History of Vladimir starts at the end of the X century when it was founded by Kievan Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich on the banks of Klyazma river.
By the middle of the XII century the city became the capital of the North-East Russian State and was adorned with such architectural gems as the Golden Gate, Uspensky Cathedral, Dmitrievsky Cathedral and a variety of churches.
By the middle of the XIII century the state was attacked by the Tatar-Mongol tribes and Vladimir went into a decline.
The renaissance of the city began only in XV-XVI centuries, when the future Russian capital - Moscow became to get power.
Since XVII century Vladimir constantly expanded and developed, keeping the magnificence and unique charm of the ancient city.
Vladimir Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption) is one of the most historically important Russian Orthodox Churches.
For a short period in the XIV century, the Cathedral was the seat of the Metropolitan, the leader of the Russian Ortodox Chuch.
Originally, the cathedral was built in 1158 and had one dome only. However, the major reconstruction followed already in 1185: four smaller domes were added, and the building was considerably enlarged in order to resemble St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev. Later on, a similar project was applied for the Assumption Cathedral in Moscow Kremlin.
The neighboring bell tower of eclectic style was built in 1810 to replace the former hip-roof tower.
The interior of the cathedral includes a number of ancient frescos from late XII century (northern wall) and XV century (vaults), the latter being painted by Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chyorny.
Uspensky Cathedral is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Vladimir Dmitrievsky Cathedral
Dmitrievsky Cathedral (Cathedral of St. Demetrius) was constructed in 1194-97 as an in-house church of the Prince's court.
Originally, galleries linked the Cathedral to the palace, but they were removed during the reconstruction in 19th century.
At present, Dmitrievsky Cathedral is a detached church, a unique monument of ancient Russian architecture.
The bottom part of the walls is flat (here the galleries were attached), while the upper part is covered by fine stone carvings. It was the first time when a cathedral was so rich decorated . These carvings depict stories from the life of King David and praise the harmony of the world. Yet the meaning of some carvings remains unknown.
Few frescos of XII century are still available inside the Cathedral.
Cathedral is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Vladimir Golden Gate
Once the entrance to the walled city, the gate was originally built in 1158-64. At that time, the city was surrounded by a rampart with five stone gates.
The Golden Gate is the only remaining part of the complex and the unique monument of ancient fortifications in Russia. The ramparts were removed in XIX century, and the gate was reinforced by four circular bastions at the buttresses. These bastions strongly changed the appearance of the gate.
The remaining part of the rampart is found south from the gate, along the Kozlov rampart street (ulitsa Kozlov val).
The Golden Gate is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
One of the oldest Russian towns, founded in 1024 as a fortress town on the Kamenka River.
By the beginning of the XII century it had become the capital of Suzdal principality and a political and religious center of Russia.
In 1238 the town was destroyed by the Tatar-Mongols under the leadership of Batu Khan and never recovered its former importance.
In the XV century Suzdal passed to Moscow principality.
The town is fabulously rich in the unique architectural monuments of the XII-XVII centuries including ancient cathedrals and monasteries, bell-towers and churches, one and two-story wooden and brick buildings.
The Kremlin architectural ensemble comprises Rozhdestvensky Cathedral (1222—1225), Archbishop's Hall (Arkhierejskie palaty, XV—XVIII), Nikolskaya Church (Church of St. Nicholas, 1766).
Nikolskaya Church was built in Glotovo village in 1766 and was moved to Suzdal in 1960 to be part of a museum of wooden architecture. It is made out of all wood without a single nail and represents the close relationship between wood and stone architecture.
Archbishop's Hall is an architecture ensemble which had been forming during XV-XVIII centuries. It was used as living house for Suzdal church hierarchs. As of today, the building is used for museum and restaurant.
Suzdal Cathedral of the Nativity
The Cathedral of the Nativity (Rozhdestvensky Cathedral) is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It is one of the most complex monuments of Russian medieval architecture.
It was originally constructed during the reign of Vladimir II Monomakh during the late XI century .
The Cathedral is notable for being the first city cathedral not built for the exclusive use of the knyaz or his relatives.
The cathedral contains the remains of a son of Yuri Dolgoruki (known as founder of Mosocow), knyazes of the Shuisky family and others.
