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Author Topic: Russia's Golden Ring Cities - Золотое кольцо  (Read 24314 times)

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Offline skiingandrunning

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2010, 09:46:37 PM »
I would love to visit that museum! The times in Vladimir for our family the museum has been closed. The Great Patriotic War information would be fascinating for me, personally!

Mendy, 

The Great Patriotic War part was interesting as it related to the local participants in the war and is similar to what you see throughout Russia in other local museums.  For me the highlight was the 3D model with the audio history of the fall of the city to the Mongols (similar, but much smaller than what you see in the different Panoramas & Dioramas you find across the FSU).  There is always the nice peak up the street which is also an added bonus for a Geographer like myself. 

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Offline skiingandrunning

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2010, 11:04:51 PM »
If you are continuing on a walking tour of the city, you need to head up the street towards the Assumption Cathedral.  Walking along the main road you will see a lot of activity and as my friend and myself were doing some people watching when she made the comment that she was so happy she does not live in the provinces as they still seem to follow the silly fashion rules like wearing high-heels and short skirts (based on my observations around Moscow this is definitely true).  

Anyways, the next stop would probably be the Assumption Cathedral and surrounding park.  It seems to be the main tourist stops with a collection of different statues in the area (of course you need to snap one of Valdimir on his horse).  Just a stroll up the road is Dmitryys Cathedral which was also a hot destination for the newlyweds (BTW, I was doing my people watching thing and many of the women were larger than what you would expect in Russia).  In the area are a few historic buildings like The Chambers and a lessor known monastery what might warrant a picture or two.

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If you are walking around the historic sites, the city would appear that it's doing well.  But, one does not need to travel too far off the main street to see signs of decay (Russian style).  Also, when walking around at night you realize that it's a dark city as only the areas immediately around the tourist sites and on the few commercial streets are lite and the rest of the streets are dark as in REALLY dark.  Also, on some of the back streets we ran into a little of the past as we went into a store to buy some water and it was a throw back to old Soviet times (not always easy to find in Moscow itself).  

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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2010, 11:23:55 PM »
Cathedral of the Assumption (Успенский собор)

When the capital was moved to Vladimir from Kiev, the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church naturally moved as well. In those days the Russian church as a "daughter church" under authority of the Ecumenial Patriarch in Constantinople who appointed a national "Metropolitan" (highest rank of Archbishop) to oversee Slavic Christianity.


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(Taken from the East side of the Cathedral)


So the construction of the Cathedral of the Assumption (Успенский собор), became the most important church in Russia. Located on Cathedral Square (Соборная площадь) this church crowned Vladimir as the Spiritual Centre of an emerging Russia. Built in 1158 and later expanded with additional domes in 1185, this remains one of the most historically important Russian Orthodox Churches.

If you noticed a resemblance to St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev, that is no accident. Later the construction of the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin would also have strong similarities.  Today it remains a "working church" but also functions during the week as a church museum.


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Vladimir's Cathedral of the Assumption is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2010, 11:33:00 PM »
skiingandrunning, great photos and personal experiences! Keep them coming.  tiphat

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2010, 12:04:40 AM »
Cathedral of St. Demetrius (Дмитриевский собор)


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St. Demetrius (Дмитриевский собор) was at first built as a private church for the Royal Court of Russia. The original construction of 1194-97 linked the cathedral to the palace, but they were removed during reconstruction in the 19th century. Today St. Demetrius' Cathedral is detached and an important monument of ancient Russian architecture. The upper walls are covered by fine stone carvings which depict stories from the life of King David and praise the harmony of the world.


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(Note the detail found just above the main entrance door of the Cathedral.)


In 2009 the Bank of Russia issued a limited release of 3-Rouble Silver coins commerating the Cathedral. Only 10,000 were minted.


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Thanks to extraordinary (and brave...for crawling on tall roofs!) photographer Sergei Zagraevsky for allowing RUA to enjoy more of the detail inside and outside of this piece of Russian history:


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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2010, 12:15:18 AM »
Nativity Monastery (Рождественский монастырь)


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Founded at the end of 12th century, Nativity Monastery played important role in strengthening the Russian Orthodox Church during the Middle Ages. Unfortunately none of the ancient buildings survived, but for some it might be interesting to see the stone walls and towers from 18th century.

Presently, the monastery is home to the bishop of Vladimir region.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2010, 12:44:15 AM »
Princess Convent of the Cathedral of the Assumption (Успенский собор Княгинина монастыря)

In earlier centuries, royal burials were separated by gender. The main church of the Princesses' Convent was built by Ivan III to replace an old crumbling church where the consorts of the Vladimir-Suzdal monarchs had been buried.


