WHAT IS IT: The so-called "Gold Ring of Russia" is a symbolic ring that connects historic cities and cities to the northwest of Moscow. They represent 1000 years of rich Russian history, written in stone and wood, from an 850-year-old church in Rostov to a 19th-century log house in the Suzdal outdoor museum. Each of the "golden" cities ever played an important role in the history of Russia and is connected in one way or another with famous historical figures such as Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and many others.
WHAT TO SEE: The cities and towns of the Golden Ring are listed here in alphabetical order:
Alexandrov (founded in 1530, population 68,000) – The city is located 100 km from Moscow at the crossroads of ancient roads of Russia's largest historical centers – Vladimir and Suzdal, Rostov and Yaroslavl, Sergiev Posad and Pereyaslav-Zaleski. From 1564 to 1581 the town was the residence of Ivan the Terrible. The first publishing house in Russia was established in Alexandrov in 1576. One of the leading textile centers for textile production in Russia in the 19th century.
Bogolyubovo (founded in 990, population 4000) is a small quiet town near the city of Vladimir. The city is named after the Russian prince Andrei Bogolubsky (God-loving), who built the first fortified settlement here in 1165. Tourists can see the remains of Ander Bogolubski's residence, including some 12th-century residential chambers and the beautiful Church of the Protection of the Virgin Mary (Nerd). 1165), which is considered one of the finest examples of ancient Russian architecture.
Gorokhovets (founded in 1239, population 30,000) – The city was founded by Vladimir Prince Andrei Bogolubski. The town is picturesquely situated on the high bank of the Klyazma River. He played a role as a fortified pre-bloom until the 1600s. In the 17th century it reached its development as a local center for blacksmithing, textiles and leather goods, as well as an agricultural center for grain and flax.
Gus-Khrustalny (founded in 1756, population 80,000) – More than 200 years ago, a merchant built the first glass-casting shop here. Today the city is one of the regional centers of the Vladimir region, well known in Russia and abroad as a national center for glass production. The name Gus-Krustalny can be literally translated as the Crystal Goose. The old part of the city has been a working village since the 1900s. with its own church of St. Joachim since 1816.
Holui (founded in 1650, population 1000) – The village of Holui began producing lacquered miniatures only in the 1930s, and although iconography was an important trade in the region in previous centuries, Holui was never associated with any a specific artistic tradition. Rather, the Cholu miniatures share some features with both Palekh's and Mstera's art, but still maintain a peculiar lyrical quality. Sometimes, as with Paleh's miniatures, Holui's miniatures will include some fine gold and / or silver ornaments within the painting, and Holui painters can create fantastic ornaments on a border equal to those of Paleh.
Kostroma (founded in 1213, population 300,000) – In the past, Kostroma was known as the "flax capital of the north"; it has delivered to Europe the best canvas in the world. The city is also called "the cradle of the Romanov dynasty". Mikhail Romanov, the first of the Romanov dynasty, left the Ipatiev monastery for Moscow in 1613 to become king of Russia. During the Polish intervention in the turbulent years of the early seventeenth century, Kostroma was a significant support for the resistance movement. Today Kostroma is an important industrial center (textile, metal products), the capital of the province of Kostroma.
Mstera (founded in 1628, population 6,000) – the town bears its name from the small Mstjerka River, which flows through it, merging with Kliazma. It is located in the Vladimir district, but not far from the border with the Ivanovo district, south of Palekh and Hollow, breathtakingly beautiful nature – the one that forms the background of his paintings. Mstera was a respected icon-making center until the prohibition of trade after the 1917 revolution. Since then, its artists have created world-renowned masterpieces in the form of lacquered miniatures.
Murom (founded 862, population 145,000) is one of the oldest Russian citations extending along the left bank of the Oka River. The name of the town comes from "Murom", one of the Finno-Ugric tribes who lived here 15 centuries ago. Every Russian knows the name of Ilya Muromets. He was a mythical epic hero defending the people of Russia, and later became synonymous with a superior physical and spiritual strength and integrity dedicated to defending the homeland. The city has experienced three Mongol invasions. In the 17th century, Murom became an important center of various crafts – construction, painting, saw.
Palekh (founded 1600, population 6000) – The village is located about 400 km (250 miles) from Moscow in the Ivanovo area. In the 15th century, it was one of the first centers of trade in icon-painting. After the communist upheaval of 1917, when the iconic business collapsed, craftsmen from Palermo tried to decorate wooden toys, utensils, porcelain and glass. Nowadays, the name of Palekh is almost synonymous with the art of Russian lacquer.
Pereslavl-Zaleski (founded in 1152, population 45,000) – one of the oldest Russian cities, the birthplace of the famous Russian prince Alexander Nevsky, who defeated an army of German knights in 1242. Zaleski means "behind the woods." It is there that, behind the dense forests, the ancient Slavic tribes retreat, seeking refuge from hostile nomads coming from the Southeast.
Ples (founded in 1410, population 4,000) – this lovely little historic town is located on the banks of the mighty and beautiful Volga River. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible Dance was one of the largest suppliers of river companies to the kings & # 39; court. In the 18th-19th centuries the city became known as a popular resort and was often called "Russian Switzerland" because of its beauty of nature. Numerous Russian artists, including the famous landscape master Levitan, came here to work.
Rostov the Great (Rostov the Great, founded in 862, population 40,000) – another pearl of ancient Russian culture. In ancient Russia, only two cities were called big ones. One was Novgorod, the famous trade center in northern Russia, the other was Rostov. In the 12th century, Rostov expanded to Kiev and Novgorod in size and importance. Modern Rostov is a sleepy old town with several magnificent buildings next to the shallow lake of Nero.