Suzdal Intercession Cathedral
The Monastery Intercession of the Mother God (Pokrovsky monastery) was founded in 1364 ; however, its architectural ensemble was formed in the 16th century, when the monastery became the place to which the disgraced tsarinas and women from the high-ranking boyars’ families were banished.
The center of the monastery architecture ensemble is the Cathedral of the Intercession (Pokrovsky Cathedral) built by the unknown masters in 1518.
While decorating the Cathedral, traditional methods of the old white-stone architecture of Suzdal were applied.
There was no painting in the Cathedral.
Suzdal Monastery of Saint Euthymius
The monastery of St. Euthymius (Spaso-Efimiev monastery) was founded in the XIV century . It was built as a fortress to defend the town.
The founder of the monastery was sainted monk Euthimius of Suzdal.
Earlier wooden structures of the monastery have not survived and the imposing stone ensemble was formed in the XVI -XVII centuries.
The main cathedral of the monastery - the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour ( Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral ) is dated back to the XVI century . The walls are decorated with the XVI century frescoes and murals created by Guri Nikitin and Sila Savin - famous Russian icon painters.
The tomb of Dmitry Pozharsky lies by the cathedral wall (Dmitry led Russia's struggle for independence against Polish-Lithuanian invasion during the Time of Troubles).
The whole monastery is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Bogolyubovo was founded in the middle of the XII century by knyaz Andrei Bogolyubsky as a royal residence in the outskirts of the capital city of Vladimir.
It consisted of the Southern royal part with a white stone cathedral and a yard and the Northern part where the town people lived.
Since the end of the XII century there was a monastery in the former residence.
Knyaz Andrei Bogolyubsky's residence - the unique monument of secular architecture. Now it is being used by both the museum of Vladimir and Suzdal and the monastery.
It's on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Bogolyubovo Church of the Intercession on the Nerl river
Russian Orthodox Christians believe that Bogolyubovo was founded on the spot where knyaz Andrei Bogolyubsky saw a miraculous vision of the Theotokos (meaning "God bearer", Virgin Mary).
On that spot, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl (Church of Pokrova na Nerli) was built, est. 1158 . It is situated in the flooded meadows at the confluence of the Nerl and Klyazma rivers.
Thanks to its highly harmonic architecture proportions and exterior decoration, the church often called to be the most harmonious and complete church in Russian architecture .
The reliefs - female masks, the frieze and the figure of King David in the center - form the idea of the Intercession of the Virgin.
As the part of the Bogolyubovo monastery it is being used both by the museum and the church.
It’s on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The city was first recorded in the chronicles for the year 1213 , but historians believe it could have been founded by knyaz Yury Dolgoruky more than half a century earlier.
Like other towns of the Rus’, Kostroma was destroyed by the Tatar-Mongols in 1238.
Kostroma was twice ravaged by the Poles. The heroic peasant Ivan Susanin became a symbol of the city's resistance to foreign invaders.
In 1773, Kostroma was devastated by a great fire. Afterwards the city was rebuilt with streets radiating from a single focal point near the river.
Kostroma is known as motherland for heroic peasant Ivan Susanin and Snegurochka (fairy tale “Snow Maiden” girl, a grandchild for Ded Moroz - “Grandfather Frost”), for Andrei Tarkovsky - famouse Russian film director, as “cradle” for Romanov family, as Cheese Capital, Jewelry Capital, Linen Capital. A moose farm is located close to Kostroma.
Kostroma Ipatievsky monastery
The monastery was founded in the early XIV century by a Tatar prince, ancestor of the Godunov family.
It is a huge and important monastery, which contains the Museum of Wooden Architecture, the Bogoroditsky Cathedral (est. 1552), and the Spaso-Preobrazhenskaya Church (which was made without a single nail ).
The future tsar, Mikhail Romanov (first Tsar of Romanov family), lived at the Ipatievsky monastery. It was here that an embassy from Moscow offered him the Russian crown in 1612.
The Ipatievsky monastery was visited by many of Romanov tsars, including Nikolai II , the last Russian tsar.
A wooden house of Mikhail Romanov is still preserved in the monastery.
Kostroma Susaniskaya Ploshchad, the Fire Tower
Kostroma main square is named after Ivan Susanin, a peasant who became a hero after misleading Polish invaders into a swamp, where they all died.
