Suzdal is located 200 km (124 mi) Northeast
of Moscow in Russia. It is one of the oldest and best preserved
medieval towns of Medieval Russia. It is part of the Golden Ring of
Moscow, historically significant site around Russia's capital. The
name of the city is derived from an old Russian word for "construct"
or "make from clay". The original city walls surround an original
medieval settlement known as Kremlin. It was constructed around
1024, but today little remains from the medieval fortifications.
Only ditches and ramparts survive from the original structure.
History The town was founded in the 10th
century and was subordinate to Rostov Veliky. Later in 1125 Grand
Prince Yury Dolgoruky made Suzdal the capital of the Rostov-Suzdal
principality. His son Andrey Bogolyubsky subsequently built new
capital Vladimir, and principality began to be known as
Vladimir-Suzdal. Suzdal's political influence started to fade away.
Although it was for a short time the centre of Suzdal-Nizhny
Novgorod Principality in the fourteenth century. It finally was
annexed by Moscow in 1392.
Stone construction in Suzdal was
started at the beginning of the thirteenth century before the Mongol
invasion. A single Church was built — the Nativity Cathedral of
Suzdal Kremlin. Once the Tatar-Mongol invasion ended and the
political situation stabilized, stone construction started again in
sixteenth century. It was just slightly inferior to the construction
held in Moscow, it continued to prosper until the end of the
eighteenth century. At this time Suzdal was an important trading
city, located in the heart of a rich agricultural region. Since the
nineteenth century Suzdal stopped developing due to the
Trans-Siberian Railway bypassed it and due to the absence of
factories in town. Which made possible for town's appearance to
During the time of the Soviet Union, nearly
all of Suzdal's economy was planned around its tourist potential. As
a result, very few modern buildings were constructed in Suzdal (by
law there are no structures more than 2 stories high except
cathedrals). Also, a number of wooden structures from other parts of
Russia were transported here, and the whole city was converted into
an 'open-air museum'.
Tourist high season is summer and
mid-winter, with numbers of visitors peaking at weekends and
holidays. During off season the city is quiet even on weekends
without losing much of its charm.
Suzdal is a small town with a population of ten thousand people,
predominantly wooden buildings and a huge number of stone churches
and monasteries. No matter how hard you push to see everything in
one single day, it will be extremely difficult. The following sights
are the must on any trip to Suzdal:
Majority of Suzdal's
churches and monasteries are of the 17-18 centuries. With only one
building being of the pre-Mongol period, though seriously remodeled,
— Cathedral of the Nativity in the Kremlin. Additionally, be sure
to check Kideksha village featuring real pre-Mongolian Church, which
is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The most interesting
architectural sights — the main cathedrals and towers of St.
Euthymius Monastery and Pokrovsky Monastery. Also holy gates of the
Rizopolozhensky Monastery. The most unusual churches - churches
with concave tents which can't be found anywhere else except of
Suzdal. There are a few of them located outside of town's center.
Museum of wooden architecture — possibly, the best in Central Russia
Bells listening. For this go to the Monastery of Saint Euthymius.
However, there is another way to see Suzdal: just walk around
slowly, try to get away from the crowds, get to the churches on the
outskirts. This walk can turn into a totally unforgettable
Suzdal Kremlin The oldest preserved part of
the city is Suzdal Kremlin. It is protected on three its sides by
river Kamenka, and on the last one - by erected in eleventh century
earthen rampart, which still can clearly be seen near Assumption,
summer St. Nicholas and winter Nativity churches.
Cathedral of the Nativity
1 Cathedral of the Nativity Theotokos (Рождественский собор). 1222
year. It was rebuilt several times during its long history. Inside
of the cathedral one can find preserved painting of 13-17 centuries,
13th century Golden Gate. Cathedral's necropolis contains buries of
the members of princely and boyar families of 12-17 centuries.
Belfry was built in 1635 opposite the cathedral. 100 rub.
Archbishop's chambers (Архиерейские палаты). 15-18 centuries.
Consists of three buildings – the "old Archbishop's chambers" (15
century), the refectory "Church of the Annunciation" (16 century)
and "bell tower" (1635) – connected by a system of passages and
galleries. At the end of the 17th century a huge cross chamber was
built, which now hosts a museum. Museum exhibits a model of ancient
city of Suzdal and also features interior, recreated by the
descriptions of the 18 century.
