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St. Euthymius Monastery, Transfiguration Cathedral, and Belfry (Suzdal)
The Resurrection Church of Kostroma (1652) is a superb example of the 17th-century Russian art (color photograph, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, 1910, Library of Congress)

The Golden Ring (Russian: Золото́е кольцо́) is a ring of cities northeast of Moscow, the capital of Russia. They formerly comprised the region known as Zalesye.

These ancient towns, which also played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church, preserve the memory of the most important and significant events in Russian history. The towns have been called "open air museums" and feature unique monuments of Russian architecture of the 12th–18th centuries, including kremlins, monasteries, cathedrals, and churches. These towns are among the most picturesque in Russia and prominently feature Russia's famous onion domes.

Cities included

Although there are some discrepancies with respect to the names of the cities that are included in the ring, most include:

Many of these cities are to be found along the M8 highway or can be reached from Yaroslavl Railway Station in Moscow.

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Churches in Sergiev Posad
Churches in Sergiev Posad

This article is an itinerary.

The Golden Ring is a collection of historic Russian cities, northeast of Moscow and southeast of Saint Petersburg. They are close enough to each other that most could be reached from any other in 24 hours (by horse). Their architecture and traditional crafts make them popular for tourism.

Understand

There is some debate as to which cities constitute the Golden Circle. Soviet officials were not inclined to tolerate such ambiguity, and therefore created an official list: Ivanovo, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Rostov Veliki, Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Vladimir, and Yaroslavl.

Other important stops on the route, however, include Alexandrov, Gus-Khrustalniy, Murom, Rybinsk, and Uglich, as well as numerous other small towns and villages.

Troitse-Sergiyeva Monastery, the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church
Troitse-Sergiyeva Monastery, the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church

Prepare

Since the cities have similar architecture, it is seldom worth visiting them all. Most visitors only make four–six stops. The most fascinating is Suzdal (near Vladimir) and so these two are worth a combined trip. Sergiev Posad is also worthwhile (and easily accessible from Moscow). For those with more time, Yaroslavl may also be worth a visit (perhaps combined with a trip to Sergiev Posad). None of this is to say that any of the destinations included below are not worth seeing—quite the contrary! But it is worth picking and choosing the ones that interest you most.

Get in

The vast majority of international visitors arrive via Moscow and its big international airports. But you can get to the individual destinations on the circuit with relative ease from any nearby part of Russia—Russia's intercity rail network is extensive and fairly efficient, supplanted by a more confusing and less efficient bus/marshrutka network. For those interested in hitting the path less (far less) beaten, the other possible international point of entry is the airport in Nizhny Novgorod to the east.

Vladimir's Assumption Cathedral
Vladimir's Assumption Cathedral

Moscow Oblast

There is only one major Golden Ring destination in Moscow Oblast, but it is a major one that probably should not be left out of anyone's Golden Ring tour. Sergiev Posad is the center of the Russian Orthodox Church, centered in the incredible Sergiev Posad Monastery.

Vladimir Oblast

Yaroslavl Oblast

St John the Baptist Church in Yaroslavl
St John the Baptist Church in Yaroslavl
  • Pereslavl-Zalessky
  • Rostov
  • Rybinsk
  • Uglich
  • Yaroslavl

Ivanovo Oblast

Kostroma Oblast

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