The square has several buildings of note, including the Fire Tower, a delightful piece of XIX century architecture and currently a museum, and a literature museum within a XIX century guard house.
Kostroma Trading Arcades, Volga river embankment
One of the best preserved examples of the XVIII century town planning , Kostroma retains some elegant structures in a "provincial neoclassical" style.
Apart of a governor's palace, a fire tower, it includes a rotunda on the Volga embankment, and an arcaded central market (the Trading Arcades) with a merchant church in the center.
Kostroma Bonus: Moose is a domestic animal! :)
Preceded by Viking sites such as Timerevo from the VIII or IX centuries, the city is said to have been founded by the famous Russian knyaz Yaroslav the Wise in 1010 as an outpost of the Principality of Rostov Veliky.
It was the capital of an independent Yaroslavl principality since 1218, but it was incorporated into Moscow principality in 1the mid XV century.
More than once, the Tatar-Mongols invaded the city and burned it to the ground.
In the XVII century it was Russia's second largest city, and for a time (during the Polish occupation of Moscow in 1612), the country's de facto capital .
After a huge fire of 1658, Yaroslavl was rebuilt in stone and reached the peak of its architectural development with palaces and churches richly decorated with beautiful frescoes and ornaments thus earning the title "Florence of Russia" .
The first Russian professional theater was established in Yaroslavl by Fyodor Volkov in 1750.
Yaroslavl was also the birthplace of the first woman astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova .
The historical part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Yaroslavl Spaso-Preobrazhensky and Uspensky Cathedrals
Spaso-Preobrazhensky ("Transfiguration of the Saviour") Cathedral is the oldest building in the city (1506-1516). It was constructed on the foundations of the original edifice dating back to the beginning of XII century. In the XVI century, the first stone wall was built around the monastery.
It is from this monastery that an army of volunteers led by Minin and Knyaz Pozharsky set out to liberate Moscow from Polish invaders.
In 1787, the monastery was closed and converted into a residence of the Yaroslavl and Rostov bishops.
The famous Tale of Igor's Campaign (Slovo o polku Igoreve), a precious gem of old Russian literature was found in Spaso-Preobrazhensky monastery.
The Uspensky Cathedral (Assumption Cathedral), was rebuilt in its current form in 2010 on the site of an earlier destroyed white stone temple of 1210s overlooking the Volga river, near the location where - by a legend - Yaroslav the Wise was said to have founded the city.
Yaroslavl St. John the Baptist Church
St. John the Baptist Church (Church of Ioann Predtechi) is considered to be the acme of the Yaroslavl school of architecture . It was built in 1671-1687 .
Its walls and dome drums are covered with richly glazed tiles; the temple's fifteen onion domes are assembled in three groups. The 7-storey, 45-metre high bell-tower was built later than the church itself in mid-1690s.
The entire interior is covered with frescoes of 1694-1695 depicting Christian saints, St. John the Baptist hagiography and biblical topics.
The church is featured on the 1000-ruble Russian banknote .
Yaroslavl Elijah the Prophet and St. Nicholas Nadein Churches
Both churches are among the most picturesque of Yaroslavl churches with some of the some of the Golden Ring's most impressive frescoes .
Church of Elijah the Prophet (Church of Ilya Prorok) was founded in the mid of XVII century. Frescos were completed by Kostroma and Yaroslavl masters in 1680—1681 under leadership of famous fresco painters Gury Nikitin and Sila Savin .
St. Nicholas Nadein (Church of Nikolai Nadein) was the first stone-made church on the territory of Yaroslavl suburb. It is the oldest of retained stone monuments belonging to Yaroslavl architecture school of the XVII century.
Inside interiors of Nikolai Nadein church were decorated with frescos, completed by 20 unknown masters under the leadership of Lyubim Ageev, from Kostroma. Nowadays, frescos of XVII century are covered with the same of XIX century.
Rostov Veliky Overview
One of the oldest Russian cities, first mentioned in the ancient chronicles of the IX century as the city, which had been existed on the shores of Nero Lake for a long time before.
Rostov was predated by Sarskoye Gorodishche, which some scholars interpret as the capital of the Merya tribe, while others believe it was an important Viking trade enclave and fortress guarding the Volga trade route.
At the beginning of the XIII century Rostov became the capital city of the Rostov principality, sooner one of the most important political, economical and cultural centers of Russia.