3 Wooden Church of St.
Nicholas (Деревянная Никольская церковь). 1766 year. This church was
built in Glotovo in 1766 and was moved to Suzdal in 1960 to be part
of a museum of wooden architecture. The church is elevated off the
ground about a story high from when it was moved across the country.
This church is made out of all wood and represents the close
relationship between wood and stone architecture and how precise the
Russians were while building this back in 1766.
4 Church of
the Assumption (Успенская церковь), Kremlyovskaya str.. 17 century.
Built in Naryshkin Baroque style. Current appearance has acquired as
a result of reconstruction after a fire in 1719. Used to have a
belfry and a fence with a small gate, destroyed in 1920s.
Church of St. Nicholas (Никольская церковь). 1729-1739 years. One of
the first churches built in the city after the great fire of 1719
and one of the five churches in Suzdal with a bell tower in the form
of a concave tent, the so-called "Suzdal tune".
6 Church of
the Сhrist Nativity (Церковь Рождества Христова). 1775 year. A small
winter church of the 18 centuryб located next door to the summer St.
Nicholas one. If there won't be a cupola, one could confuse it with
a regular residential house.
Monastery of St. Euthymius 7
Saviour Monastery of St. Euthymius (Spaso-Evfimiev Monastery), Ul.
Lenina, ~135. 09:00-18:00. The Spaso-Evfimiev Monastery is one of
the largest and best preserved monasteries in Suzdal. It is very
large and houses more than 10 separate museums, including a museum
commemorating the GULAG and Russian historical museums. It is just
as impressive (perhaps more) than the Moscow Kremlin. One can spend
an entire day touring the museums and churches. It is strongly
recommended to purchases a single ticket for all of the constituent
museums as the guards strongly enforce admission tickets. 350 RUB
for an all-inclusive ticket.
Traktir (Трактир); Ul
Vasil'evskaya 34B; tel. (49231) 211-91
Ul. Kremlevskaya 20; tel. (49231) 217-63
Yley (Улей); Ul.
Lenina 43' tel. (49231) 233-67
Bal'zaminow dvorik (Бальзаминов
дворик); Ul Lenina 75; tel. (49231) 250-90
Emelya (Емеля); Ul.
Lenina 63A; tel. (49231) 201-00
Landisch (Ландыш); Ul
Neteka 1; tel. (49231) 209-88
Ul. Krasnoarmeyskaya 25A; tel. (49231) 212-13
Ul. Lenina 73; tel. (49231) 207-22
Ul Lenina 43; tel. (49231) 243-19
16 St. John the Baptist Church, ulitsa Lenina, 53.
This church was built in 1720, at the same time that the St.
Nicholas church was built, although the difference between the types
of architecture of the two churches is quite remarkable. Whereas the
St. Nicholas Church is all wooden, the St. John Church is made out
of white plastered walls with wooden supports.
Aleksandrovskiy Convent (Александровский
17 St. Alexander Convent (Holy Gate of Alexander's monastery, Святые
ворота Александровского монастыря), Ulitsa Gasteva (ул. Гастева),
~21. This church was built in 1240 by an unknown architect. It is
said that the princesses of Suzdal, Mariya and Agrippina, were
buried here in the 14th century. Parts: Church of the Ascension of
Jesus. 18 Holy Gate (Святые ворота), Ulitsa Gasteva (South Wall
of the Convent). 1695 19 Convent of Intercession (Intercession
of the Theotokos convent), Pokrovskaya ulitsa. The convent was
founded in 1364. In its center stands the cathedral of the
Intercession; it was an add-on built in 1518 financed by Moscow knaz
(king) Basil The Third. The interior of the cathedral has no
paintings or stained glass, it is simply plain white stone walls all
around. The church was and still is one of the richest convents in
Russia. The convent is the home of many nuns and is also the burial
vault for twenty nuns of noble birth. Connected to the white stoned
wall cathedral is an art museum which can be toured. There are many
paintings but none in the cathedral itself. This building is filled
with arches and art created in the 16th and 17th century.
