Founded in the 12th century by Prince Bogolyubsky, the ancient city of Vladimir is famous for its carved white-stone cathedrals, monasteries and monuments, which together make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Showcasing Russia’s rich history, Vladimir is the perfect starting point on any Golden Ring tour.
Things to do
Admire the Assumption Cathedral, set dramatically high above the Klyazma River. Constructed in 1160, the magnificent pre-Mongol cathedral is the legacy of Prince Bogolyubsky. Marvel at this Heritage-listed site’s golden baroque iconostasis, colorful peacock murals and exquisite Last Judgement frescoes.
Dive into the city’s rich history at the Old Vladimir Museum. The redbrick former water tower showcases everyday artifacts ranging from old clocks and stopwatches to embroidery and bronze keys. After browsing the exhibit, climb to the observation deck for panoramic views of Vladimir.
Walk through the famous Golden Gate, initially constructed in 1158 as a defensive guard. Venture up the narrow stone staircase to the Golden Gate Military Museum to see 13th-century armor and weapons. Afterward, stroll along Georgievskaya Ulitsa, a charming pedestrianized street filled with pavement cafes.
Admire the masterfully carved exterior of the Cathedral of Saint Demetrius, considered the gem of Vladimir's stone architecture. The facade is covered in a profusion of intricately carved images, including Alexander the Great ascending to heaven and King David playing music. The cathedral’s creator, Prince Vsevolod III, can also be found on the walls beside his 14 children.
Fly into Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow and take a three-hour train to Vladimir. As the beginning of the famous Tran-Siberian Railway, Vladimir is accessible from most major cities in Russia by train or bus. Once in Vladimir, the historic city center is easily explored on foot.
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