The Church of the Intercession on the Nerl is a small temple that is an example of ancient Russian architecture. It is located 1.5 km from the village of Bogolyubovo, Vladimir region. It is there that the Nerl River flows into the Klyazma.
Unity with nature
The Church of the Intercession on the Nerl was built in 1165. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the history of Russia. It is considered a masterpiece not only of Vladimir-Suzdal and Russian, but also of world architecture. What makes this church so famous? Obviously, this is both her unusual story and surprisingly harmonious appearance.
Indeed, having seen this extraordinarily beautiful church, it is difficult to refrain from poetic comparisons. Most often, the building is compared to the bride. Snow-white, light, graceful, with ideal proportions, reflecting in the calm waters of a small river, she is truly associated with a female image and something mysterious and unsolved.
The church on a rounded hill seems to be such a natural continuation of the landscape that the audience involuntarily admires: how well the place was chosen for the construction of the temple. But it only seems at first glance that everything is so simple. In fact, the church keeps many secrets, both building and historical.
The hill, which nowadays looks very organic with the landscape, is artificial. When the church was erected, the place where the Nerl flows into the Klyazma was not at all as idyllic as it is now, but on the contrary, very lively.
It was the crossroads of the most important trade waterways. But during spills, the water level rose by 5 m and flooded the surrounding area. Therefore, an unusual foundation-hill was made for the church: walls 3, 7 m high were added to the traditional one and a half-meter foundation made of cobblestones on lime mortar. They were covered with clay soil outside and inside. This man-made hill was covered with white slabs with ladders leading down to the river.
Material and craftsmen
The Church of the Intercession on the Nerl is a four-pillar cross-domed church, traditional for pre-Mongol Russia. It is built of white limestone. All the reliefs are carved from the same stone. Although the limestone lends itself well to processing, the fine white stone carvings took a lot of time and a lot of technical skill.
Even simple processing of a stone block required more than 1000 blows by the master on the instrument. And for the creation of embossed surfaces and carvings - much more.
Secrets of harmony
The church initially looked different than it does now. It was surrounded by five-meter galleries with gulbisches. She looked more monumental and solemn. However, at the end of the 17th century, the galleries were dismantled, and the white stone covering of the hill also disappeared. The Church has “grown thinner” and acquired an even greater upward aspiration. It is as if time itself made adjustments to the work of builders, corrected its architecture, bringing it to perfection.