Unique White Monuments of Vladimir & Suzdal
The White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal is the collective name for eight medieval limestone monuments of Zalesye. They form an important World Heritage Site in the Russian Federation.
The first of the White Monuments is the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir, which was built during the 13th and 14th century in medieval Russia. Andrew the Pious commissioned the building of the cathedral and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. The six pillared, five-domed cathedral is approximately 1,178 square meters and was considered the largest Russian church for the next 400 years. The outer walls are covered with complex and elaborate etchings. The interior was painted first in the 12th century and then again in 1408 by the famous Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chernyi. Then in 1810 a large belltower, which combined Neoclassical, Russian and Gothic influences, was put up.
The Golden Gate in Vladimir was built between 1158 and 1164. Although partially preserved this is all that is left of the ancient Russian city gates. Inside the gates is a museum that looks at the history of the 13th century Mongol invasion of Russia. The Golden Gates are made of limestone and have golden plaques lining them. It is thought that the masons were from Byzantium since they used Greek measures and not Russian ones. At one point the main arch stood at 15 meters and was topped with a barbican church, which symbolized the Theotokos protection of Andrew the Pious’ capital.
The Saviour Monastery of Saint Euthymius can be found in Suzdal, Russia. It was founded in the 14th century, but only grew in importance during the 16th and 17th century. This growth was due to the efforts of Vasili III, Ivan IV and the Pozharsky family, which is of noble descent. Within the monastery is a prison that contained religious dissidents. Today there is a museum in the prison that shows the monastery’s military history.
The Church of Boris and Gleb, found in Kideksha by the River Nerla, was built in 1152 but was modified at a later date. Yuri Dolgoruky commissioned it to be builit. The Cathedral of Saint Demetrius, otherwise known as St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, was built between 1194 and 1197 in Vladimir on the Western side of the Dnieper River.
The castle of Andrew the Pious was built in 1158 to 1165 in Bogolyubovo and was later modified again. Andrei Bogolyubsky was the son of Yuri Dolgorukii and a prince of Vladimir-Suzdal. Andrew’s mother was khan Aepa’s daughter and a princess. When Andrew became the ruler of all Suzdal land, he made Vladimir his capital and put a lot of effort and money into strengthening and constructing churches and monasteries. He built the castle Bogolyubovo at the same time next to the capital and considered this home one of his favorites.
The Church of the Intercession on the Nerl River in Bogolyubovo is one of the more beautiful Orthodox churches and a symbol of mediaeval Russia, being likened to a weeping mother. It was built by Andrew the Pious to commemorate the death of his son. The church is built out of white stone and in the interior it is made up of one dome and four columns.
The Suzdal Kremlin and the Nativity Cathedral were built or established in the 16th century. After the town lost its importance in politics it became known as a religious centre containing many monasteries and churches. Today it is a tourist attraction showing off its wonderful examples of Russian architecture of old.