Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Saint Alexander Nevsky Monastery)

By on December 23, 2013
Alexander Nevsjy Lavra, St. Petersburg, Russia

The oldest friary was first mentioned in 1710, when Peter the Great ordered it built on the site of Alexander Nevsky’s victory over the Swedes. The wooden Church of the Annunciation was sanctified here only 3 years later. The brilliant plan of Lavra was designed by the talented architect Domenico Trezzini – the founder of European school in  Russian architecture. The plan of this brilliant engineer wasto build a whole complex of stone buildings creating a symmetrical ensemble between the Monastirskaya and the Neva rivers.

Soon, life here was in full swing – Lavra was growing, forge, joiner’s shop, mill, farmyard, garden and a marketplace were opened. By the end of the century the Lavra’s school for priests gained the status of Theological Academy. The Archives of Lavra museum were created here in 1909. The Alexander Nevsky’s relics are still kept in the Trinity cathedral.

Alexander Nevsky Lavra is one of the biggest and greatest architectural ensembles of the 18th century in St. Petersburg. It combines the elements of baroque and early classicism. The historical complex includes necropolises that are a part of the museum of urban sculpture holdings. They are highly valued for the abundance of monuments, beautiful statues, columns and other original architectural compositions in the spirit of Russian classicism. Lazar cemetery is the oldest necropolis of the 18th Century; state leaders Kochubey, Shishkov, Count Sheremetev, Pushkin’s great-uncle A. I. Hannibal and many others were buried here. Tikhvin cemetery or the necropolis of the artists is famous by its monuments– artist Avilov, composer Glinka, writer Dostoyevsky, Baron Dalvig, poet Zhykovsky, pianist Rubenstein, famous fabulist Krylov and many others. The most mystical and powerful impression is made by the Nikolsky necropolis which used to be a burial vault for the local priesthood. Later on the vandals started to come here so you still can see the unsealed vaults and opened doors in the middle of thick woods.

Acropolis, oldest semetry in St.Petersburg

The church of the icon “Joy of all who Sorrow”, almshouse, sacristy, necropolises of the 18th Century are located on monastery’s land. You can find different churches here: Blagoveshenskaya, Dukhovskaya, Lazarevskaya, Nikolskaya and Fedorovskaya. The library of the southern-western tower keeps some ancient orthodox books, it holdings count for more than 13000 pieces.  E-catalogues and on-line access are available too.

Lavra works to protect the original Russian traditions and it actively revives the national crafts. Icon-painting, ceramic, china and jewelry works, wood-carving and studio of Christian tin miniatures – all visitors can get acquainted with the mastery of the St. Petersburg’s craftsmen. Orthodox exhibitions and public celebrations often take place here. Divine services are held almost daily.

Orthodox prests in St.Petersburg, Russia

After having spiritual nourishment, drop in at the refectory or the tea room, where you can try some orthodox cuisine.

Opening hours

05:30 – 23:00


You can enter monastery area for free. Admission to necropolis and workshops from 100 RUB.


Address: St. Petersburg, nab. Monastyrka River, 1

Transport: Metro station “Ploschad’ Aleksandra Nevskogo”

Phone:  +7812 274 17 02

Official website:

Translation by I.Todorov
Edited by Joan Akatukunda

About Julia G.

I am from Moscow, but very frequent in S.Peter. Love it!

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