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Tour Russia's Golden Ring

Renowned for their role in Russia's history and influential in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church, the cities on the Golden Ring route are so rich in history and culture that they have been referred to as 'open air museums'. The original eight cities included on the Golden Ring route are Sergiyev Posad, Rostov Velikiy, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Vladimir and Suzdal, each of which has superbly preserved examples of 12-18th century Russian architecture such as monasteries, cathedrals, churches and kremlins (fortresses), many featuring the distinctive 'onion dome' that is so readily associated with Russia. Tourism is a major source of income for cities in the Golden Ring and there is plenty for visitors to see and do.

Undoubtedly the main attraction in Sergiyev Posad is the Trinity Lavra of St Sergius which has been the center around which the city grew since being founded in 1345. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, the monastery was closed as a religious center by the new Soviet government, with its buildings being assigned for other purposes and many of its precious items being confiscated. Restoration work was carried out in the 60s and 70s and today, as the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church, the monastery is home to more than 300 monks.

Located on the shores of Lake Nero, Rostov Velikiy is one of Russia's oldest towns, with many architectural treasures to appreciate. In the central square of the town is the Assumption Cathedral, with its weighty belltower containing some of the largest bells in Russia, the largest of which was cast in 1688 and weighs 32,000 kgs. Other landmarks in the town include the Church of St Gregory, the Kremlin, the Abraham Monastery and the Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery, which is venerated as the shrine of the town’s patron saint, St Dmitry of Rostov.

Lying at the mouth of the Trubezh River on the shore of Lake Pleshcheyevo, Pereslavl-Zalessky has numerous cathedrals, monasteries and churches, with the oldest being the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, built out of white stone in 1152-1157. Other landmarks in the town include the Pereslavl Aboretum, the Museum of Steam Engines, the Museum of Kettles, and the Museum Estate of The Little Boat of Peter the Great.

Yaroslavl is located in a very picturesque setting at the confluence of the Kotorosl and Volga Rivers. As is the case with all the cities and towns on the Golden Ring, Yaroslavl has many magnificent examples of ancient churches, monasteries and cathedrals. It also has some spectacular theaters, including the Volkov Theater which opened its doors to the public in 1750, making it Russia's very first commercial theater. Today it is still considered to be among Russia’s most innovative drama institutes and is seen in the theater community as one of Russia's most prestigious venues to perform in.

With recorded history going back to 1213, and actual history likely going back even further, Kostroma's first stone edifice, the five-domed Epiphany Cathedral, was built in 1559-1565 and remains standing today. The landmarks and attractions of the city of Ivanovo include the Svyato-Vvedensky Monastery, the wooden Uspenskaya church, the Industrial and Art Museum, the Palace of Arts and the mansion of A Duringer built in 1910. Certainly, visitors interested in the early history of Russia will find plenty to see on a tour of the Golden Ring.


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