The Invisible Town of Kitezh

The Invisible Town of Kitezh
The Invisible Town of Kitezh

Kitezhskaya Rus is a fantastic picturesque land with many legends about it. Pavel Melnikov-Pechersky wrote about Nizhegorodian Zavolzhye: «Russia has been standing on purity there since ancient times — it is preserved until now as it was in the times of our ancestors*. One of the pearls of the northern part of Zavolzhye is the mysterious lake Svetloyar, which, according to a legend, hides the ancient town of Kitezh deep under its waters. It is situated 130 km away from Nizhny Novgorod.

The Nizhny Novgorod region. Lake Svetloyar. Girl in a wreath of wildflowers.
Girl in a wreath of wildflowers

The village of Vladimirskoye, Voskresensky district, was given the status of a historical settlement owing to a great number of monuments of historical, cultural and natural heritage in it.

Entering the village you should look more attentively at the stone church erected in the early 20th century and consecrated in the name of Saint Nicolas the Wonder-Worker. Getting nearer the center of the village you will see a wonderful monument of wooden architecture — the church of the Theotokos of Vladimir, after which the village was named. The church was built in back 1766, but its outside appearance, a part of the inside decorations and its special atmosphere are still original.

The Nizhny Novgorod region. Svetloyar
Dance on the shore of the lake

Having paid homage to the ancient shrines you are welcome to go to the Kitezh museum of history and arts. There you can get absorbed in the world of legends and stories about the mysterious town of Kitezh, learn a lot of interesting facts about the origin of the lake Svetloyar, famous people that have visited this legendary lake and left a number of works of art dedicated to the Svetloyar and the town of Kitezh. Inside the small wooden museum there are several cozy rooms where the history of peasants’ life is reconstructed, for example, the living-room with a loom and carved and wicker furniture decorated with homespun rugs and table cloths with handmade embroidery, and an exhibition hall.

The Nizhny Novgorod region. Lake Svetloyar.
Lake Svetloyar

There is an ethno-cultural center «Kitezh» for kids near the museum in a beautiful wooden mansion. There are several groups – those of flora, ceramics, weaving and embroidery, wood carving — and a number of exhibition halls where the pieces of art made by young artistsare displayed, and the legends of Kitezh seem to come into life.

The Nizhny Novgorod region. Lake Svetloyar. Narodny holiday at the lake.
The Lake Svetloyar. Narodny holiday at the lake.

The picturesque and mysterious lake Svetloyar is situated at the outski of the historical settlement of Vladimirskoye.

Kitezhskaya Rus is a fantastic picturesque land with many legends about it. Pavel Melnikov-Pechersky wrote about Nizhegorodian Zavolzhye: «Russia has been standing on purity there since ancient times — it is preserved until now as it was in the times of our ancestors”. One of the pearls of the northern part of Zavolzhye is the mysterious lake Svetloyar, which, according to a legend, hides the ancient town of Kitezh deep under its waters. It is situated 130 km away from Nizhny Novgorod.

The Nizhny Novgorod region. Lake Svetloyar. Wreath on the water.
Wreath on the water

The village of Vladimirskoye, Voskresensky district, was given the status of a historical settlement owing to a great number of monuments of historical, cultural and natural heritage in it.

Entering the village you should look more attentively at the stone church erected in the early 20th century and consecrated in the name of Saint Nicolas the Wonder-Worker. Getting nearer the center of the village you will see a wonderful monument of wooden architecture — the church of the Theotokos of Vladimir, after which the village was named. The church was built in back 1766, but its outside appearance, a part of the inside decorations and its special atmosphere are still original.

Having paid homage to the ancient shrines you are welcome to go to the Kitezh museum of history and arts. There you can get absorbed in the world of legends and stories about the mysterious town of Kitezh, learn a lot of interesting facts about the origin of the lake Svetloyar, famous people that have visited this legendary lake and left a number of works of art dedicated to the Svetloyar and the town of Kitezh. Inside the small wooden museum there are several cozy rooms where the history of peasants’ life is reconstructed, for example, the living-room with a loom and carved and wicker furniture decorated with homespun rugs and table cloths with handmade embroidery, and an exhibition hall.

There is an ethno-cultural center «Kitezh» for kids near the museum in a beautiful wooden mansion. There are several groups – those of flora, ceramics, weaving and embroidery, wood carving — and a number of exhibition halls where the pieces of art made by young artistsare displayed, and the legends of Kitezh seem to come into life.

The picturesque and mysterious lake Svetloyar is situated at the outskirts of the historical settlement of Vladimirskoye.

Many poetic legends and tales about the lake. It is often called «unearthly miracle», and its origin is said to be connected with a meteorite fall. This lake is both a monument of historical, cultural and natural heritage. The Svetloyar is a special place, honoured by Orthodox Christians, including the Old Believers. The most mysterious and poetic legend tells about the remote history of the 13th century. «When the army of Batiy-Khan came very close to the Great town of Kitezh, the godly old men turned their prayers to Holy Mother, asking her for help. Suddenly the divine light came down on the suffering and Holy Mother descended from the sky, holding a miraculous cloak in her hands, which shielded the town of Kitezh». This legend became the basis for the famous opera of Rimsky-Korsakov Tale of the Invisible Town of Kitezh and Maiden Fevronia and was represented in many works of art (canvases by Glazunov, Vasnetsov, Rerikh, and Korovin). Melnikov-Pechersky also wrote about it: «that town is safe, but invisible… it was hidden miraculously by the will of God… but walls, churches, cloisters, princes’ towers are still reflected in the Svetloyar on quiet summer evenings… and the chime of bells in Kitezh is heard at night…»

Kitezhskaya Rus is a fantastic picturesque land with many legends about it.

If you plan to spend a few days in Vladimirskoye, you can stay in a hotel of tourist class, try local food in a cozy cafe situated nearby, and visit the exhibition hall dedicated to works of Nikolay Rerikh. The detailed information about the tourist routes and excursions around Zavolzhye is available in the development center of Nizhegorodian Zavolzhye. There you can also see nice things made by Zavolzhye craftsmen and buy them.
The Voskresensky district is a part of ancient traditional Russia, where the Christian relics and traditions are kept, the land of wild nature and hospitable Russians, and it is awaiting everyone interested in the history of ancient Russia or searching for peace of mind and for beauty.