Destinations Europe Russia

Visiting the Golden Ring City of Suzdal

If you read any tourist guide book about visiting Moscow or Russia, you will come across The Golden Ring. The Golden Ring is a collection of historic cities north-east of Moscow. It is in these cities that you can see and experience old Russia. The jewel of these cities is without a doubt Suzdal. Visiting the Golden Ring city of Suzdal is possible in a day trip from Moscow but I think it makes more sense to stay a night here and to take your time exploring.

 

The Kremlin

The Kremlin dates from the 10th century and is the oldest part of the city. Originally, like other Kremlin’s in Russia, is was a fortress and was used for religious and administration tasks in the city. The Kremlin became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

The Cathedral of the Nativity was originally built in 1102 and is a World Heritage Site. The Cathedral was destroyed and rebuilt in 1222. Later, stone walls where replaced with brick and an additional two domes added.

 

Visiting the Golden Ring city of Suzdal

Visiting the Golden Ring city of Suzdal

 

The Kremlin viewed from The Spaso-Evfimiyev Monastery

The Kremlin viewed from The Spaso-Evfimiyev Monastery

 

Viewing The Kremlin from the frozen river

Viewing The Kremlin from the frozen river

 

A cloudy day

A cloudy day

 

The Cathedral of the Nativity

The Cathedral of the Nativity

 

Simple Church which sits next to the Cathedral

Simple Church which sits next to the Cathedral

 

The Church at night

The Church at night

 

Walking around at nighttime

Walking around at nighttime

 

 

Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life

The museum features churches, homes and buildings showing how Russian people lived 300 years ago. The Church of the Transfiguration is a church from 1756 which was moved from the village of Kozlyatyev.

 

Entrance to the museum

Entrance to the museum

 

The Church of the Transfiguration

The Church of the Transfiguration

 

It is common in Russia to have a church for summer months and another for winter

It is common in Russia to have a church for summer months and another for winter

 

View of the church and wooden walls from outside the museum

View of the church and wooden walls from outside the museum

 

Rizopolozhensky Monastery

The Rizopolozhensky Monastery in the oldest of the 5 monasteries in the town, dating from 1207. The monastery was heavily damaged between 1923-31 and is currently undergoing much needed restoration work.

 

The gates to the monastery

The gates to the monastery

 

The Bell tower inside the gates

The Bell tower inside the gates

 

Bell tower being restored

Bell tower being restored

 

Some restoration works are much needed at the monastery

Some restoration works are much needed at the monastery

 

 

Spaso-Evfimiyev Monastery / The Saviour Monastery of St. Euthymius

The monastery was founded in the 14th century. Inside the walls, you find the Assumption Church, a bell tower and the seven-domed Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour.

 

The walls overlooking the Kamenka River

The walls overlooking the Kamenka River

 

The walls along Suzdals main street - Ulitsa Lenina

The walls along Suzdals main street – Ulitsa Lenina

 

The Trading Arcades

The Trading Arcades of Suzdal were built between 1806-1811 on a square which became known as Torgovaya Ploschad (Trading Square). Originally they were filled by merchant stalls but now they are separate cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops. On the streets now, there are market stalls with people selling souvenirs, food and drinks.

 

Trading Arches at night with Christmas tree

Trading Arches at night with Christmas tree

 

Saint Antipius and Saint Lazarus churches

Saint Antipius church is from 1745 and Saint Lazarus, with 5 black domes, is from 1667.

 

The Churches of Saint Antipius and Saint Lazarus

The Churches of Saint Antipius and Saint Lazarus

 

 

Resurrection Church

The Resurrection Church is from 1720. The church is in the centre of the town and there are lots of market stalls in front of it where it seems you can buy anything! You can see the shadow of the Christmas tree on the side of the Church.

 

The Resurrection Church

The Resurrection Church

 

Walking the Streets

One fun thing to do is to just walk the streets. If you visit the city in winter, you can see sleighs and walk along the frozen river. If you love architecture, you will love just walking around Suzdal.

 

The street that I stayed on

The street that I stayed on

 

My next door neighbours

My next door neighbours

 

Random building in the city

Random building in the city

 

Old soviet-era cars are still everywhere in Russia

Old soviet-era cars are still everywhere in Russia

 

Along with some other old fashioned means of transport

Along with some other old fashioned means of transport

 

Sleigh ride through the city

Sleigh ride through the city

 

If you need a break from the big city chaos that is Moscow, or you are traveling further east in Russia, then I can fully recommend visiting the golden ring city of Suzdal. It was certainly a highlight of my time in Russia. What do you think of  Suzdal? Would you like to go here? You can read more about Suzdal here and how to get to Suzdal.

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Miranda
    May 18, 2018 at 16:38

    I love seeing and reading about really old buildings, like the Rizopolozhensky Monastery. It still looks in great shape for having been around since 1207! In the US our “old” buildings are most likely from just the 1800s haha, so we’re always amazing by anything older than the 1700s lol

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 31, 2018 at 00:00

      Haha, if you like really old buildings then there is a bar in Ireland that dates back to 900AD!

