You easily may pass by this Church of Elijah the Prophet, once you find yourself at Soviet Square in Yaroslavl, just in 0.5 km from the famous Monastery of Savior Transfiguration (Spaso-Preobrazhensky) in the very city center. You see
red canvas with hammer and sickle white-blue-red flags that draw your attention from this church with simple white exterior. Why is it so remarkable?
Well, we know in advance, this church is the true architectural pearl. Still were impressed by its grandeur. And it′s not that much about the church′s conical roof above the bell tower, very typical to Yaroslavl architectural tradition, and not about russian ceramics in church fence decoration, and even not about its festive entrance.
What really blows your mind away are frescoes. They span the walls from the floor up to the arched ceiling. Even window sides and church head inner walls are covered with painting despite the fact you see them only at a very low angle. The frescoes are dated to 17th century and not only well preserved, but are also very bright thanks to the last renovation. I use to feel like a time traveller in such places, to feel put back some centuries to the past. However, here everything is too vibrant and bright to be a reality from the past.
Everybody says that the church is big and spacious. I would not say it feels packed inside, maybe you are just so attracted to viewing frescoes that stop thinking about the building′s inner volume architectural solution.
To look at frescoes at the ceiling, you have to throw up your head and even turn 180°! Just don′t feel dizzy!
Carved guilded iconostatis is another one thing on its own. It even claims to be the richest part of the church′s interior. Nevertheless, the combination of pride of this guilded iconostasis with purity of frescoes feels harmoniuos, in contrast to that of newborn russian churches.
For sure, gallery which connects the church with bell tower, and the entrance staircase are covered with frescoes, too.
When moved to Holy Protection Chapel, your are impressed with interior one more time. But here you feel the age better due to slightly worse preservation of frescoes.
These remarkable paintings were made in 17th century by painters led by Guriy Nikitin and Sila Savin from Kostroma. You may find their mark on the wall, which is quite rare in our churches. It is situated in the left bottom corner under cast iron hedge along the wall, next to the door to Holy Protection Chapel. I will not cite it here—better see it yourself.
Church of Elijah the Prophet belongs to Yaroslavsky State Museum-reserve and is opened for visitors during the warm season excluding rainy days.
Here you can find the information for visitors (in Russian):