Lion Head Door Handle of the Golden Gates

Lion Head Door Handle of the Golden Gates
«Lion Head Door Handle of the Golden Gates»

The door handle with lions’ head of the famous “Golden Gates” in the white-stone Nativity (Rozhdestvensky) cathedral, the most ancient monument of Suzdal architecture. The southern and western narthexes still have the ancient two-leaved doors made of copper plates in the 13th century using now forgotten technique of “Fire Gilding”. It is the real masterpieces of thirteenth-century Russian applied art. The door handles were shaped in the form of lions' heads with massive rings in their jaws. The gates were like a huge gold icon gleaming in the carved frame of the portal. The massive copper handles in their jaws, clearly conveyed the power, wealth and religious legitimacy of Prince Yuri II of Vladimir, who had commissioned construction of the church in 1222-1225 on the site of two even earlier temples.

On this picture are the handles of the doors from west portal that survived till the present time and exposed at the main entrance into the cathedral. The scenes on the doors show on its panels the contents of New Testament, included scenes from the Bible and images of Byzantine theologians and Russian saints.

Photo #801 taken on June 09, 2013

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Guide, Driver and Photographer Arthur Lookyanov

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