Russia’s Golden Ring — a circuit of picturesque and ancient towns northeast of Moscow, featuring glittering onion-domed churches, kremlins, monasteries and medieval fortresses. The 740-kilometer circle route combines the landscape of Russian culture and history of the 12th–18th centuries, with its dramatic events, struggle for political and religious power.
Distances between the principal cities of Golden Ring do not exсeed 100km and indeed most of them are located within 60km to 100km of each other.
Former capital of mediaeval Russia and unofficial capital Golden Ring, Vladimir is the most significant historical centre in the Golden Ring of ancient cities, boasting three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Golden Gates, crowned by a tiny church – Vladimir’s symbol since 1164, the stone-carved Cathedral of St. Demetrius and the Assumption Cathedral.
Vladimir is not just a perfect destination for a weekend escape from Moscow, but also a great base camp for trips to neighbouring towns and villages too.
Just 16 miles from Vladimir, Suzdal is one of the most striking and unique cities in Russia by escaping industrialisation and preserving its ancient monuments. Eleven monasteries have been built here since the 16th century and for the last 250 years the town’s borders have remained virtually unchanged. The distinctive feature of this museum-city are its quiet, narrow streets, old wooden houses, and large number of churches.
The heart of Russian Orthodoxy. The Trinity Lavra of St Sergius (or Troitse-Sergieva Lavra) is one of the largest Orthodox monasteries in the world and a major tourist attraction. Founded in the 14th century, it is still an active monastery and the premier religious site in Russia.
Oldest of all towns on the Volga, deep in heritage, the Transfiguration monastery founded in the 11th century, was a favourite of Ivan the Terrible and is now a museum. It is also part of the city’s large Museum Reserve. Here you can walk along the banks of Europe’s longest river, the Volga, the longest river in Europe. The Governor’s house museum has an excellent collection of the Yaroslavl school of icon painting and the Music and Time Museum has the country’s largest collection of antique record players, vinyl records and clocks.
Founded in 1152 at the conjunction of the Volga and Kostroma rivers by Yury Dolgoruky (no less the founder of Moscow too). The wonder of Kostroma is the Ipatiev Monastery, built in the 16th century then to play out a key role in Russian history. For here was the “cradle of Romanov dynasty” where the first Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov was anointed to reign. Kostroma is one of the best places in Russia to enjoy the old wooden buildings richly decorated and adorned. In this open – air museum of the 16th – 18th centuries visitors can take in wooden objects such as windmills, peasants izby (huts), Russian bath houses, and chapels made solely of wood.