Small, simple and off the religious highway makes this place my favorite among the Golden Cities.
Away from crowded churches and cathedrals of the Golden Ring circuit is this little church in a little village of Bogolyubovo (Боголюбово / बोगोल्युबोवो). The church’s beauty lies in its simplicity, perfect symmetry, beautiful location (next to the river) and isolation (what a strange factor!).
It is said that this church was built during early days of Christianity in Russia, thus explaining pictures and carvings of birds and beasts on its walls and interiors. Interiors are even simpler and it is tempting to light a candle inside.
The hills, the birds, the water plus absence of cars, crowds and noise makes this place incredibly beautiful. During spring, the river floods the adjoining area, giving an illusion that the church is on an island. A single hut, habitated by the churchkeeper sells picture frames and lovely photographs of the church. There is also a ‘pay what you can’ toilet.
Bogolyubovo can be reached by suburban trains from Moscow’s Kursky terminal (one station after Vladimir). Express trains from Moscow stop at Vladimir (2.5 hrs) from where there are regular buses to Bogolubovo. From the train / bus station, this church is about 1.3 km away, a pleasant walk through meadows. Infact, one can only walk to this church, making it feel somewhat like a pilgrimage.