The Golden Ring journey usually starts with a visit to Vladimir. Vladimir was founded in 10th century and was one of the medieval capitals of Russia, with significant buildings surviving from the 12th century. It`s located about 180 km away from Moscow. The old part of Vladimir starts from the Golden Gates, the unique architectural monument and symbol of ancient defensive structure. Near the Golden Gates Museum “Old Vladimir” is located. It was the first museum in the country, placed inside the former water tower. The exhibition of the museum is devoted to local residents` life between 19th-20th centuries, and observation deck upstairs opens a beautiful city view. One more museum, which attracts a lot of tourists, is Crystal Glass and Lacquer Museum, located inside the former Trinity Old Believer Church.
Among its main sights of Vladimir is the Cathedral Hill with the Dormition Cathedral and the Cathedral of Saint Demetrius. Dormition Cathedral is famous for its ancient frescoes of magnificent Russian icon painters and relics of Great Martyrs. In Medieval Times in the cathedral the Grand Dukes were crowned and buried. Cathedral of Saint Demetrius is a beautiful white-stone Byzantine Church of the 12th century with breathtaking interior.
Not far from Vladimir in Bogolyubovo Village (also a part of the GR route) you may find a jewel of Russian medieval architecture - Church of the Intercession on the Nerl, Bogolyubovo Monastery and the former Royal Palace.
The city of Suzdal can be called an open-air museum. Just take a walk along its streets to make certain. This rather small town has an incredible number of churches (more than 40), convents and monasteries, each of which is an outstanding monument of the past, with authentic medieval ramparts and towers. Above its rural landscape rises the majestic Monastery of Saint Euthymius. Its walls are more than 1 km. (0.6 mi) long and 10 m. (33 ft.) high. The Monastery includes 6 temples, the main ones are the magnificent Transfiguration Cathedral, the Annunciation Church, the Assumption Church, and others.
In the center of Suzdal lies its oldest fortress – the Kremlin, built in 10th century. Nowadays it is a museum complex, which keeps unique masterpieces of Ancient Russian Art and Architecture. Suzdal is also famous for its Museum of Wooden Architecture, where the best wooden construction techniques (built without any nails) of 18th-19th centuries are submitted. 4 km away from Suzdal ancient white-stone Church of Boris and Gleb is located. The Church was built in 1152 and is considered to be the first white-stone construction ever built in this area.
Eight ancient architectural monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site, such as:
Cathedral of Saint Demetrius;
Church of Boris and Gleb;
Church of the Intercession on the Nerl;
Golden Ring –