GOLDEN RING OF RUSSIA TOURS
The Golden Ring is a group of medieval towns and cities that form a ring to the northeast of Moscow, that played a significant role in early Russian history and in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. The towns present an ancient Russian architecture from the Middle Ages including kremlins (walled fortresses), monasteries, cathedrals and churches.
Golden Ring of Medieval Russian Orthodox architecture has its jewels. If you have limited time to explore it, come to Suzdal and Vladimir.
When in 1864 local merchants failed to pursue the government to build Trans-Siberian Railway through their town, the city was bypassed not only by trains, but by the 20th century. Railroad went though Vladimir -35 km away.
Now Suzdal remains the same as the century ago with preserved wooden cottages, golden cupolas reflecting in the river and beautiful flower-filled meadows. At one time Suzdal was a major monastic center when Ivan the Terrible governed Russia, today it has preserved its charisma with abundant flower fields, unpaved roads and remarkable riverside churches and monasteries dating back to 11th century.
Vladimir, one of the medieval capitals of Old Russia, has three monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage List:
The magnificent five-domed Assumption Cathedral was designed as a sepulcher of grand princes and dedicated to the holy icon Theotokos of Vladimir, which had been brought to the city by Andrew the Pious. The cathedral was constructed in 1158–1160, expanded in 1185–1189, and includes major frescoes by the great artists Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chyorny.
St. Demetrius Cathedral (12th century) is notable for its noble forms and ideal proportions. Its walls are decorated with beautiful stone fretwork - it has more than 600 bas-reliefs.
Golden Gate (1164), a combination of battle tower, over-gate church and triumphal arch, is considered remarkable monument of Russian fortification architecture.