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The Golden Ring

"Golden Ring", these two words unite a group of ancient Russian towns to the northeast from Moscow. As maps show, the towns, making a curved line, lock up in Moscow. These ancient towns, which have been experiencing a long-long life full of interesting and fascinating events, rises and falls, preserve the memory about the most important and significant events in the Russian history. In our days the towns are often called "museums under open sky" where the unique monuments of Russian architecture of the 12th-17th centuries are collected, reminding about the dramatic events and fabulous people.

Most of the Golden Ring towns were founded in the 11th century and rapidly grew into political, religious and commercial centers following the transfer to Vladimir in 1169 of the capital of Kievan Rus, which was the first feudal state in eastern Europe. After the decimation of Russia following the Tatar-Mongol invasion in 1236, the Golden Ring cities slowly regained their strength and again became important centers of power.

This tour is arranged by car or minibus, all excursions are made by local guides, all meals except breakfast are paid by client on the spot.

Day 1

Depart from Moscow to Sergiev Posad by private car. City sightseeing tour.

Sergiev Posad (70 km from Moscow)

Sergiev Posad, formerly Zagorsk, is a wonderful ancient town with fantastic architectural monuments of the past.

The town emerged long time ago, round the St. Trinity Sergius Lavra, the monastery established here by one of the most honoured Russian saints, reverent Sergius of Radonezh.

The monastery's status as defender of the motherland grew during the Time of Troubles, with Moscow occupied by the Poles, it withstood a 16 month siege and then encouraged the uprising that drove the invaders out.

The monastery, which got the status of Lavra in 1744, has currently become a place of pilgrimage of the Russian Orthodox Church and one of the most interesting museums, where one may find the icons of Andrei Rublev and other famous masters of the 15th-18th centure.

Transportation to Rostov Veliki. A tour of the city.

Rostov Veliki

Rostov Veliki is one of the ancient and most beautiful towns of the Russian land (it was called Rostov the Great in 12th-17th centuries). The town was established much earlier than Moscow. The first written mention about Rostov dates by the year of 862 ad. In the 13th century the town was one of the centres of the new Russian state formed in the northwest part of ancient Russia. Up to the end of the 18th century Rostov remaind one of the biggest and the richest towns of Russia. In 1589-1788 it was the residence of the Russian Metropolitan. The town has its own peculiar structure. The main streets meet at the historic centre, where, built in the 16th century, the Dormition Cathedral stands, with its bell tower erected in the 17th century. The bells of tower play one of the most fascinating chime or bell music. The local Kremlin had been called "Bishop's House" up to the 19th century. The architectural ensemble built in 1660-1680 by the order of Metropolitan Ivan Sysoyevich as a Metropolitan residence is in excellent condition. It includes 5 churches, palaces and estates.

Free time

Transportation to Yaroslavl

Day 1-2

Lodging in "Yubileynaya" hotel in Yaroslavl

Day 2


Tour of Yaroslavl In Yaroslavl You will see the architectural monuments famous worldwide.

The city was founded about 1010 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise at the bank of Volga River. In the 17th century Yaroslav was the biggest trade and industrial town of Russia. Those were the times, when many new buildings were built there; the town had its own, peculiar scool of architectural styles and construction.

You could visit the church of St. Elijah the Prophet, the Church of St. John the Forerunner, the Epiphany, the Monastery of Savior, the Tolgsky Convent (XIY cent.) and others. Their marvelous grazed tiles decorating its facades, the architectural features of each of the eyes. The beauty of these structures is offset by the picturesque setting on the high bank of the Volga and Kotorosl rivers.

Free time

Transportation to Kostroma

Day 2-3

Lodging in "Volga" hotel in Kostroma

Day 3


Tour of Kostroma

The city of monasteries and great Russians Kostroma was established in the 12th century. During the time of Polish-Lithuanian intervention in the beginning of the 18th century Kostroma played a prominent role in the formation of people's volunteer corps leaded by Minin and Pozharsky. Another representative of Kostroma, peasant Ivan Susanin took the enemies to thick woods and deadly swamps, where he met his death, but where the enemy troops vanished, too.

Kostroma is famous with its wonderful architectural monuments, Ipatyevsky Convent (16th-17th cent.) and the Church of Resurrection on Debra River (1652). Ipatyevsky Convent is located in a beautiful place, where the Kostroma River flows into Volga. There is a museum on the territory of convent with an interesting collection of icons of the 16th-19th centuries, needlework, books, church plates and some exhibits representing the art of provincial painting of the 18th-19th centuries.

Free time

Transportation to Suzdal

Suzdal and Vladimir
Day 3-4

Lodging in Tamara's Guest House in Suzdal.

It's a cottage with cosy rooms, dining room, bath (Russian banya). There is a wc, shower, TV in each room.

Day 4


Tour of Suzdal and Vladimir

Suzdal is a wonderful ancient town with fantastic architectural monuments of the past.

In the 12th-14th centuries that was one of the most powerful towns of the ancient Rus. In Suzdal, Vladimir and in the neighboring territories a peculiar school of architecture appeared. The architectural style of Vladimir and Suzdal is characterised by sophisticated proportions (the use of "golden section"), fine design of facades with the arc belt as the necessary element.

One of the latest monuments of the above architectural style, the Church of the Nativity is located in Suzdal, it was built in 1222-1225 but later it was rebuilt and some wall-paintings were added in the 13th, 15th and 17th centuries. The sight of Suzdal strikes by numerous churches and convents. Prince D. Pozharsky is buried in Saviour-Epyphany Convent. The Resurrection Cathedral was built in Suzdal in the 16th century, it was decorated and painted by Guriy Nikitin in. The Monastery of the Deposition of the Robe is famous with its Church over the Gates, while the Monastery of Intercession has its wonderful Church of the Annunciation over the Gates, built in 1518. The historic centre of Suzdal is enveloped by the walls of ancient Kremlin. The museum of wooden architecture and peasant life is located close to the town centre. The branch of Vladimir-Suzdal historic-architectural and arts museum-national park is open in one of the monasteries of Suzdal. The exhibition displays icons, fine pieces of folk art, painting, drawings.

Free time

Transportation to Moscow
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