SIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN RING
The Golden Ring unites a special group of ancient Russian towns and cities situated not far from Moscow. The towns are arranged in a circular pattern around the capital, forming a ring. These towns, including Yaroslavl, Rostov, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Uglich, Vladimir, Suzdal and Kostroma were built between the 11th and 17th centuries.
The Golden Ring area provides an excellent opportunity to view typical Old Russian towns that still contain ancient Kremlins (walled fortresses), churches and monasteries. Today, these towns are often known as open-air museums, and are places, where unique monuments of Russian architecture are kept and compiled, reminding visitors of the dramatic events and colorful personalities that make up Russian history.
All the towns of the Golden Ring have been well restored, and many buildings are now museums tracing the history of the area that was the center of the Rus during their Golden Age, which lasted over four centuries.
WHAT IS THE GOLDEN RING
'The Golden Ring' is one of the oldest Russian routes. It goes to the northeast of Moscow and forms a circle. There are many interesting ancient Russian cities and towns along the way, full of history and unique Russian architecture of the 12-17th centuries. The 'classical' route (counter clockwise) starts from Moscow, goes through Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Rostov the Great, Yaroslavl and Uglich. All cities and towns are located relatively close to each other, the 'Golden Ring' forms a ring, and so from one place you can reach for another and make a circle until you get back to the one you started with. Probably, most often you'll use buses to travel along the Golden Ring, sometimes you'll use trains. You can also 'make' the Golden Ring trip by car.
WHY GO THERE?
Russian History & Architecture. The 'Golden Ring' route is known for the famous old cities and towns along the way, so one of the reasons to go there is to see the Russian architecture, old churches made of white stone, hear bells ringing, see old fortifications, fortresses, beautiful monasteries, and learn more about history of Russia. For such trip, the 'classical' route (Yaroslavl, Rostov, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Uglich) will be the most interesting.
Russian Countryside. If you're staying in the busy Moscow for a few weeks, you might feel like taking a little break from pollution, cars and noise of the capital after a moment. In the trip to the smallest towns of the 'Golden Ring' you will get to see calmer, slower, more peaceful life, walk around hilly countryside, and just rest. For such trip Rostov the Great (3 hours by train or by bus from Moscow) is the best.
Provincial Russia. If you want to experience another, provincial way of life in Russia, you'll be also interested in visiting the biggest towns of the Golden Ring. Such towns as Yaroslavl and Uglich can let you glimpse at the Russian province: see its more traditional way of life, not yet as much westernized, fancy, and hectic as in the big cities, with some relics of the Soviet times.
DISTANCES AND TIMES BETWEEN THE CITIES
If you want to know the distance and the time (by train and by bus) between the cities of the Golden Ring, look at the crossing of the corresponding row and column. 'MOS' is Moscow, 'YAR' - Yaroslavl, 'ROS' - Rostov the Great, 'P-Z' - Pereslavl-Zalesskiy. The first number is the distance (in kilometers), 'T' is for the time it takes by train, 'B' is for the time it takes by bus. Times are given only if there's a direct connection between two cities.
For example, the distance between Vladimir and Suzdal is 38 kilometers, it takes 1 hour 10 minutes to get from Vladimir to Suzdal by bus, and there are no trains between the two cities.
CITIES ALONG THE GOLDEN RING IN THE YAROSLAVL REGION
YAROSLAVL: Yaroslavl got its name from Yaroslav Mudry, who founded the town at the beginning of 11th century, at the place where the Volga river meets Kotorosl. Now it is a large industrial city, the biggest along the Golden Ring (630 thousand inhabitants), nevertheless very interesting because of its history, architecture, and city life.
ROSTOV THE GREAT: An ancient Russian town located on the Nero lake. The history of this place started 4 thousand years BC, when the first tribes stayed next to the lake. Until the 11th century the territory of Rostov was inhabited by the Finn-Ugors 'Meryans' people, and they founded the city of Rostov (it is known since the 9th century). Slowly they assimilated with the Slavs, who came from the south. Now it is a small town (32 thousand inhabitants), with old buildings, the Kremlin, and authentic Russian architecture.
PERESLAVL-ZALESSKIY: This Old Russian provincial town is situated along the Pleshcheyevo Lake. There are four active monasteries and a lot of churches here. Russian fleet’s history began in the town. It is the town where Peter the Great established the “Amusing Small Fleet” (“Poteshnaya flotilia”), only a boat “Fortune” represented in a museum “Botik” has remained of the Peter’s fleet. The museum is situated 3 km south of the town. The Pereslavl National Park protects the unique nature and historical environment of the Pleshcheyevo Lake. The town strikes tourists with its coziness, shallow streets and upside-down boats near small houses that have been built along the both banks of the Trubezh River.
UGLICH: this town is one of the most ancient in the Volga River region. According to local chronicles, it was established in 937. One of the most tragic events in the Russian history is connected with Uglich: the last dynast of the Ryurikovichi – a tsarist Dimitry – was mysteriously killed in the town in 1591. Uglich is rich in ancient cathedral architecture. The Kremlin with a Throne Chamber, the Dimitry-on-Blood Church and the Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral, the ensembles of Alexeyevsky, Voskresensky (the Resurrection) and Theophany monasteries stand out among town’s attractions.