In the Nizhny Novgorod region, not far from the village of Vladimirskoye, there is the Svetloye lake, or, as it is popularly called Svetloyar. There is a legend that this place used to be the city of Great Kitezh, which, when the troops of Khan Batu approached, fell into the ground, and a lake was formed at this place.
According to legend, the city of Great Kitezh was built by the Vladimir prince Yuri Vsevolodovich (1188 - 1238), the son of Vsevolod the Big Nest. The city was built of white stone with six temples in the center of the city.
In 1238, the Mongol-Tatar army, led by Khan Batu, invaded the Vladimir-Suzdal principality. Prince Yuri Vsevolodovich was at this time in Maly Kitezh (modern Gorodets). The conquerors took the city by storm, but the prince with the remnants of the Russian army managed to break out of the encirclement and take refuge in Veliky Kitezh.
Finding a city among dense forests and impenetrable swamps was not easy. Batu Khan began to torture the prisoners, demanding to show the way to Great Kitezh. According to legend, one of the residents named Grishka Kuterma could not bear the torment and agreed to lead Batu's army to Kitezh.
When the conquerors approached Great Kitezh, the city suddenly sank under water. Moreover, the water did not flood the city, but only covered it and made it invisible. So God saved the inhabitants of Kitezh for their prayers and piety.
They say that bells sometimes ring out from under the water, and in clear weather you can see the domes of churches in the water.
And today you can hear many legends about the mysterious lake. They say that the water taken from Svetloyar does not deteriorate for a long time, and if you go around the lake three times clockwise, your wish will come true. Pilgrims come to Svetloyar to pray.
Scientists have explored this lake more than once, and have found a lot of mysteries here. Scuba divers discovered that at the bottom of Svetloyar there are underwater terraces: the shore goes under the water like a ladder. It was concluded that the lake was formed in parts. Moreover, the upper part is relatively recent, just a few centuries ago.
A large number of objects from the 13th century were found at the bottom of the lake.
Water does not change its properties for a long time, thanks to underwater sources with a high content of calcium and bicarbonate.
Local residents claim that they sometimes saw strange people in clothes from the times of Ancient Rus. But it is not at all easy for our contemporaries to get into the legendary Kitezh-grad: only true believers can see this underwater city.
So the legend says.