SUZDAL

Suzdal is an administrative centre of Suzdalsky district of Vladimirsky region. It is situated on the river Kamenka, in 26 km to the north from Vladimir. Suzdal is included into the Golden Ring of Russia.

Its history began more than one thousand years ago. At the beginning of the 11th century Suzdal was a part of Kiev state. But some time later it became Vladimir Monomach’s patrimony.

The construction of Suzdal began from building the Kremlin – a fortress which aim was to protect the town from enemies. The place for the town was chosen rather good: on three sides it was protected by natural obstacles (a steep bank of the river Kamenka and hills), earth ramparts were made to strengthen the protection of the town. These ramparts can be seen nowadays.

Vladimir Monomakh ordered to build Uspensky cathedral on the territory of the Kremlin. The first monastery in honour of Dmitry Solunsky was built near the Kremlin.

But in 1238 Tatars attacked, robbed and burnt the town. Most of the citizens were carried captive.

After the Mongol-Tatars invasion Spaso-Evfimiev and Pokrovsky monasteries were built in Suzdal. They were fortresses which protected the town.

At the beginning of the 14th century Suzdal became the centre of Suzdalsky-Nizhegorodsky princedom. The crafts were developed in the town at that time. They even coined their own money.

Later Suzdal became an ordinary town of Moscow princedom. Trading routes were too far from the town, and Suzdal couldn’t develop as rapidly as other towns which had better geographical positions.

During the times of “great distemper” Suzdal was attacked by the Polish-Lithuanian army twice, in 1634 it was robbed by Crimean Tatars, in 1654-1655 the town suffered from the great fire and the plague. As a result a lot of houses were destroyed and lots of people died.

After all those sufferings Suzdal started the construction of the town: monasteries were built, the Kremlin was reconstructed.

During Ekaterina’s II reign the houses in Suzdal were built of stone. Trade started its rapid developing – a large number of merchants from nearby towns came to the trade fair once a year.

But after Nikolaevskaya railroad had been built far from Suzdal, the importance of the town as a trading centre was lost.

In 1922 the historical and art museum was founded in Suzdal, in 1958 it became a part of Vladimiro-Suzdalsky historical architectural and art museum.

Nowadays Suzdal is a town-museum. There are more than 200 monuments of architecture of the 12th – 19th centuries. White-stone monuments of architecture are icluded into UNESCO World Heritage List.

The houses in Suzdal are mostly one-storeyed and wooden. Natural wood and white-stone walls of monasteries are visiting cards of Suzdal.

The main places of interest in Suzdal are the following: 5 monasteries, more than 15 churches, the ensemble of Suzdal Kremlin, the shopping street and the museum of wooden architecture and peasant life.