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(photo: Sergei Zagraevsky)


The history of the Princess Convent is traced back to 12th century and it's main structure is another "Cathedral of the Assumption" which was constructed at the start of the 13th century. In 16th century, the cathedral was remodeled to its present shape known as the "Moscow style" of church architecture.


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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2010, 01:06:28 AM »
Church of the Assumption of our Lady (Богородице-Успенская церковь)


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At Большая Московская ул. 106а which is just east from the historical centre this landmark was built in 1644-49 and represents an example of what is termed as original russian architecture. You can see a hip-roof bell tower, a typical feature of the 17th century-style.


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2010, 01:39:31 AM »
Church of St. Nikita (Никитская церковь)

During the cold war days we all listened to the Elton John song "Nikita" and wondered who she could be. Today we know two things, "she" probably wasn't a she given the singer of the song. And we know it's wasn't Saint Nikita of Vladimir.  :chuckle:


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Address: Княгининская ул., 8 (next to the Princess Convent). This church was built in baroque style in the middle of 18th century. It's bright green exterior is in sharp contrast to nearby ancient white-stone cathedrals. Still, the decoration of the church is remarkable.

At present, the church is not functioning and houses a restoration workshop.




Church of St. Michael the Archangel (Михаило-Архангельская церковь)


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Address: ул. Студёная гора, 1a (west from the Golden Gate).

Next on the list is a church you won't miss. The dark red colours will assure that you notice this structure was erected at the end of 19th century in neo-Byzantine style.


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2010, 01:48:47 AM »
As the sign on the building indicates, to the right are regional offices for the Vladimir Oblast.

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Looking for a pharmacy?


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Below is the Golden Ring Hotel, Vladimir:


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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2010, 02:04:22 AM »
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The face of Vladimir is changing, becoming more modern. The proximity to Moscow assures that funds for development will continue to change the look and feel of Vladimir. In some ways that is good and healthy. In other ways however, Vladimir will never be the same. And that calls us to reflection.


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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2010, 02:27:56 AM »
Our next stop on the RUA tour of the Golden Ring is just "up the road" (10 kilometers/6 miles) north-east of Vladimir to a place named Bogolubovo (Боголю́бово). Russian students recognize the word BOG as the word for God and the name of the town we'll visit, Bogolubovo, means "God-loving."

We're going to a place that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After finding a parking space we'll walk on foot for just over a mile to visit one of the most scenic and often photographed structures in all of Russia.

And if we're lucky we'll get to spend the night in a nearby Orthodox convent where no money is accepted for lodging (but we will have to work for our supper).

Offline skiingandrunning

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2010, 07:25:58 AM »
We're going to a place that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After finding a parking space we'll walk on foot for just over a mile to visit one of the most scenic and often photographed structures in all of Russia.

And if we're lucky we'll get to spend the night in a nearby Orthodox convent where no money is accepted for lodging (but we will have to work for our supper).

Parking was not a problem on the day we arrived as we came early (my friend said they were charging a fee to park down at the start of the walk to the UNESCO site).  Our choice was to just stay parked at convent and then make the short walk down down to the train station where you need to cross and go out into the fields on the other side.  In the distance you'll see the Church of the Intercession (I think the setting of it from the distance is better than up close).  A side note for those tour book tourist like myself, don't mistake the convent for the church as it's impressive in its own right (if you wonder into the woman's only section, do expect to get scolded in a nice way). 

Note, this city is very close to Valdimir (maybe 5K) so do not skip it as I found the setting impressive and worth the short stop.

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Side note, as Mendy noted, it's a long walk to the Church of the Intercession so if you have trouble walking best to snap a few pictures from the distance as the church itself is rather small (the day we were there, Sunday, it did not open until after 10:30 AM).




Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2010, 09:13:41 AM »
Bogolyubovo Monastery (Боголюбово Монастырь) is located along the bank of the Nerl river near its confluence with the Klyazma river.

The impressive photos from skiingandrunning tell a story, don't they? As you can see, this setting is both simple and majestic at the same time. When you look at the style and precision of each structure one has to respect the engineering and craftmanship that was practiced in those 12th Century days. During a short period (1158–1165), the palace, fortifications, and the nearby church of the Intercession on the Nerl were constructed. All the buildings were made of white stone, an unusual material for ancient Russia at that time.

As skiingandrunning noted, you'll first come to the convent and palace complex. The main palace is no longer there but parts of Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky's grand palace were  incorporated into the Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin during reconstruction in the 18th century. You will easily recognize the old fragments as their unusual appearance   contrasts with the other building materials.