  • Reply
    Rosie Fluskey
    May 17, 2018 at 22:44

    What a beautiful place it is. I’m surprised at how much space there is there, and how rise it all is. I love the black domed church, it must have looked really striking against the white snow. Plus, I’ve never seen a wooden church before! Did you get to see inside?

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 30, 2018 at 23:58

      Hey Rosie, it really is very beautiful. I didn’t get to go inside though, I was enjoying being outside in the snow taking pictures and enjoying the atmosphere of the town too much.

  • Reply
    Renata - www.byemyself.com
    May 17, 2018 at 10:00

    This is a beautiful post certainly showing Russia’s pretty sides – like in Tolstoy’s novels. That you took the pictures in winter adds even more atmosphere to it. Although I find the architecture and the culture very beautiful, I still wait a bit before going to Russia – their politics especially towards minorities, journalists etc. are pretty off putting.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 30, 2018 at 23:52

      Thank you. Yeah I understand what you mean. I have some friends in Russia and I always describe things like this as “politics and bullshit”, things which normal, everyday people don’t care about too much. I was able to support some small, family run businesses too.

  • Reply
    Heather
    May 16, 2018 at 05:09

    I was in Moscow last summer for one day only. It was a day trip from St Petersburg (a LONG day trip I might add). So, of course, I haven’t heard of the golden city of Suzdal, but I would definitely like to visit after seeing all of the buildings in Moscow. I thoroughly love Russian architecture! It’s why I wanted to visit Russia to start with. The sleigh ride looked absolutely gorgeous and the sleigh definitely kept in line with all things Russian! And all the snow too! Your blue hour photos are gorgeous too!

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 30, 2018 at 23:49

      Thank you very much! Russia had been on my list for so many years. I am glad that I finally went there, even if the cold was a little hard at times. But then, for me, you associate snow and cold weather with Russia so it was the best time to go. Wow, a one day trip from St Petersburg. That would be a really long day, even with the Sapsan trains!

  • Reply
    Anja
    May 15, 2018 at 12:15

    Your wintry photos of Suzdal are just what I imagine Russia looks like- wooden churches, colorful rooftops, and an air of melancholy. I would love to take a walk around this town, and then tuck into a local restaurant for a bowl of warm borscht.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 30, 2018 at 23:47

      I know exactly what you mean!

  • Reply
    https://egodiary.com
    May 14, 2018 at 11:00

    This is such a great place to experience rural Russia, as you also said. I have never travelled to any russian city, but hope to at least get to see someday Moscow and S. Petersburg.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 30, 2018 at 11:35

      I would also recommend a visit to Kazan. It was probably my favourite city in all of Russia!

  • Reply
    Lena
    May 13, 2018 at 09:51

    Looking at your photos it looks as cold as expected in Russia. But a visit to the golden ring and the city of Suzdal seems like a great place to learn about Russias history.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 30, 2018 at 10:15

      It defiantly is. And believe me, this was cold but Siberia was even colder!

  • Reply
    Kemi
    May 13, 2018 at 05:41

    Never heard of Suzdal but then, Russia is massive. Is every building wooden? Or is that just the facade and there’s something sturdier within? I’m sure they’re used to the freeze, though. Oh, I’d love to go on a sleigh ride in winter too.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 30, 2018 at 10:13

      Oh it really is. You appreciate this when you are on a train for over 12 hours between two cities! From my experience, larger buildings tend to have a wooden veranda/porch area but most of the building itself would have been made out of stone. Given the size of forests in Russia, it is no real surprise that they have a lot of wooden buildings.

  • Reply
    Delisa Zak | Destination: Overlooked
    May 13, 2018 at 04:10

    Wow, we love small towns and would love to see this one. Love the architecture and the snow just makes it more magical. Would also love to take a sleigh ride. Thanks for sharing, the photos are great.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 30, 2018 at 10:10

      Thanks very much! If you ever do get to go, you will have a great time!

  • Reply
    Jenn and Ed Coleman
    May 12, 2018 at 19:59

    Suzdal seems like it really captures the spirit of historic Russia. I love the winter scenes and the wide variety of churches and religions that practiced there. I would especially like to take a horse drawn carriage though the Russian snow. Seems like a fairy tale.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 29, 2018 at 23:47

      I think Suzdal is the perfect place to get a snapshot of old Russia.

  • Reply
    Anna
    May 12, 2018 at 17:41

    I have never heard of Suzdal before but it looks beautiful. I love the architecture of the Church of the Transfiguration as well as all of the other buildings. What a gorgeous place. I hope I can visit Russia one day!

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 29, 2018 at 23:46

      It really is a gorgeous place, even if it was very cold! I hope you get to Russia too and can visit Suzdal.

  • Reply
    Lauren Pears
    May 12, 2018 at 11:47

    Wow, I’ve never heard of Suzdal but I would love to visit after reading this! Russian architecture is so beautiful. And the horse sleigh ride looks like a lot of fun 🙂

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      May 29, 2018 at 23:46

      Suzdal was a highlight for me! If you like Russian architecture, the good news is that you can find somewhere interesting in every city!

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