Vladimir is one of the oldest Russian cities. Founded by Prince Vladimir Monomakh in the early 12th century, soon after the city became a political, cultural and religious center of old Russia. Mongol raiders devastated Vladimir twice in 1238 and 1293. The city recovered but ceded superiority to Moscow. All sites of interest are concentrated in the city center. The majestic Assumption Cathedral sits on the high bank of the Klyazma River. The construction began in 1158. Inside one can see the original 1408 Last Judgement frescoes painted by the famous artist Andrei Rublev.

Andrei Rublev.

Close to the Assumption Cathedral is the smaller St. Dmitry Cathedral (1193-97).

Both cathedrals richly adorned with fine stone carving are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The Golden Gate part of the original city wall combines a defensive tower and a triumphal arch. The Tower houses a small museum. Its centerpiece is a diorama of old Vladimir being attacked by Mongols.

Prince Vladimir ruled with cross and sword.

Lenin in Vladimir looks a bit skinny.


Between 1158 and 1165 Russian prince Andrey Bogolyubsky built a stone palace 11 km from Vladimir. Now the palace houses a monastery located right next to the Vladimir - Nizhny Novgorod road in the middle of Bogolyubovo.

Before Andrei was assassinated by hostile nobles in his Bogolyubovo palace he managed to build the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl. The church is considered to be one of the most attractive of all Russian buildings due to its simple but perfect proportions. Andrei had the church built in the memory of his son who was killed in battle against the Bulgars. The defeated Bulgars had to deliver the white stone over the distance of nearly 700 km. (See Tatarstan Republic page for Volga Bulgaria). Completed around 1165 the church has not been touched by later generations. The walls are still decorated with 12th century carvings. It stands on a man made mound. In spring, the area is flooded, and the church appears to be floating on water.