As you can see from this photo from Priyank Thatte (well-respected traveler/photographer specializing in Russia) the railroad station is along the highway if driving or on a bus from Vladimir, stop as soon as you see the large convent along the highway. There is a road to the right just after the convent that goes down to the railway station.


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(photo: Priyank Thatte)


The Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod railway line passes at the foot of the hill, south from the village. Behind the railway line is a meadow leading to the man-made island that holds the church of the Intercession on the Nerl. Local trains in the direction of Nizhny Novgorod (towards Kovrov, Vyazniki, or Gorokhovets). The trains run 8 times per day. Buses stop at the railway station also.

The old road from Moscow to Nizhniy Novgorod, улица Ленина (Ulitsa Lenina), goes through the village parallel to the railroad.



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2010, 10:20:20 AM »
This entire site is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and so impressive that some tourists quickly admire the convent complex from the road and then drive on. That is a serious mistake as the centrepiece is the "Church of the Intercession on the Nerl."

Bogolyubovo was founded by prince Andrey Bogolyubsky (his name means "Andrew the God-lover") in 1158. As pictured in a famous Icon, the prince spent the night on this spot and saw the Virgin Mary who ordered him to build the monastery.


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(The oldest surviving copy of this famous icon is housed in an "Old Believers" Church in Saint Petersburg.)


The village rose to prominence for a brief period but after Andrey Bogolyubsky was murdered in 1174 the town diminished. In 1177, it was ravaged by Gleb, the prince of nearby Ryazan, and in 1238 Batu Khan destroyed the town completely. The remains of Prince Andrew's palace have since been incorporated into the reconstruction of the monastery.


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(Church of the Nativity photo: Dmitry Kamshilin)


Remains of the Anderi Bogolubsky's residence including some residential chambers (1165) and the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin (1165, collapsed, rebuilt in 1751) are connected via a stairs and passageway.


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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2010, 10:59:35 AM »
The Bogolusky Church (Боголюбский собор)


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(Built in 1886)



Unlike the next door Church of the Nativity, the Bologusky Church is a "working" church with services daily which are primarily led by priestmonks from the nearby men's monastery.

As photography is prohibited during a service we'll use photos from the Monastery staff.


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(Monks and deacons wait for the Bishop to Enter)



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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2010, 11:11:26 AM »
Believing that the house of God should serve every person, visitors to the convent are allowed to stay overnight free, based on available accomodations.

While the "lodging" is free, you will do some type of assigned work (from washing dishes to repairing something) depending on your skills. They'll provide supper. Lodgers must follow the convent rules and as with most monastery settings, men and women sleep in separate areas. You might be surprised at how many Russian families take advantage of the free lodging.


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These ladies (above) will help you work for your supper.


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As you can see, there are fine toilet facilities adjacent to your quarters. Even a bench to sit while waiting if someone else got there first!

Running water? Sure...depends on how fast you can run to get it!

If you prefer more modern accomodations there isn't really anything here save for a couple of small cafes in the village. It's only 6 miles back to Vladimir for hotels and restaurants.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2010, 11:40:44 AM »
Fron the convent we'll walk across that meadow, just over a mile, to the real reason we stopped at this point in the tour.

From calendars to books, one of the most enduring photos of "The Church of the Intercession on the Nerl" is by Алексей Трошин (Aleksi Troshin).


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(photo: Алексей Трошин)



Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky saw a miraculous vision of the Theotokos (meaning "God bearer", Virgin Mary) who appeared to him in a vision holding a scroll in Her right hand, and commanded him to build a church and monastery on the place of the vision. On that spot, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl was built.


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The small "island" is man-made.



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Constructed in 1165, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl has been on the World Heritage List of UNESCO since 1992.


The Vladimir-Suzdal area hosts no less than 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites:
Cathedral of the Assumption

The Golden Gate

The Prince Castle in Bogolyubovo (Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin and Staircase Tower of the Palace of Andrei Bogolyubsky)

Bogolyubovo Village

Church of the Intercession on the River Nerl

Cathedral of St. Demetrius

Kremlin of Suzdal and Cathedral of the Nativity

Monastery of Our Savior and St Euthymius

Church of Saints Boris and Gleb
  

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2010, 12:10:35 PM »
Perhaps no other place in the world has so many World Heritage Sites concentrated in such close proximity. So our next stop will again be "just a hop and skip" away to the nearby town of Suzdal (Суздаль).

