This time we will go not to the sunny coasts, but to the cool forests of Central Russia. Here we will admire the picturesque temples and fascinating views of ancient cities. The «Golden ring» is so called because of its historical and cultural value, as well as because of the large number of churches with golden domes. Here is literally the whole of Russia: the oldest preserved monuments of culture and architecture, stunning views and unique atmosphere.
Beginning of the journey
Traditionally, the «Golden ring» includes 8 cities: Sergiev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov Veliky, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Suzdal and Vladimir. Adding other points is actively discussed, but there has not been an official inclusion yet.
It is best to start your trip from Moscow: it is easy to rent a car here, and the first city of our route is very close, just 56 kilometers away.
The first settlement on the site of Posad dates back to 1337. It is not much younger than Moscow, but it has preserved a huge number of architectural monuments, the most impressive of which is the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. The huge monastery complex has more than 50 different buildings and is located around the Trinity Cathedral.
A shining example of Pskov architecture is the Cathedral of the Holy spirit. Built in 1476, it is the second oldest building of the architectural ensemble. The largest building remains the Assumption Cathedral, built in the period from 1559 to 1585. It is a copy of the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.
Pereslavl-Zalessky, like Moscow, was founded by Yuri Dolgoruky. The first settlement appeared in 1152 on the shore of the stunning Pleshcheyev lake. Now there’s also a national park, which we strongly recommend visiting. In addition, the lake is home to the Pereslavl vendace, a fish that adorns the city's coat of arms and flag. Now vendace is listed in the red book, but before it was regularly served to the Tsar’s table.
The city is famous for its monasteries. There are 6 of them, 4 of which are still active, and one is completely converted into a Museum. Speaking of museums. There is also a huge number of them here, so if you love history, it's better to stay in Pereslavl for 2-3 days and go around them all, especially since there is definitely something to see here.
Many people confuse Rostov Veliky with its «namesake» — Rostov-on-Don. In fact, this small town is part of the Yaroslavl region. Nevertheless, Rostov is one of the largest centers of cultural tourism and pilgrimage and is even included in the special program of Russia and Europe for the protection of cultural heritage.
The main attraction is Rostov Kremlin, majestically towering over the modern streets. There is a unique belfry, which gave rise to a huge number of musical works of the XVII-XIX centuries. A special feature of this instrument is a set of 15 bells that have a unique sound. The largest of them, “Sysoy”, weighs 32 tons. Other large bells of the complex also have their own names: Polyeleiny, Swan, Golodar, Ram, Red, Goat and Nabatny.
The oldest city on Volga. Founded in 1010, it is almost 140 years older than the capital. Yaroslavl is considered the heart of the «Golden ring», with more than 140 architectural monuments located on its territory, and the city itself impresses with its beauty and variety of buildings.
It is not surprising that since 2005 the center of Yaroslavl is considered a special cultural heritage site and is protected by UNESCO. Of course, the oldest buildings have not been preserved to this day. However, the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral was rebuilt on the Foundation of the XIII century.
No less remarkable is another example of a masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture — the Church of Elijah the Prophet. Founded in 1647, it rises in its simple, yet elegant and unusual, form. The Church complex is complemented by two snow-white tents, but the most valuable is inside. All the free space is decorated with numerous frescoes that tell not only about the gospel stories, but also about the life of the Prophet Elijah and his disciple Elisha.
Before travelling further, we recommend visiting the Church of St. John the Baptist, the peak of architecture of the XVII century. If you don't believe us — trust UNESCO, they also strongly advise tourists to see this structure.
The old part of this river city, which is the middle of our route, has preserved the features of the master plan signed by Catherine II. The streets of the city have a ray structure and are opened in the direction of Volga. Kostroma is famous for its old buildings in the style of provincial classicism.
The key monument, as you may have guessed, is considered to be the Ipatiev monastery, founded in 1330. It includes two sectors: the old and new cities, each surrounded by monumental stone buildings.
Russians call Ivanovo the “Town of brides”, but it is also the largest (after Moscow and St. Petersburg) center of constructivism. Constructivism is an architectural style popular in the 1920s and 1930s. There are no ancient monasteries or temples, but there are enough monuments of industrial history, as well as many museums that will help you get better acquainted with the history of the city and track the key stages of its development.
Did you miss the churches? Now there will be a lot of them, get ready.
Suzdal is one of the most ancient cities in Russia. Archaeologists note that the central part, the Suzdal Kremlin, existed in the X century. The Kremlin is surrounded by moats and ramparts that have survived to our time, includes a whole complex of ancient architecture and a museum located in one of the buildings.
Suzdal doesn't end at the Kremlin. There are so many architectural ensembles that sometimes you wonder where is the city itself? We also recommend you to visit the monasteries of: Saint Euthymius; Intercession; Alexander; of the Deposition; Vasilevsky.
The last but not least city of the Golden ring. Vladimir is entirely considered a monument of the Vladimir-Suzdal school of architecture.
The most famous and protected buildings are:
- Golden gate
- Assumption cathedral
- Dmitrievsky Cathedral
- Cathedral Of The Assumption Of The Virgin
- Cathedral Of St. Nicholas
- White stone churches
239 buildings in Vladimir are protected by the state. It is clear that it is impossible to visit everything even during a week of stay in the city, so it is best to stay in a hotel for 2-3 days and enjoy the most famous buildings. Don't forget to take photos as a keepsake: you can then show them off to your friends and these architectural monuments will be recognized even abroad.
Our unique «temple» route lasts for 732 kilometers. Calculate your time so that you get to the city before dark: architecture is best viewed in natural light, with the onset of darkness, the details are blurred and the entertainment of structures disappears.
Make sure to stay in the cities where you want to stay in advance. Hotels are cheap, and you can always look for accommodation on couchsurfing.
Bring a set of warm clothes if you don't plan to travel in the summer. It can be quite cold near rivers and lakes, as well as in forests.
Use promocode LOVEVIP to get a 5% discount on GetRentacar.com