Convent of the Intercession 20
Cathedral of the Intercession, Pokrovskaya ulitsa, 50. 21 Saints
Peter and Paul church, Pokrovskaya ulitsa,48. 22 St. Nicholas
church, Pokrovskaya ulitsa, 46. 23 Rizopolozhensky Monastery
(Ризоположенский монастырь), Ulitsa Lenina (ул. Ленина), ~79. The
Rizpolozhensky nunnery was founded in 1207. It was the first
monastery in the town. 24 Cathedral of Rizopolozhensky
( Ризоположенский собор). 25 Monastery Belltower (Преподобенская
колокольня). 1813-1819 26 Remains of Sretenskoi Refectory Church
( Остатки Сретенской трапезной церкви). 1882 27 Holy Gate
(Святые ворота), Ulitsa Kropskoi. 1688 28 Church of Feast of the
Cross (Holy Cross Church, Храм Воздвижения Креста Господня), 3-ya
Internatsionalnala ulitsa, ~62 (- Next to the Church of Saints
Cosmas and Damian). Found in 1696. 29 Church of Saints Cosmas
and Damian, ulitsa Korovniki,~39. 30 Friday Church (Пятницкая
церковь), Kremlyovskaya ulitsa, 1. 31 Church of Nativity of St.
John the Baptist (Церковь Рождества Иоанна Предтечи, Предтеченская
церковь), ulitsa Shmidta,~5. Founded in 1739 32 Church of St.
Lazarus of Bethany resurrection (Лазаревская церковь), Staraya
Get in There are no trains to Suzdal, so aside from organized
bus tours, the only way to reach the city is by bus or car.
By train The closest train station is in Vladimir. All trains
running from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod stops there. Travel time by
high-speed train from Moscow to Vladimir — 1 h 40 min, by slow —
Vladimir's bus station is 50 meters away from the
train station (across the parking lot).
By bus Buses from
Vladimir depart every 20-30 min, 6:30 — 21:40, but take your time to
find a bus station that brings you back, as it might not be obvious
from where to start the journey back. Besides, there are buses from
Ivanovo, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Moscow (once daily from Moscow's
Shelkovskaya bus station and couple more from Moscow's Kursky Train
Station, travel time 4 h).
Infrequent (2-3 times a day)
suburban buses go from Suzdal to Kovrov and Gavrilov Posad. No
direct connections to Yuryev-Polsky.
1 Suzdal Bus station, 44
Vasilyevskaya str., ☎ +7 49231 20147, fax: +7 49231 21845.
04:30-20:00. It's located 1 km east of the center, which is a 20
minute walk along Vasilievsky street or a short taxi ride. But, if
you are coming by bus from Vladimir, do not get off there. You can
stay seated and pay an extra 14 RUB to go to the center with the
same bus. Bus station itself is rather primitive, with minimal snack
and toilet facilities available.
By car Along A-113 road
from Vladimir (40 km) or Ivanovo (80 km). If coming from Moscow (220
km), follow Vladimir's Northern old bypass, then turn left.
Get around Local buses operates on a four routes. However, you
most likely won't need them, as the town is quite small.
Taxis can be found in abundance in front of the shopping arcade.
They can be useful for a trip to Kideksha.
You will not find any McDonalds restaurants or any trace of
Western chain shops or hotels here.
1 Trapeznaya restaurant
(Located in a room of the refectory of Suzdal's Kremlin). , this
restaurant features a traditional Russian menu of bliny (pancakes)
with caviar, priced much lower than in Moscow. Try their marinated
forest mushrooms - they are beautiful and tasty, whether eaten plain
or alongside a serving of cold vodka. Korchma (in the city
center). this is a nice restaurant, featuring high-quality,
traditional Russian food. The local cranberry and groundberry
vodka-based liquer -- Susdalskaya Nastoika -- is worth a try. 2
Bistro Samovarnaya (Закусочная «Самоварная»), Ul. Lenina (ул.
Ленина), 84. 9-22. 3 Cafe Blinnaya (Кафе «Блинная»),
(Спасо-Евфимиев монастырь). 4 Cafe Landysh (Кафе «Ландыш»), Ul.
Neteka (ул. Нетека), 1. 24/7. 5 Cafe Privratnitskaya (Кафе
«привратницкая»), (Спасо-Евфимиев монастырь). 6 Dining room of
the city administration (Столовая городской администрации), Krasnaya
ploschad (Красная пл.) 1 (At back door of the building). M-F 9-16.
Dinner RUB120 (2012).
