A trip to Dudin monastery: it is amazing what people did in 1400s

Went to Dzerzhinsk, Russia on June 7, 2010

When I lived in Finland I visited every castle it had: Hameenlinna, Savonlinna, Turku Castle, and Suomenlinna. I liked those trips a lot because every castle had a museum which always mentioned connection to Russian history.

Nowadays I am living in Russia and therefore I used an opportunity to visit a monastery located on the other bank of Oka river on which our town is situated. In order to get there I got an inexpensive boat for only 2,500 roubles (approximately 70 USD). It is funny that all the other boats of similar size costed three times as much! The name of the boat is Challenger 2.

Oka is a wide slowly moving river with almost no boat traffic. It is funny that we had some kind of cruise boats until very recently when the river transporation in Dzerzhinsk was apparently stopped. Quite sad, but the river looks nowadays as wild as it probably looked in 15th century when the monastery was built.

Previously I visited the ruins of the monastery when I was in high school. Back then the frames of 17th century buildings were still there but the interiors were destroyed as a result of October revolution of 1917. The actual destruction was happening probably later on, in the end of 1920s. After years of oblivion, the rebuilding of monastery began in 2000s.

The monastery is located in the middle of the hills which are approximately 150-200 m in height and are quite steep. The horizontal area in the middle accomodated three churches as well as entrance gates and cemetery. It was a very densely packed area. But nowadays only one church has been rebuilt along with a bell tower. During last few years I have visited a number of monasteries many of which have been destroyed during Soviet era. It keeps me wondering over and over again that what was destroyed during a couple of days takes decades to rebuild.

I have looked at old photographs of the monastery. It turns out that the new white building on the photograph above is actually smaller than its predecessor. In particular, the old building was 3-storied whereas the new one has only 2 floors. I was suprised when I discovered what I thought was negligence to the history but then my mom exlained to me that they donтАЩt have enough donation nowadays to build as large a building as they did in 1600s. It is a worrying sign that back then one merchant called Dudin donated enough money to build the whole monastery but these days Russian people as a whole are not willing to donate as much.

But still, it is good that such a large-scale effort is going on. The rebuilding of monastery has a few additional tasks associated with it such as building a road to this remote area. It turns out that this sparked intense discussion in the media because the machines used in this process have excavated the ground and part of an old cemetery. Now I think that it is a good idea to perform a careful examination of the soil which contains 600 years of Russian history. If a team of archeologists attempted to do a field trip to this monastery I think they would find lots of artifacts.

On my way back I discovered another artifact on the shore of the river which I cannot think the meaning of. To me it looks like organ pipes but obviously Catholic Church never managed to get that far. Therefore, the pipes pictured above have some technical meaning. To summarize, Dudin monastery is a great remote place. Every human will find interesting stuff here, either historical or technical mysteries.