Travels Across Russia: Murom

Murom, Vladimir, Russia

Oka River Passenger Station, Embankment Street. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Saints Kosma and Damian, west view. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

With its advantageous location on the Oka River, Murom served as an important eastern outpost in the defense of Moscow against attacks from the Tatar state of Kazan. The votive Church of Saints Kosma and Demian was built by Ivan the Terrible after the conquest of Kazan.

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Gate Church of Saint Kirill Belozersk, Transfiguration of the Savior Monastery, northwest view

Right: Chapel of the Blessed Kseniia of Petersburg. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Cathedral of Transfiguration of the Savior, Savior Monastery, southwest view. Left: Church of the Intercession. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

This most ancient of Murom’s monasteries, dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, is situated to the south of town on a steep bank overlooking the Oka River. The earliest written reference dates from 1096, but its oldest extant structure—the Church of the Transfiguration—was built in the 1550s and has been substantially reconstructed. 

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Symbolic tomb with relics of Saint Il'ia Muromets, crypt of Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior, Savior Monastery. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

The crypt of the Transfiguration Church contains a sarcophagus with relics of Saint Ilya Muromets and has become a major pilgrimage site.  

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Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior (left) and Church of the Intercession, Savior Monastery, east view. Far right: Hostel. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Abbot's residence, with Church of Vasilii, bishop of Riazan', Savior Monastery, west view. Left: Church of the Intercession. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Saint Sergii Radonezh, over east gate, Savior Monastery, northwest view. Background: Oka River. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Chapel of Icon of the Mother of God, "Lifegiving Source," Savior Monastery, southwest view. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Gate Church of Saint Stephen, Annunciation Monastery, southeast view. Background: Cupolas of Cathedral of the Annunciation. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Cathedral of the Annunciation, Annunciation Monastery, southeast view. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

The Annunciation Monastery was founded by Ivan the Terrible in 1553 but was destroyed in 1616 when Polish forces devastated Murom. Its main Church of the Annunciation was lavishly rebuilt in the 1660s by the wealthy merchant Taras Borisov.

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Cathedral of the Annunciation, Annunciation Monastery, window in south facade. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Cathedral of the Annunciation, Annunciation Monastery, interior, west portal. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Cathedral of the Annunciation, Annunciation Monastery, Iconostasis, Royal Gate. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Saint Stefanii, Annunciation Monastery, south view. Background:  Cathedral of the Annunciation. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Kazan Icon of Mother of God and bell tower, Trinity Convent, northeast view. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

Trinity Convent was endowed in the 1640s by the merchant Taras Borisov, known as Bogdan Tsvetnoi (the Colorful). The ornate Church of the Holy Trinity contains the relics of Saints Peter and Fevronia (canonized 1547) and is decorated with ceramic tiles.

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Bell tower, Church of Kazan Icon of Mother of God, Trinity Convent, window details, south facade. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Cathedral of the Trinity, Trinity Convent, northwest view. Right background: Bell tower of Church of Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Cathedral of the Trinity, Trinity Convent, South facade, ceramic tile decoration. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Cathedral of the Trinity, Trinity Convent, interior, view northeast toward iconostasis. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Saint Sergii Radonezh, Trinity Convent (moved to the convent from Krasnoe village), southwest view. Left background: Bell tower and Cathedral of the Annunciation, Annunciation Monastery. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Cathedral of the Annunciation, Annunciation Monastery, southwest view from Trinity Convent. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Saint Nicholas on the Embankment, northwest view. Background: Oka River. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Saint Nicholas on the Embankment, south view. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Saint Nicholas on the Embankment, southeast view. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of the Purification, south view. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Church of Smolensk Icon of Mother of God, southeast view. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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House, First of May Street. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

Murom, like other provincial towns of the Russian heartland, has its share of early 19th-century neoclassical mansions. Major fires destroyed the largely wooden urban environment in 1805, and the town was rebuilt to a neoclassical plan designed during the reign of Catherine the Great.

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House, Temiriazov Street 12. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Wooden house. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

Murom also has neighborhoods of wooden houses from the turn of the 20th century, with their distinctive ornate window frames.

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Wooden house, window. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Wooden house, Sverdlov Street 23. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Wooden house. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Commercial buildings, Lenin Street (?). Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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House. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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School, Tolstoi Street 40 at Lenin Street. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Water tower. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Apartment building, Moscow Street at Sverdlov Street 12. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

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Monument to Ilia Muromets. Murom, Vladimir, Russia. Copyright: William Craft Brumfield

Ilya Muromets (Elijah of Murom) is celebrated in numerous Russian epic folk poems as the greatest of all the Russian heros (bogatyrs). Later a monk, he was beatified as a minor saint of the Orthodox church.  

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