Drink The beverage of choice in
Russia is vodka, by far. Suzdal, however, is famous for another
drink, medovukha, a Russian type of cider made from honey. Tourists
should be wary of purchasing this drink on the streets, though, for
counterfeits are common. Ask your guide where you can buy real
Suzdal has a wide variety of offerings. There are many small
hotels with 5-20 rooms. Advance booking is crucial for those who
intend to visit during the New Year holiday season, Independence
Day, and during the summer high season.
Vasilyevsky Monastery (Гостиница в Васильевском монастыре.),
Vasilyevsky Street (From the monastery to the town centre is a very
pleasant 10 minute walk. The main road leading from the Suzdal bus
station to the town centre), ☎ +7 49 231 21800. For those interested
in a monastic type of stay. The rooms are comfortable, warm, and
clean, but are fairly bare-bones, as guests live alongside resident
monks. No telephone, TV, or shared kitchen is provided. Two shared
bathrooms are available. It is best to exit at Suzdal Bus Station
and walk to the monastery. Pay for the room inside the church. dorm
RUR400, room RUR900 (2013). 2
Ul. Naberezhnaya (ул. Набережная) 32, ☎ +7 49 231 25146, e-mail:
email@example.com. From 700 RUB. 3 Guesthouse Na
Tsvetochnoy (Гостевой дом «На Цветочной»,), Ul. Tsvetochnaya (ул.
Цветочная), 5а (go to the Pokrovskiy Monastery and after the
crossing of Stromynka and Pokrovskaya streets, move down the street
to the house Stromynka number 26 (on the right side of the street)
and the shop "Auto Parts" (on the left side of the street), turn
left into the lane, the second gate on the right.), ☎ +7 903
779-9260, +7 905 619-6255, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out:
12:00. free WI-FI sgl/dbl working days-weekends
RUB1000-1500/1500-2000, in 'Autumn' all rooms extra RUB500, all
Mid-range 4 Hotel Pushkarskaya Sloboda
(ГК «Пушкарская Слобода»), ul. Lenina (улица Ленина), 41, ☎ +7 49
231 23303, fax: +7 4931 23363, e-mail: email@example.com. Prices
start at RUR 2,500 for a double or twin room. 5 Tourist hotel
(туристического комплекса "Суздаль"), Korovniki (ул. Коровники), 45,
☎ +49231 20908. is the largest hotel, with a 3-star rating. It is
ideal for backpackers, and features "cottages" with attached
garages. Camping. Spa. Restaurant. hotel rooms: "Standard" RUR3000,
"Studio" RUR3500, "Lux" RUR3900, "Luxury modern" RUR5000, "Family"
RUR3900; - 'Town Houses'?: triple RUR3900, apt's RUR7600, HUNTING
Lodge dbl RUR4200, Camp ? (2014.apr.).
Splurge Goryachie klyuchi (Bashenki),
ul. Korovniki 14, ☎ +7 49 231 28000, +7 922 420277, fax: +7 09231
24101. A complex of hotels with big wooden rooms and a sauna,
situated in a very quiet locale. From here, it takes 20 minutes to
walk to the town center, and nearly 40 minutes to walk to the
Kremlin. Dbl. 300USD. 6 Sokol hotel, ulitsa Lenina, 50А,(
Торговая площадь). A large hotel currently under renovation after a
fire. 67 rooms in two buildings. From €110.
July 16 - Cucumber Day. A funny holiday, based on the fact that
Suzdal's cucumbers have a reputation as the best cucumbers in
central Russia. This holiday is celebrated with a folk music
Walk on Kamenka River. In winter months, when the
river is frozen, do walk the length of the river. This is the
lifeline of the city and you will see sleighs being pulled and men
ice-fishing in the river. It is a beautiful way to see the city.
Carriage/Sleigh Ride. A carriage or sleigh ride through Suzdal
is a memorable (though expensive) experience. The young men offering
the rides may be found everywhere, and they start their negotiations
with very steep prices (RUR 3,000 / .5 hr). You should be able to
negotiate down to RUR 500 or thereabouts, depending on the season.
Also, shorter rides can be negotiated.
Buy Market 1
Merchant Yard (Gostiny Dvor, Торговые ряды), ulitsa Lenina, 63а
(Center). Locals selling vegetables to each other and souvenirs to