European Countries

Vladimir, Suzdal and Kideksha (World Heritage)

Suzdal is one of the oldest cities in Russia. Together with Vladimir, before Moscow was founded, it was one of the intellectual and cultural centers of the country that formed the Golden Ring. The Cathedral of Our Lady, which is part of the Suzdal Kremlin, was built in the 13th century. With the »Golden Gate«, Vladimir owns an important building from the 12th century. At the same time, the Boris and Gleb Church in Kidekscha was built.

Vladimir, Suzdal and Kideksha: Facts

Official title: Vladimir Cathedral, monasteries and churches of Suzdal and Kideksha
Cultural monument: Vladimir, named after Vladimir II Monomakh, former residence of Grand Duke Andrei Bogoljubskij with monuments such as the Golden Gate as a relic of the old city fortifications, the Assumption Cathedral (Uspenskij Sobor) with frescoes by the famous Andrei Rublev, the Demetrios Cathedral with rich Stone carvings, the Church of Our Lady (1649); in Suzdal, the capital of Rus in the 12th century, monuments such as the Cathedral of the Nativity (Bogorodize Roshdestwenskij Sobor) in the Kremlin, the Nicholas Church with a flat tent roof, the classicist trading rows and the Church of the Resurrection of Christ
Continent: Europe
Country: Russia
Location: Vladimir, Suzdal and Kideksha
Appointment: 1992
Meaning: important central Russian centers of masterful architecture

Vladimir, Suzdal and Kideksha: History

10th century Slavic settlers settled in Suzdal
1108 Founding of Vladimir
1157 Relocation of the grand ducal residence from Kiev to Vladimir
1158-64 Construction of the Golden Gate
1158-60 Construction of the Assumption Cathedral (Vladimir)
1194-97 Construction of the Cathedral of Demetrios (Vladimir)
1222-25 Construction of the Cathedral of the Nativity (Suzdal)
1299-1329 Vladimir as the seat of the Russian metropolitans
1392 Suzdal falls to the Grand Duchy of Moscow
1573 48 churches in Suzdal
1644 Construction of the fortress-like Redeemer Euthymios Monastery
1719 Suzdal city fire

Claim to power through church splendor

In the wooded north-east of ancient Rus, a sub-state was formed in the 10th century, from which the Grand Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal later emerged. Streams of new settlers, who were attracted by the productive soils, made it possible to found numerous cities. The principality produced important rulers who, without exception, sought to take control of Russia from Kiev and later from Vladimir. Their claim to power was also expressed in numerous sacred buildings, when their founders were sovereigns such as Grand Duke Vasily III. went down in history.

With the Golden Gate, which competed with the gate of the same name in Kiev, and the Assumption Cathedral, whose model is the Kiev Cathedral of St. Sophia, the new Grand Duke Andrei Bogolyubsky, who resides in Vladimir, is a sign of the supremacy that has just been achieved in the Rus. As one chronicle reported, “God brought masters from all over the world” who lent a hand in the construction of the Assumption Cathedral on the highest hill. The Grand Duke from Kiev had the icon of the Mother of God, painted in Constantinople in 1150, brought to this church, which became a Russian national shrine as the “Mother of God of Vladimir”. Originally equipped with only one dome, the church was later added four secondary domes. In this house of God trumpet-blowing angels look at those praying here, draw the »righteous to paradise«, masterful work of the monk and painter Andrei Rublev. The Demetrios Cathedral, which was built as the court church of the new residence, is richly decorated. Surrounded by princely buildings in the middle of the 19th century, it is now completely free. The well-proportioned cross-domed church shows arcade friezes on three sides, which have almost fully sculptural figure reliefs – a novelty in Russian architecture. Carved in stone, King David as a psalmist and King Solomon face the viewer of today. The well-proportioned cross-domed church shows arcade friezes on three sides, which have almost fully sculptural figure reliefs – a novelty in Russian architecture. Carved in stone, King David as a psalmist and King Solomon face the viewer of today. The well-proportioned cross-domed church shows arcade friezes on three sides, which have almost fully sculptural figure reliefs – a novelty in Russian architecture. Carved in stone, King David as a psalmist and King Solomon face the viewer of today.

Suzdal, the first residence of the principality, is a city of monasteries. Little of the secular buildings, especially the Kremlin, has survived. The most impressive building in the city is the Cathedral of the Nativity, which once stood in the middle of the Kremlin. It has changed its appearance many times over the years: The five blue onion domes were added to it in the middle of the 18th century. The south and west portals show early examples of Russian fire casting. To the north of the old center are two of the most important sacred ensembles: the Redeemer Euthymios Monastery and the Monastery of the Protection of the Virgin Mary. The Erlöser Euthymios Monastery, founded in 1352, with its mighty, tower-reinforced wall is more like a fortress than a place of contemplation. At the grave of the founder of the monastery, Euthymios, the mighty Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Christ was built with the façade fresco, “The Transfiguration of Christ”, which is well worth seeing. According to commit4fitness, the slim Assumption Refectory Church belonging to the monastery from 1525 is one of the oldest tent-roofed churches in Russia. The Monastery of the Protection and Intercession of the Virgin Mary, owned by Grand Duke Vasily III of Moscow. Erected at the beginning of the 16th century, in the course of its history it was the place of exile for some tsarist wives who had fallen out of favor, such as the first wife of Peter the Great, Evdokija Lopuchina. The Holy Gate with the Church of the Annunciation allows entry into the monastery. The Cathedral of the Protection of the Virgin, which is surrounded by monastery walls and with its three domed domes, appears downright strict.

A short distance east of Suzdal is the village of Kideksha, where Yuri Dolgoruki established his residence in the 12th century. As one of the oldest stone churches in the Grand Duchy, the cubic Boris and Gleb Church with three apses was preserved from the mid-12th century. Today it is one of the lovingly restored “White Monuments” in Moscow’s surroundings.

Vladimir, Suzdal and Kideksha