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Explore Russia's Golden Ring Cities

Russia's history dates back to more than a thousand years, the country has numerous centuries old Orthodox churches, buildings and religious art. These may have underwent reconstruction, restoration and maintenance over the years, but these didn't lose significance. You'll get a glimpse of the country's vibrant past when you visit the cities included in the Golden Ring.

The Golden Ring consists of cities that were an important part of the establishment of the Russian republic in its formative years. If you want to learn more about the country's history, here are places to include in your itinerary.

Sergiev Posad

This city along the Golden Ring is a popular day trip destination from Moscow because of its proximity. Sergiev Posad has a rich historical and cultural heritage that makes your trip worthwhile. It has a quaint and charming small town vibe outside of the attractions. Include taking a leisurely stroll around the park and neighbourhood.

The main attraction of a trip here is the Holy Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. Founded in the late 1330s, this complex has several important monuments and buildings, some of which are centuries old. It is at the center of Russian Orthodoxy and still holds a prominent place in the religion today. This site has been on UNESCO's World Heritage list since 1993.

One of the most recognizable buildings in the complex is the Cathedral of the Assumption. Built in the 1580s, its distinct blue domes attract the attention of visitors. The museums and churches you can enter have beautiful religious art and frescoes. While here, don't forget to go to the view point where you can get bird's eye views of the complex.

There are daily regular trains to and from Moscow, the trip takes less than an hour per way and costs around 625 Russian Rubles round trip. Leave early to spend more time in the town and square.

Read my post here: Guide to Sergiev Posad

Rostov Veliky

Rostov Veliky is one of the oldest cities in the country dating to as far back as the 860s when it was only a small town. Here you'll find vestiges of the past exemplified by centuries old churches and its own Kremlin.

The Rostov Kremlin is a preserved remnant of Russia's medieval epoch. As you walk towards it, you'll already see the distinctly Russian onion-shaped domes of the churches. The wall surrounding it protected the fortress from outside forces. The complex is home to a handful of churches, the most prominent being the Dormition Cathedral. The domes of the churches and their unique architecture make for a picturesque background. Walk around the complex and imagine old patriarchs and royalty coming and going.

Other than the Kremlin, you can visit the Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery. The monastery's location near the lake creates a picturesque view, especially for photographers. Spaso-Yakolevsky is an important historical relic because it dates back to the 14th century and the rulers of Russia often came to pray at its churches.

Situated in Yaroslavl Oblast, Rostov Veliky is a possible day trip from Yaroslavl city. The one way trip is around an hour from the bus station one way. The fare is 120 Russian Rubles.

Read my post here: Guide to Rostov Veliky


Vladimir played an important role in Russia's history as a medieval capital. The small city also has a number of well-preserved buildings that are centuries old. Go time traveling by walking around the old town. Autumn is an ideal time to visit because of the colorful leaves that complement the white monuments.

The city has UNESCO-listed white monuments such as the Assumption Cathedral, Golden Gate and Cathedral of Saint Demetrius. All three are easily recognizable once you explore the old town. They are also fine examples of Russian Orthodox design and architecture. Walk along Bolshaya Moskovskaya Street to get a glimpse of the city's history. The area attracts both locals and tourists with its buildings, and dining and shopping options.

Vladimir is a possible long day trip from Moscow. The one way train ride takes around four hours. If you plan to do this, you have to board the first departing train. The fare costs around 740 Russian Rubles one way. Check prices online or at the station.

Read my post here: Guide to Vladimir


This destination along the Golden Ring is more than a thousand years old. Yaroslavl the Wise founded the city while he ruled the Principality of Rostov. Yaroslavl may have an urban and industrial sheen, but under this is a metropolis with a storied past. Its historical center is a UNESCO-listed site. Yaroslavl transformed into a thriving commercial hub along the Volga River from a small town. The historical center is a prime example of urban and town planning and development of old cities in the country. Empress Catherine the Great had these reforms implemented during her reign.

The ancient structures and churches mix with dreary and unremarkable buildings. Walking or taking the bus from one part of the city to another is like shifting from its old glorious epoch to its modern iteration. Some of the notable places in Yaroslavl include the Transformation Monastery, Cathedral of the Assumption and the Bear Monument just to name a few.

You can visit this Golden Ring city as a long day trip from Moscow. Take note: the one way trip is around four hours. The train fare is approximately 600 Rubles one way.

If you're in Russia, the Golden Ring cities are a noteworthy addition to your itinerary. These places provide you with a glimpse of the early years of medieval Russia and the foundation of what it is today.

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