of warm bread, from which you tear a piece and dip it in the salt.

Even some of these rundown churches have more character than most of our North American churches...

The lady holding the lollipop was our local tour guide. She was a great guide, entertaining and informative. She spoke very good English as she is an English teacher and, like Leonid, does tours in the summer.

Off on our walking tour...in the distance we could see our destination which was the church with the blue domes, the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood.

These kids were cute. I motioned taking a picture of them, and they all posed.

Welcome to Uglich! There are 35,000 people in the town and the main industry is tourism. Some days in the summer they host 20 tour boats. There are 3 monasteries and 17 churches for people to visit.

We had to walk through this market to get to the churches. No time for stopping now, but we would check it out on the way back.

A lovely little scene with the former duma (legislature) building in the background...

The current duma...

Statue of Lenin...every town seems to have one and/or a Lenin Street.

The original library, which opened in 1897, is now a museum.

Jim with a couple of the local ladies who were singing Russian folk songs as we walked by...for donations, of course.

Pretty flowers leading to the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, built in 1713.



The oldest building in Uglich is Dmitry’s Palace, built in 1480. It was his home during his brief lifetime and is now a museum documenting his life.

We were so lucky to be given a short concert by this group.


video

This choir is comprised of professional opera singers recruited mostly from Moscow. The man on the right is an oktavist, one who can sing a full octave below a first-bass register. He sounded like a didgeridoo or a whale. It was quite something to hear. They sang an orthodox prayer.

The Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood...this church was built in 1692 on the site where Dmitry's murdered body was found. Look at how pristine this is.


Our guide treated us as if we were her students...once a teacher, always a teacher. She asked us if we liked this fresco of Adam and Eve, and like dutiful students, we replied with a drawn out "Yesss." And then she replied "No-o-o." Wrong! It was one of the first images of them painted naked and that was not acceptable in their church.

One of the icons...

It's a very small church and the floor was heated in the winter from wood fires underneath it.

Some of the beautiful frescoes which tell the story of Dmitry's death ..


The bell which announced his death...

Decorated ceiling and chandelier...

This is almost the whole church. Once again you notice the lack of seats. A service may last up to four hours so it's not surprising that many young people do not go to church. You can see how low the ceiling is to conserve heat in the winter time.

Big heavy door...

Thick stained glass window...

With the tour over, we meandered through the market stalls, and made our way back to the ship.

Colourful boats...

Our last view of the church...

We set sail at 9:00 p.m. and passed this church. Even tiny towns or villages have huge churches. I'm not sure how they can afford to keep them open.

We had a light dinner before going out on our walking tour, and when we returned they had a lovely dessert buffet and champagne. What looks like sculptured glass is actually spun sugar. This dessert looks like salmon but it was a delicious strawberry mousse

One of the carved fruit baskets...


Tomorrow we will be in Yaroslavl...

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