Assumption Cathedral - UNESCO Heritage Site

The Assumption Cathedral was the mother church of medieval Russia during the 13th and 14th century. Andrew the Pious commissioned it to be built and had it dedicated to the Virgin Mary who he promoted as a holy patron. The white stone monument represents the architecture of Vladimir and Suzdal. The church was more specifically built between the years 1158 and 1160 by prince Andrei Bogolyubsky as the main church of Vladimir-Suzdal. Today the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vladimir-Suzdal museum use it. It is also on the World Heritage List of UNESCO and is named amongst the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal.

The cathedral was built on a hill that looks over the Klyazma River, and took up an area of 1178 square metres, making it the largest Russian church for some 400 years. The original shape of the Assumption Cathedral symbolises the stateliness of the capital city, Vladimir, and the power held by the prince. Its rounded dome roof shines like gold and the exterior walls are covered with carvings and paintings. The vault is held up by six pillars and topped with a single dome. The building of the Assumption Cathedral also contains a single bell-tower and the St. George church. The bell-tower is 56 metres high and is tiered and built in an eclectic style by architect A.Vershinsky in 1810. In 1862, architect N. Artleben built the St. George church in-between the bell-tower and the cathedral.

The cathedral, which is situated near to the Bishop’s and Prince’s palaces, was planned to be the main church. It was then destroyed by fire in 1169 and was rebuilt by prince Vsevolod III. From there the Assumption Cathedral changed structure. A gallery rose around the original walls, which in turn helped to expand the inner space of the church. On top of the gallery four more domes were added as well as one large central dome, resulting in a five-domed roof, which dominated the model of the Orthodox Church for many years. In fact this design was used in Moscow by the Kremlin Assumption cathedral.


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