The City of Vladimir is one of the oldest Russian communities. It is located in the heart of the historic Vladimir region (Vladimirskaya Oblast) 180 kilometers (115 miles) northeast of Moscow on the bank of the Klyazma River. The city was founded in either 990 or 1108, depending on which historians you consult. For the better part of two centuries (from 1157 to the mid 1300s) it was the capital of ancient Rus. Vladimir is now considered one of the major members of the Golden Ring of communities which have played a significant role in Russian history.

For many tourists Vladimir is the jumping point on the way to visit beautiful Suzdal which is only 50 min by bus. However it is a wonderful historic town in its own right with some lovely old buildings and the famous Assumption Cathedral placed on the top of the hill overlooking the country side. This cathedral, build from white limestone, was the largest and most important cathedral in ancient Rus and its design has inspired the building of the great cathedral within the Moscow Kremlin.

The interior decoration of the Cathedral is important in Russian art. Most of the 12th-century frescoes were destroyed by Mongols in 1238, but new mural paintings were added in 1408 by the master painters Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chernii, in particular the famous Last Judgement . The iconostasis is a fine Baroque example of 1774. Until the 1238 when Tatar Mongol Horde attacked Rus Vladimir was recognized in the Othodox World as the most important city after Constantinople and Kiev. Unfortunately most of the city perished in a terrible fire and by the 14th century the growing city of Moscow became the capital of Rus and Vladimir became a backwater town.

Some of the main sights.

Assumption Cathedral (Uspensky Sobor)
Open 13:00 - 16:45. Closed Mondays.

Golden Gates
Open10:00 - 18:00. Closed Thursday.

Bogolubsky Monastery
The white stone church Bogolubsky Monastery in a nearby village of Bogolubovo about 20 min from Vladimir. IF you want to visit this site it is extra to the already included sightseeing.

Map of Vladimir

Shopping in Vladimir

For souvenirs look in the small market which is located close to the Golden Gates. In the basement of the Troitsky church is a small shop selling glassware from the local Gus Krustalny Factory. The prices are very competitive and the quality is very good. Among many other attractions, the City boasts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are the Golden Gates (the only surviving example of Russian medieval defensive architecture), Vladimir's unofficial symbol, and the Assumption and St. Demetrius Cathedrals. Expanded history details for Vladimir.

St Dmitry Cathedral

A contrast to so much of the local ancient world

The magic of winter touring