Sergiev Posad (founded in 1345, population 115,000) – the spiritual center of Russia, the residence of the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, where the remains of the first national saint, Sergei Radonezh. At the heart of Sergiev Posad is a well-preserved magnificent architectural ensemble of more than 50 historic buildings, as well as magnificent art collections, including old Russian painting and treasures in the vaults of the former Troyan Monastery.
Suzdal (founded in 1024, population 12,000) – this small tranquil town is a real gem, one of the most beautiful in the collection of cities and towns of the Golden Ring. In the 11th century, Suzdal became the first precursor of Christianity in northeastern Russia and greatly influenced religious life in Russia until the late 19th century. Here you can find over 100 church and secular buildings from the mid-12th to mid-19th century, crowded over an area of 9 square km.
Uglich (founded in 937, population 38,000) – the city was built on a major commercial route. In his story, Uglich survived the destruction of the Mongols and survived the devastation of fires and sores. Uglich is known for Russia's darkest secret – the death of young prince Dimitri, son of Ivan the Terrible, often called Tsarevich (heir to the throne) Dmitri. The city center is also a historical and architectural landmark. The streets are wide, with different churches standing side by side.
Vladimir (founded in 1108, population 400,000) – one of the oldest Russian cities, was founded by Russian Prince Vladimir Monomakh on the banks of the Klyzma River. The city really flourished in the 12th century during the reign of Prince Andrei Bogolubski, who strengthened his defenses, welcomed architects, painters, jewelers from other countries, built new palaces and churches so magnificent that travelers compared them to those of "the mother of all Russian cities "- Kiev. Until the middle of the fourteenth century, the city was the administrative, cultural and religious center of northeast Russia.
Yaroslavl (founded in 1010, population 600,000) – According to legend, it was founded by the famous Russian prince Yaroslav the Wise as a fortified settlement on the Volga River. After a huge fire of 1658 that turned most of the city into ruins, Yaroslavl was restored to stone and reached the apex of its architectural development with palaces and churches richly decorated with beautiful murals and ornaments, thus winning the title " Florence of Russia ". Today it is a quiet metropolitan city, one of Russia's largest regional centers, the capital of the Yaroslavl province and one of the most beautiful cities of ancient Russia.
Yuriev-Polsky (founded in 1152, population 20,000) – was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky (who also founded Moscow in 1147) and was named after himself. The second word "Polish" means "among the fields" as it is located in the heart of fertile and flat Suzdal land. These beautiful landscapes inspired great artists and writers such as Repin, Tyutchev, Odoevsky, Soluchin. 18th Century Local Textile Center.
HOW TO GET THERE: A plane to Moscow. From Moscow, you can travel to the cities and towns of the Golden Ring, either by tourist bus or by river cruise ship. The last option limits the number of cities you can visit as they must be located near the Volga River. We recommend that you take a bus tour for 3 to 10 days, depending on your stamina and level of interest in Russian history. A typical 3-4 day tour of Moscow covers up to 7 cities and towns of the Golden Ring. You travel during the day on a comfortable bus with a well-trained English speaking guide and overnight in hotels with Western services (usually 3 stars). A tour of the Golden Ring can be perfectly combined with a 2-3 day program in Moscow. Almost every major travel agency in Moscow sells Golden Ring tours and it is much cheaper to buy them on the spot in Russia, then buy a tour included in a vacation package from Europe or abroad. Communication is not a problem, these officials at reputable agencies in Russia today speak English.
WHEN TO USE: The best season to travel to Russia is the summer, June to August, the warmest time of year there. Rain is common in the summer, be sure to pack your umbrella. The weather can be unpredictably cold, even in the European part of Russia, so grab some warm clothes. You can check the weather forecast for Moscow next week here.
TRAVEL TIPS: Passport and Russian visa are required to travel or travel through Russia. To learn more about obtaining a Russian visa, please visit the website of the Russian Embassy. Without a visa, passengers cannot register at hotels and may be required to leave the country immediately on the route they have taken on behalf of the passenger. Russian customs officers strictly comply with the provisions of the documents, so travelers are advised to have all the documents in order. It is also recommended that additional copies of your passport and visa be kept in a safe place in case of loss or theft. Older passengers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inappropriate healthcare facilities. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash / dollar payments for Western-style health care services, so supplementary medical coverage with specific coverage abroad is very useful. Travelers should make sure that all immunizations are up to date, especially for diphtheria and typhoid fever. The quality of tap water varies from city to city, but is usually quite poor. Only boiled or bottled water should be drunk throughout Russia. Crime against foreigners in Russia continues to be a problem, especially in major cities. Pockets of choice, assaults and robberies are selected. Foreigners who have drunk alcohol are especially vulnerable to attacks and robberies in or around nightclubs or bars or on the way home. Robberies can occur in taxis shared with strangers. Keep in mind that public laundries are hard to find and you usually have to pay there. To use a public phone, you will need a token or a local card. International calls cannot be made by street telephones. Your mobile phone will work in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but rarely in regional cities. A taxi fare should be discussed with the driver before traveling.
In big cities you can rent a car if you don't mind the relatively rough road conditions, a few headaches to find gasoline, get lost from time to time and pay a high rental price. Public transport in Russia is quite good, cheap and easy to use, though sometimes overcrowded. Restaurants rarely have an English menu. Typing is expected but not required. English signs are common on the streets of Moscow and other major cities. In big cities, it's not hard to find a passerby to answer your questions in English. Electricity throughout Russia is 220 volts / 50 hz. The plug is a two-wire thin European standard.
We wish you a safe and enjoyable trip!