Offline skiingandrunning

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #44 on: October 10, 2010, 06:41:08 AM »
Mendy,

Suzdal is my favorite of the Golden Ring cities.  I think it's small size, abundance of local people selling things, and high concentration of sites makes it a little special (take a little time and just meander around town and maybe take your lady on a carriage ride).  Also, once you get outside of Moscow the traffic disappears so you can enjoy the drive between cities a little more, maybe stop and buy some apples as we did, as the roads becomes more like two lane county roads as you drive through the rolling countryside.  The only negative was that we were not able to find a good local restaurant as they all seem very touristy which is understandable. 

I'll share a few pictures from the September 2010 visit, but I'll leave it up to Mendy to provide the description as he does a far better job than I can. 




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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #45 on: October 10, 2010, 06:45:26 AM »
A few additional pictures as walking around buildings was a little dangerous in the sense that you would discover something else to investigate.  One note I will make, the residents of Suzdal are well aware of the tourist attractions of their city and it probably had the most touristy feel of all the Golden Ring cities, especially in and around the area of the Kremlin (really the walls of it were ruins, but well worth walking around in).


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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #46 on: October 10, 2010, 09:43:09 AM »
skiingandrunning, you have a nice camera eye and your photos do a great job in telling the story!


Суздаль (Suzdal) is just 26 kilometers (16 mi) from the city of Vladimir, as we move north-east from Moscow. As skiingandrunning mentioned, the further we move away from Moscow the amounts and type of road traffic continues to thin out.

Suzdal was founded in 1024 but it took awhile for officials to grant it "city status" which it achieved in 1777. City or not, for centuries it functioned as the capital of several Russian principalities. The town was destroyed by Mongols in 1238 and later became the capital city of Russian prince Yury Dolgoruky who is considered to be the founder of Moscow. The second destruction of Suzdal came with the Polish invasion in the 17th century.

As Moscow grew and the capital of Russia was moved there, naturally the region experienced a decline in political importance. Based however on the number of Orthodox churches and monasteries in Suzdal and nearby, the town continued to grow as an important centre of Orthodoxy not only locally, but influencing far-flung regions of a growing Russia.

At one time the number of churches per citizen equated to one church for every 10 families and by the 11th century Suzdal had developed into the primary missionary centre of Christianity for North-Eastern Russia and significantly impacted the cultural life of Russia until the end of the 19th century.
 
Sadly, in modern times the population continues to decline and now stands around 10,000. As mentioned upthread, this little town is one of the most beautiful in the Russian Golden Ring. Here you can find over 100 church and secular buildings dating from the mid-12th to the mid-19th century crowded into an area of 9 square km.

It may be touristy but that makes it a great place to find some very nice souvineers for the trip back home! The town's central square makes such shopping easy.


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Perhap this quote from Wikipedia sums it best: Suzdal still retains the look and feel of a small village with streams and meadows everywhere nearby, and chicken and livestock a common sight on the city streets, some of which are unpaved. This juxtaposition of stunning medieval architecture with its pastoral setting lends Suzdal a picturesque charm, and in the summer artists and easels are a common sight. (Mendeleyev note: agree overall with that description, but you won't see that side of Suzdal on any summer weekend.)

Worst day of the week to visit Suzdal--any Saturday during the summer:


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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #47 on: October 10, 2010, 03:11:53 PM »
Admit it, you came along to Suzdal for the День Огурца в Суздале (annual Cucumber Day), didn't you?

Each 23-25 July the city holds the annual "Day of the Cucumber" and it's a big event to say the least. It must be--otherwise how else would it take 3 whole days to celebrate?

Okay, lets find a place to park and then get on with the task of discovering Suzdal.


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Ah, this will do...


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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #48 on: October 10, 2010, 03:25:20 PM »
This sign below says "Welcome RUA members to your tour of Cucumber Day in Suzdal, where our cucumbers are bigger and better and tastier than all the other countries' cucumbers!"


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Okay, okay so the sign didn't really say all that. Even so, you're going to meet some pretty serious огурца (cucumber) lovers around these parts.


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Guess cucumbers must be pretty popular in these parts...


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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Золотое кольцо - Russia's Golden Ring Cities
« Reply #49 on: October 10, 2010, 04:21:54 PM »
In reality, you came to see the historic side of Suzdal. You'll need to arrive by car or bus as there are no trains to Suzdal. There are organized organized bus tours, and those arrive daily from all over Russia, but the best way to reach the town is by car. There is one daily public bus from Moscow's Shelkovskaya bus station. Special private tour buses to Vladimir and Suzdal also operate from Kursky Train Station (Metro: Kurskaya).

So if using public transit, the trick is to first visit Vladimir, and then take one of the convenient buses which depart from Vladimir to Suzdal every thirty minutes.


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