During the Tatar-Mongol Invasion the city was almost totally destroyed.
At the end of the XV century the city became a part of Moscow principality.
The majority of architectural monuments were built in the XVI-XVII centuries and preserved till nowadays.
Apart from its history, Rostov is renowned for its enamels.
Rostov Veliky Kremlin
After it lost its independence at the end of the XV century, Rostov was still the center of utmost importance. In the XIV Century, the bishops of Rostov became archbishops, and late in the XVI century, metropolitans. One of those metropolitans, Iona (Jonah) Sysoevich , commissioned the town's main landmark: the Kremlin that many regard as the finest outside of Moscow.
The central square of Rostov is occupied by the gross-size Assumption Cathedral (Uspensky Cathedral). The mid-XIV century is the most likely date when the present building was erected. Lower parts of the cathedral walls are dated back to the XII century. The bell-tower was constructed mostly in the XVII century. Its bells are among the largest and most famous in Russia ; each has its own name.
An area situated between the Cathedral square and the lake was chosen by Iona Sysoevich as a place for his fairy-tale residence. All the construction works were carried out between 1667 and 1694. The residence is often erroneously called the Kremlin.
Rostov Veliky Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery
Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery is situated to the left from the Rostov Kremlin.
Monastery was founded in the XIV century by St. Iakov of Rostov.
The earliest kept building of a monastery is Zachatievsky Cathedral (Cathedral of Conception of St. Anna). It has been constructed in 1686.
Another XVII century building is Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral (Savior Transfiguration Cathedral) which once belonged to the abolished Spaso-Pesotsky Monastery.
Most of the monastery structures were built in the late XVIII and early XIX centuries in the fine neoclassical style. Dimitrievsky Cathedral (Cathedral of St. Dmitry of Rostov) has been constructed in 1794-1802.
Founded in 1152 by knyaz Yuri Dolgoruky as a projected capital of Zalesye, one of the oldest among the towns of the Russian Golden Ring.
Zalessky means "behind the woods”.
In the XII-XIII centuries, the town was the center of the Principality of Pereslavl (Zalessky). In 1302, the town became a part of the Principality of Moscow.
Pereslavl-Zalessky had been devastated numerous times by the Tatae-Mongols between the mid-XIII century and the early XV century. In 1611–1612, it suffered from the Polish invasion.
It is the birthplace of the famous Russian knyaz Alexander Nevsky (Alexander defeated an army of Sweden knights in 1242 on Neva river).
Peter the Great practiced his skills in ship-building of “fun flotilla” making over 100 boats and sail vessels on the Pleshcheyevo lake, at Pereslavl.
Museum of Flat Irons, Museum of Kettles, Museum of Steam Engine Trains are located in Pereslavl.
In 1894, Vladimir Lenin came to the village of Gorki not far from Pereslavl-Zalessky.
Pereslavl-Zalessky Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, Church of Metropolitan Peter
Transfiguration of the Saviour Cathedral (Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral) was founded by knyaz Yuri Dolgoruki in 1152, and finally completed during the reign of knyaz Andrei Bololyubsky in 1157.
It is believed that kyaz Alexander Nevsky was baptised in this church.
Historically, inside interior was painted with frescoes in the mid-XII century. The only one preserved part thereof is kept with Historical Museum in Moscow.
The Cathedral is one of five white-stone cathedrals of North-East Rus’ which were build for the first time and which are well-preserved by nowadays.
Icon painted by famous Feofan Grek was part of inside interior. It is now kept with Moscow Tretiakov Gallery.
The Cathedral was part of Preselavl Kremlin, which is not retained. Except of the Cathedral few of the other Kremlin buildings have survived. The oldest one of them is the Church of Metropolitan Peter (1585). The Church is notable for its pavilion roof architecture, rare monument of XVI century architecture . Now it requires restoration and is closed for public.
Pereslavl-Zalessky Goritsky Monastery, other monasteries
Pereslavl-Zalesskiy is proud of its five monasteries which add so much to its beauty.
The oldest of them is the Goritsky Monastery said to have been founded during the time of Ivan Kalita, in the XIV century . It overlooks the Plescheevo lake and from a distance looks like a fairy-tale town. Worthy of notice in the monastery is the large seven-domed Assumption (Uspensky) Cathedral (1757) with the beautiful interior frescoes.
