If we call Moscow the heart of Russia, we can undoubtedly call the Golden Ring its necklace. The Golden Ring is a unique heritage of ancient Russia. It consists of the famous ancient cities and towns in central Russia to the east of Moscow. These places are an important part of Russian culture. The Golden Ring encompasses the territory where the main events of Russian history occurred and the Russian nation was consolidated. This tour will give you a wonderful chance to become acquainted with Russia’s past, culture and traditions.
Meanwhile, here is a short introduction to the Golden Ring places you would be visiting.
Vladimir bears the name of its founder, Prince Vladimir Monomach. In 1108, on the high bank of the Klyazma River, a fortress was built, which soon grew into a town. It rapidly expanded and become the capital of North-Eastern Russia in the 12th century. Its unique architectural masterpieces together with its cultural and artistic monuments tell of the profound spiritual life of the Russian people, the artistry of Russian builders, painters and craftsmen. The main entrance to the city is guarded by the Golden Gate (1164). The walls of the distinguished-looking Assumption Cathedral (1158-1161) carry the inimitable frescoes of Andrey Rublev. The Cathedral of Dmitry (1197) has a wondrously festive look with its intricate lace of carved stone bas-reliefs. There are many more interesting sights here, but the town appeals because of its peaceful atmosphere and its big contrast with big cities.
This calm Russian town, first mentioned in chronicles in the 11th century, is considered to be one of the best preserved Russian towns. No other town possesses as many splendid specimens of Russian architecture of different epochs whilst retaining its original character and appearance. The hilly green town is very seductive, walking around is a pleasure, the monasteries and old beautiful churches offer dream views. You can even camp freely along the small river ‘Kamenka’ that goes through the town, or next to the Kremlin or next to a monastery.
A very inviting and attractive town, located on the Volga river. Kostroma played a particular role in Russian history as the birthplace of the Romanov Dynasty. In 1613, the boyars gathering at the Ipatiev Monastery blessed the young Mikhail Romanov to become the Tzar of Russia. Kostroma has preserved its peculiar image of a Russian city. It is also famous for its Fire-Watch Tower (the symbol of the town) and ancient churches like the Church of the Resurrection with the 16th century iconostasis. The contemporary Kostroma is a picturesque city with a strong historical atmosphere.
Yaroslavl got its name from Yaroslav Mudry, who founded the town in the beginning of the 11th century, at the place where the Volga river meets the Kotorosl. Many poetic pages have been devoted to Yaroslavl, to the city’s inimitable architecture, the heroic past of the city and its famous craftsmen and stone-masons, potters and blacksmiths, painters and sculptors. They created numerous churches, each one of which immerses contemporary visitors with striking and original beauty.
Yaroslavl today is a large city, the biggest along the Golden Ring, but the original and extremely picturesque corners of the ancient Yaroslavl are still preserved. The entire panorama of the Kotorosl embankment consists of a chain of magnificent, unique churches culminating in the monumental and majestic ensemble of the white-stone Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, behind which rises the fine red-brick silhouette of the Church of the Apparition of Christ. The ancient Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery now houses one of the most extensive museums of early Russian architecture, icon painting, ethnography and folk arts.
An ancient Russian town located on lake Nero. The history of this place started 4 thousand years BC, when the first tribes settled next to the lake. Until the 11th century, the territory of Rostov was inhabited by the Finn-Ugors ‘Meryans’ people, and the city of Rostov was founded by them (it is known since the 9th century). Starting with 1207, Rostov became a principality and, after joining Moscow in 1474, it became a religious centre for the Moscow principality.
The Rostov Kremlin, which is one of the most impressive monuments of the Golden Ring, was built in the 17th century as the Metropolitan’s residence. Today, the Kremlin houses a museum exhibiting the furnishings of the Metropolitans’ dining-room and study, the icons of the 15-17th centuries, and the famous Rostov enamels. The architectural monuments of Rostov include the Cathedral of the Assumption and the Bell Tower (1682-1687). The largest of the famous Rostov bells weighs 32,000 kg and the sound of its chimes can be heard at the distance of 20 km from the town.
The town was founded by prince Yury Dolgoruky. It is located halfway between Moscow and Yaroslavl, about 130 km North-East of Moscow on the bank of Pleshcheevo Lake. Here, in 1693, young Peter the Great constructed a “funny fleet” which became a prototype of the first Russian fleet on the Baltic sea. Pleshcheevo Lake received the status of national park in 1988.
The town of Sergiev Posad got its name from Saint Serguis, who was born in the neighbouring town of Radonezh and in the middle of the 14th century founded the largest and most famous Russian monastery. That monastery, known as the Holy Trinity-St.Sergius Lavra (the word “lavra” in Greek means the most significant monastery), is now something like a Russian Vatican. The place holds the Theological Seminary, the largest library of religious literature, the famous icons, historical and artistic treasures.
The architectural complex of Trinity-St.Sergius Lavra was developed in the course of several centuries. The oldest church on its territory is the Holy Trinity Cathedral (1422-1423) famous for its icons painted by the renowned icon painter Andrey Rublev and the 17th century frescoes.