The old town of Radonezh is known to have existed since the first half of the 14th century, when it belonged to Ivan Kalita. In 1328, he settled there many captives from Rostov, including the future Sergii Radonezhsky. About twenty years later, Sergii founded the Trinity Monastery to the north of Radonezh.
The town belonged to Vladimir of Serpukhov and to his descendants until 1426, when the last appanage prince of Radonezh died, without naming his heir. There ensued a bitter struggle for the town's possession, which ended in Vasily II of Moscow's being taken captive in Radonezh by his cousin Dmitry Shemyaka and later blinded.
The economic and political rise of the nearby Trinity Monastery adversely affected the overall development of Radonezh. In the late 15th to 16th century, the town was eclipsed by the monastery and later turned into a village.
Today, the remnants of Radonezh are located on an elevated cape, rounded by a curve of the Pazha River. There are still traces of ramparts and a moat. A monument to St Sergii was opened in front of the local church in 1988. Designed by Vyacheslav Klykov, it was the first public statue to be erected in the Soviet Union without permission from the authorities. The biggest part of the former town is now occupied by a cemetery. Despite the fact that any new burials at this archeological site are now illegal, new graves are continued to be added; some of them - at the expense of the old earth walls being destroyed.
- (Russian) History of Radonezh