Other monasteries: Nikolsky monastery (founded in XIV century), Fyodorovsky monastery (founded in XV century), Nikitsky monastery (the oldest Pereslavl monastery, founded in XII century), Troitse-Danilov monastery (founded in 1508; commissioned by the Tsar Vasily III, the single-domed Trinity Cathedral was finished in 1532 in honor of the birth of Vasily's son Ivan, who was to go down in history as Tsar Ivan the Terrible).
Kleschinsky archeological complex is located on the north-west shore of the Plescheevo lake. The Kleschin town - the predecessor to Pereslavl - was located there. The XII century ramparts of earth are preserved. A famous “Blue Stone” is part of the complex. The stone has weight of 12 ton. In the very old times people worshiped to the Stone whereas it was not liked neither by the Church, nor by the public authorities. The Blue Stone was swamped, buried many times, but the Stone reverted to its original location.
“ Botik” means “small-size boat”. The Botik was part of the Peter the Great’ “fun flotilla”, built in 1692. The flotilla comprised 100 boats and sail vessels and is considered to be the forefather of the Russian fleet.
Sergiev Posad Overview
Founded in 1345, it grew up in the XV century around one of the greatest Russian monasteries, the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra (Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius) established by St. Sergius of Radonezh. The town became incorporated in 1742.
In the heart of Sergiev Posad is a well-preserved splendid architectural ensemble of over 50 historical buildings, as well as magnificent art collections including old Russian painting and the treasures in the vaults of the former Trinity Monastery.
Sergiev Posad is the host location for the only one in Russia Research Institute of Toys.
Sergiev Posad Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. Part I.
The monastery was founded in 1345 by one of the most venerated Russian saints, Sergey Radonezhsky (St. Sergius of Radonezh).
St. Sergius supported Dmitri Donskoi in his struggle against the Tatar-Mongol invaders in the Battle of Kulikovo Pole (1380) - one of turning points in Russia history.
The focal point of the Monastery is the white-stone Trinity (Troitsky) Cathedral (1422) where the relics of St. Sergius are kept.
The iconostasis of the Trinity Cathedral contains paintings by the finest Russian icon-painter Andrei Rublev , including world-famous icon “Trinity” (Troitsa), painted in 1411 and currently kept with Moscow Tretiakov Gallery.
The Church of the Holy Ghost (Bogoyavlenia) was built of brick in 1476. It is an unusual type of ecclesiastical building with the bell-tower under the dome.
The Assumption (Uspensky) Cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1559. The Cathedral is much larger than its model and namesake in the Moscow Kremlin. The magnificent iconostasis of the 16th–18th centuries of Cathedral features Simon Ushakov 's masterpiece, the icon of Last Dinner (Tainaya Vecherya).
Sergiev Posad Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. Part II.
The vault of the Assumption Cathedral contains burials of Boris Godunov , his family and several XX century patriarchs (Boris Godunov was the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605; the end of his reign saw Russia descend into the Time of Troubles).
In 1550s, 1.5 km-long stone walls were built, featuring twelve towers, which helped the monastery to withstand a celebrated 16-month Polish-Lithuanian siege in 1608–1610 .
By the end of the XVII century, when young Peter I the Great twice found refuge within the monastery from his enemies, numerous buildings had been added.
Traditionally, Muscovite royals were baptized in the Cathedral of Holly Trinity (Troitsky Cathedral).
Russian Empress Elizabeth (1741–1762) conferred on a white-and-blue baroque bell-tower, which, at 88 meters, was one of the tallest structures built in Russia up to that date.
The monastery boasted a supreme collection of old-Rus’, handwritten books, books of XV-XVII centuries, unique examples of printed books, historical documents.
Trinity Lavra is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Sergiev Posad Chernigovsky skete
A Skete is a monastic style community that allows relative isolation for monks, but also allows for communal services and the safety of shared resources and protection.
Chernigovsky skete is in 3 km away from the Lavra, on the bank of Skitsky pond. Historically, there was located Gefsimansky skete on the opposite side of the pond; it was founded in the mid of the XIX cenrtury.
The Chernigovsky Cathedral (end of the XIX century) is the center of the skete aerchitectual composition. The “cave” church build in 1851 is located beneath the Cathedral.