10 most interesting places in Vladimir Region (PHOTOS)

One of Russia’s most ancient cities, once the center of an appanage principality, lies 200 km east of Moscow. In it and in the whole region around it, you can plunge into the rich, ancient history of Russia.

1. The Golden Gate in Vladimir

The Golden Gate in Vladimir

Today, Vladimir is a rather small provincial city, although it is the capital of the whole region. But, in the 12th-14th centuries, it was the center of mighty North-Eastern Russia. The city was attacked by enemies many times and especially suffered from the Tatar-Mongol invasion. Once, there was a powerful fortress wall, but now, only mounds and the Golden Gate remain. It is believed that, earlier, the oak doors were covered with gilding, which is where the name came from. Inside, the gate is now a museum with a military and historical exposition and a very interesting diorama of the attack of the Tatar-Mongols on the city.

Read our guide to Vladimir here.

2. The Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir

The Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir

Rich and strong Russian princes lived in Vladimir and ruled their land from there. Each of them aspired to leave behind a luxurious temple. One of such monuments of pre-Mongol Rus’ was the Dormition Cathedral built by Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky in the 12th century. Later, after a great fire, it was restored and completed by his younger brother and new prince Vsevolod the Big Nest. The stone cathedral is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and impresses with its size, complex architecture and rich interior decoration. The walls of the cathedral used to be covered with colorful frescoes by the legendary Andrei Rublev.

3. Suzdal

A wooden church in Suzdal Kremlin

The most cozy and gingerbread town in Russia, where all foreign tourists always go to get acquainted with the "real Russia", as in fairy tales. Wooden houses, cafés serving liqueurs and dishes based on ancient recipes (e.g., cabbage soup cooked in an oven and buckwheat pancakes with pike caviar). One of the main attractions of Suzdal, in addition to its ancient kremlin, is the open-air museum of wooden architecture, where you can see unique wooden churches and houses of the 18th-19th centuries.

Read more about Suzdal here.

4. Church of the Intercession on the Nerl

The Church of the Intercession on the Nerl

It is often called the most beautiful church in Russia. But, if there are many churches to compete for this title, the landscape around this church is truly fantastic. The white stone church was built in the 12th century in a lowland on a flood meadow. A hill was poured specially for it to protect it from water. On full spring days, the snow-white church is beautifully seen amidst the water. The original interior paintings have not survived, but you can see carved ornaments and bas-reliefs in the form of animals and King David.

5. Alexandrov

The Assumption Church in Alexandrov Kremlin

The fates of the country were once decided in this small town. It was here that Tsar Ivan the Terrible lived for 17 years after leaving Moscow. He ruled Russia from here (and organized the oprichnina here). The ‘Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda’ fortress replaced the Moscow Kremlin for the tsar and now you can see a reconstruction of the tsar court that used to be there. Among other exhibits, there is also a replica of Ivan's ivory throne.

6. Gus-Khrustalny

Museum of crystal in Gus Khrustalny

Gus-Khrustalny is usually referred to as the “glass capital” of Russia. In 1756, merchant Akim Maltsov built a glass factory on the Gus River. The Gus-Khrustalny crystal (which means ‘khrustalny’ in Russia) factory works even now, you can get there on an excursion. There is also a museum of crystal production and a lot of old red-brick buildings and wooden one-story houses in the city.

Read more about Gus-Khrustalny here.

7. Murom

Top view of the Oka River, the bridge and the church of St. Nicholas in the ancient Russian city of Murom

One of the oldest cities of Russia is the same age as the Russian statehood. The city on the picturesque bank of the Oka River also houses one of the oldest Russia's monasteries, the Transfiguration monastery of the late 10th - early 11th centuries. Murom is also known as the birthplace of the bogatyr Ilya Muromets. Other famous tenants were Prince Peter and his wife Fevronia, this semi-legendary holy couple has a monument in the city. They are considered to be the guardians of love, family and fidelity in Russia.

8. Petushki

John Kopiski's farm in Petushki

Petushki is worth a visit if only because it is the final departure point of the protagonist of the cult novel 'Moscow-Petushki' ('Moscow to the End of the Line'). While on route, listen to the audiobook and enjoy Venedikt Erofeev's Soviet alcoholic Odyssey. Petushki is a small town, now famous for its unusual resident, a British farmer named John Kopisky. For more than 30 years, he has had Russian citizenship, been married a Russian and a convert to Orthodoxy. There, in the middle of nowhere, he has created a whole agrotourist complex called ‘Bogdarnya’, where he makes cheese and treats his guests in his restaurant with a Russian flavor.

9. The Svyato-Vvedensky Island Monastery

The Svyato-Vvedensky Island Monastery

Monks began to settle on a small island in the very center of Lake Vvedensky in the 17th century and, soon, founded a monastery - the Intercession Holy Vvedensky Island Monastery. During Soviet times, the monastery was used for a variety of needs: there was a warehouse and a movie theater. Today, it is a newly functioning, but now it is a convent.

10. Gorokhovets

House with Mermaids in Gorokhovets

Gorokhovets is located on the very border with Nizhny Novgorod Region. Once, this town stood on the waterway from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod, which was famous for its large-scale fair. Therefore, ships with goods always stopped in Gorokhovets and merchants built houses there and invested in the construction of churches. Many of them are real masterpieces of architecture. One of the most famous buildings in the town is merchant Fedor Prishletsov's ‘terem’ - ‘The House with Mermaids’.

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