Vladimir is a part of the Golden Ring, a famous chain of Old Russian cities. Vladimir is famous for its monuments of architecture, representing Vladimir and Suzdal architectural school. The most important architectural monuments include the Golden Gates, the Assumption Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. Demetrius. The village of Bogolubovo located nearby is known for the Church of Intercession on the Nerl River.
According to the different sources Vladimir was founded either in 990 or 1108. In the middle of the 12th Century Vladimir became a capital of the rich Suzdal and Vladimir Principality. Earth ramparts with oak walls were built around the city while the main entrance was protected by the Golden Gates which are still one of the landmarks of Vladimir. The gold-domed Dormition Cathedral was constructed at the same time. Later in 1238 Vladimir was captured and burnt by Tatar-Mongol hordes. In the 14th Century Vladimir came under the rule of Moscow. For a long time it remained a provincial town on the road from Moscow to Siberia. In the Soviet times many industrial enterprises were built. Nowadays Vladimir is the administrative centre of Vladimir region with the population of about 360000 inhabitants.
The Golden Gates
The Golden Gates of Vladimir were built between 1158 and 1164 on the western side of the city, between the earth ramparts and wooden walls which were protecting the city from the enemies.
The Gates survived the Mongol destruction of Vladimir in 1238 and later military attacks. Nowadays it is the only remained example of the ancient Russian city gates. Such gates also existed in the holiest cities of Eastern Orthodoxy - Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Kiev but they were destroyed.
There is a small museum inside the gate-church on the top of the gates devoted to the history of defense of Vladimir. The exposition includes diorama of Vladimir siege by the Mongol horde in 1238, cold weapons and fire arms, weapons of the WW2, photos and private items of Vladimir heroes of the 20th Century.
Opening hours (subject to change):
Opened daily 10:00 - 18:00 except for Thursdays and last Friday of a month.
The Dormition Cathedral
The magnificent five-dome Dormition Cathedral was designed as a sepulcher of grand princes and was dedicated to the holy icon of Vladimir Theotokos, which had been brought as a gift to to the city by Andrew the Pious. The Cathedral was constructed in 1158-1160. Already at the end of the 12th century the Dormition Cathedral was rebuilt and expanded. At the same time the interior of the cathedral was painted by famous icon-painters. Later in the 15th century it was repainted by one of the most famous icon-painters - Andrei Rublev. Nowadays we see some fragments of those frescoes, as the cathedral was again repainted in the 19th Century. In 1810 a lofty bell-tower in the neoclassical style was added to the architectural ensemble.
Opening hours (subject to change):
Guided excursions are possible daily 13:00 - 16:45 except for Monday. The Cathedral belongs to the Church and is opened from morning till evening.
The Cathedral of St. Demetrius
The Cathedral of St. Demetrius was built in 1194-1197 as a private chapel of Prince Vsevolod the Big Nest in the courtyard of his palace and was consecrated in the name of his holy patron, St. Demetrius Solounsky.
For all its formal unity, the cathedral represents a magnificent work of Russian and Byzantine masters.
The cathedral is famous for its extremely rich white-stone carvings. There are about 600 reliefs of the walls. They represent figures of lions, centaurs, snow-leopards etc. The decorations include figures from the Bible. Above the left window of the north wall one can see a description of Prince Vsevolod himself.
Inside of the Cathedral of St. Demetrius one can observe the frescoes of the 12th century.
Opening hours (subject to change):
daily 10:00 - 16:00 (on some days until 17:00) in winter, 11:00 - 17:00 (on some days until 18:00) in summer, closed on Tuesday and last Wednesday of a month. In order to preserve frescoes the Cathedral can be closed on wet days.
The Church of Intercession on the Nerl River in Bogolubovo
The Church on the Nerl River is a unique architectural monument representing Vladimir and Suzdal School of cathedral construction. It is located near the ancient village of Bogolubovo in Vladimir region.
It was built in 1158 and consecrated in honor of the holiday of Intercession of the Virgin.
The exterior of the Church is decorated with the stone carvings representing saints and animals, similar to those on the Cathedral of St. Demetrius in Vladimir. Frescoes were lost and currently one can see only a few modern icons inside of the Church.
The Church is a working church and regular services take place there.
The Church is located by the Nerl and Klyazma Rivers and is not accessible by car. One should cross the railroad and walk about 1 km over the meadow. In spring the path can be flooded. The meadow "Bogolubskiy Lug" is a protected natural area.
Opening hours (subject to change)::
The Church of Intercession on the Nerl is usually opened daily but it belongs to the Church and can be closed for tourists on the church holidays, etc., without a prior notice.
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