Church of St. Nicholas in the Galleys

Address:
Vladimir, Nikolo-Galeyskaya street, 26
GPS:
56.12249380, 40.40110330

The Church of St. Nicholas in the Galleys (Nikolo-Galeyskaya – in Russian) is located on a high hill, at the foot of which, as far back as the 12th century, there was a pier. Galleys in ancient times were called large sailing-rowing vessels. This term, probably, was borrowed from the West, thanks to the European ties of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality. Russian rooks were called "galleys" in Vladimir. Gradually, the name of the ship went to the place itself – "in the galleys".

The wooden Church of St. Nicholas (Nicholas the Wonderworker), the patron saint of seafarers and merchants, is mentioned at this place in the sources of the 12th century. The present stone Church of St. Nicholas in the Galleys was built in 1732-1735, at the expense of a rich Vladimir coachman, a posad man I.G. Pavlygin. His name is immortalized by a carved inscription near the western doors of the temple.

The Church of St. Nicholas in the Galleys is shapely and graceful, and beautifully stands out against the backdrop of climbing hillside buildings. The church is sustained in the architectural style of the end of the 17th century, widespread in Suzdal. Therefore, scientists suggest that an unknown architect could be a Suzdal master. The high main volume is adjoined by a low refectory with a bell-tower at the end. The main part of the temple is an ascending structure from the lower quadrangle and towering on it three tiers of decreasing octagons, passing into the faceted drum of the bulbous cupola. This technique appeared in wooden architecture, but became popular in the stone architecture of the late 17th century. The walls of the largest octagon are decorated with thin half-columns on the corners, graceful window frames on each side and a belt of carved cornice. On the second and third tiers of octagons, the half-columns are replaced by the pilaster-strips that separate the facets. The third octagon is decorated with a belt of tiles.

The tented bell-tower – the octagon on the quadrangle, the smooth facets of which are separated by the pilaster-strips – harmoniously resembles with the shape of the main volume. In contrast to this simplicity of the walls, the light arches of the ringing row are decorated with carved columns and kokoshniks, as well as a colored belt of tiles under them (not preserved). The elegant belfry tent ends with two tiers of windows-rumors in carved frames and an elegant bulbous cupola.

In the 1930s the church of St. Nicholas in the Galleys was closed. It was used as a warehouse, and later – it housed the restoration workshops. Since1996, divine services resumed in the church.

Author: V. Korolkova