Assumption Cathedral

Top choice in Golden Ring

Hearing your footsteps echoing in the gloom as you walk through this empty, unrestored cathedral (built 1744) within Goritsky Monastery makes it almost seem more sobering than an actual church service. The magnificent gilded iconostasis, completed in 1759, is populated with paintings of saints and religious scenes (a handy sign offers a key); along the doors at bottom is a carving of the Last Supper. Inside is also a display of old tombstones dating from the 16th to 18th centuries.

As you look around the interior, see if you can spot the initials 'EI' (for Empress Elizabeth, Russia's ruler at the time it was built) as well as the monogram for Catherine the Great.

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