This year’s autumn hasn’t been spoiling us – a couple of snowy weeks in late October and early November followed by a period of rather brisk weather with temperatures dropping to -11’C hasn’t encouraged many ventures away from the city. After a brief research, weary of road conditions in some parts of the region, we decided to go for the easier itinerary and headed to Vinnovka, a beautifully situated old church and recently constructed men’s monastery overlooking the Volga river.

The monastery as seen from the bank of the Volga.

Some background

It’s believed that the settlement was set up in 1650s by the runaway peasants from the central regions of Russia and newcomers from the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. It is first mentioned in a document from 1671-1672, which describes the villages of Samara region belonging to the imperial family. In 1768 the whole of Samarskaya Luka (the Samara bend of the Volga) where the village is situated was sold by the Imperial Tresury to the Orlov brothers. In 1770 when it was owned by Alexei Orlov-Chesmensky local parishoners built in the village a small wooden church in honor of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan, thanks to which the settlement was upgraded to the status of a village and was now called Bogorodskoye-Vinnovka. After the death of Alexei, the village was inherited by his daughter Anna, who then sold it (1843) to a public institution who carried out property management of the imperial family. In 1839 a fire destroyed most of the village including the wooden church and the villagers organized a compulsory collection of money to finish the construcion of a stone church, which was started by countess Orlova before she sold the village. The construction of the church, which survived till today, was completed in 1851. The church played an active role in the life of the villagers, in 1867 a school run by priests was opened, but fell into disrepair after the collapse of the Russian Empire. During Soviet times the church was closed (1930) and the building was used for non-religious purposes such as grain and cattle storage.

Vinnovka. Renovated church.

Only in 2003 the restoration of the church was started and men’s monastery was built in the village.

Out and about Vinnovka

Vinnovka is located only a few kilometers from the city center as the crow flies but the lack of bridge connecting the city with the other bank of the Volga makes it necessary to travel all the way to Tolyatti and cross the river there. This makes the trip significantly longer but nevertheless enjoyable. The village is made up mainly of traditional old wooden houses and recently constructed villas, the latter probably belonging to some wealthier locals from Samara and Tolyatti who were attracted by the peacefulness of the location and beautiful vistas over the Volga. The monastery consists of two churches (both open to visitors; women should remember about modest clothing and a headscarf), fraternal housing, hotel, a library and a small museum available to visit with a guide on Saturdays and Sundays. Apart from visiting the monastery you can have a stroll on the small beach nearby and go to see the ruins of the Saint Nicholas church from 1714 in the neighboring village of Ossinovka (you’ll see it by the road when arriving in Vinnovka).

Vinnovka. The interior of the old church.

On the way back to Samara stop on the beach near Krasnaya Glinka (coming from Samara towards Tolyatti on the left side of the road you’ll see a little wooden house with restaurant Zolotaya Rybka, turn left there and drive through the little bridge and continue till the end. If the road is muddy, leave the car and just walk, it takes only 5 minutes).


More photos of Vinnovka and surroundings.