Yuryev- Polsky is a small town in Vladimir Oblast.
During medieval period it was one of the largest cities in the area
with numerous churches and monasteries constructed to honor God and
saints. After the Russian Revolution much part of historic buildings
were abandoned or destroyed by newly established atheist government
that persecuted religion and belief in all forms. However Russian
Orthodox Church suffered the most in the new Witch Hunts.
Geography Yuryev-Polsky is in the field region
(Vladimirskoe Opolye) on the banks of the tiny river Koloksha, the
left tributary of the Klyazma. The land near the town is almost
flat. There are no natural fortifications, and the spot is quite
unpractical from the medieval point of view. The choice of this
location was motivated by the agricultural importance of the region
and the huge trading activity during the Middle Ages: the roads from
Vladimir, Suzdal, Pereslavl Zalessky, and Rostov Veliky crossed
here. The town has lost its hub position. It stands on a minor
railway line, far away from any big roads. Yuryev-Polsky is in the
geographical center of the Golden Ring, but the lack of transport
connections prevents most travellers from visiting the town.
History Yuryev-Polsky was founded in 1152 by Prince Yury
Dolgoruky. The name of the town is related to the founder (Yuryev)
and to the location (Polsky or Polskoy, this means "standing in the
field" and has nothing to do with Poland). The town was situated in
the agricultural region of Vladimir Fields, at the crossing of
several trading roads. This advantageous location led to the rapid
development. In 1212, Yuryev-Polsky became the center of the small
principality that appeared after the defragmentation of
Vladimir-Suzdal state. The importance of the town was emphasized by
the construction of the white-stone Cathedral of St. George.
However, the decay started already in 1238 when the town was
destroyed by Batu Khan. Yuryev-Polsky also suffered from further
Mongol invasions in 1382 and 1408. The shift of the capital to
Moscow changed the trading activity, and the location of
Yuryev-Polsky became less advantageous. Since 14th century,
Yuryev-Polsky was considered as a minor settlement on the outskirts
of Moscow principality. The town was entrusted to foreign rulers
subordinated to Moscow princes. Since 17th century, Yuryev-Polsky is
a regular provincial town, standing away from any important roads.
The only active road passed from Moscow to Suzdal, but it decayed
after the construction of railways, and the town turned to its
present, sleepy state. Yuryev-Polsky is recorded in the well-known
1968 Russian film The Golden Calf, after the satiric novel by Ilf
Travel Destinations in Yuryev- Polsky
Orientation Yuryev-Polsky has a pretty simple rectangular
layout. The river flows from north to south and slightly
disturbs the regular arrangement of streets and houses. The road
from Vladimir comes from the east, the road to Alexandrov and
Moscow goes to the south-west, and the road to Pereslavl
Zalessky leaves the town in the northern direction. The railroad
passes along the southern boundary of the town. The historical
center is quite compact and located on the left (eastern) bank
of the river. The main square is named Советская площадь (Soviet
square). The Trading rows and the monastery of Archangel Michael
are found right on this square. The cathedral of St. George is
hundred meters away, behind the monastery. The monastery and the
cathedral lie within the well-preserved, picturesque ancient
Monastery of Archangel Michael (Михаило-Архангельский монастырь),
ул. 1 мая/Советская пл. The monastery dates back to early 13th
century, but its present buildings are much later (16th–18th
century). The complex is surrounded by a stone wall with towers. The
wall was originally constructed in 16th century and rebuilt in 18th
century. The towers still look fortress-like and quite impressive,
while the wall is rather low and does not have any defensive
function. Behind the wall, one finds several churches in Russian
style: the cathedral of Archangel Michael (late 18th century), the
church of Orans (1625), the church of John the Evangelist (over the
gate, 17th century), and the wooden church of St. George (17th
century, this church was moved from a neighboring village).
Additionally, there are a hip-roof bell tower and a refectory
building from 17th century. The cathedral of Archangel Michael
belongs to the church, while other buildings are used by the museum.
Cathedral of St. George (Георгиевский собор), ул. 1 мая. One of
the most impressive buildings of ancient Russian architecture.
The cathedral was constructed in 1234 in the general style of
that period. The appearance of the building was likely similar
to that of St. Demetrius cathedral in Vladimir or the church of
the Intercession on the Nerl in Bogolyubovo. All the walls were
covered by finest stone carvings that formed huge compositions.
In 15th century, the cathedral collapsed, and craftsmen from
Moscow repaired the building. However, they were not aware of
the original project. Moreover, some stones were broken or lost,
and the craftsmen simply did their best to collect the
remainings. The result is the present unusual shape of the
cathedral with the unexpectedly huge dome, sitting on the top of
the relatively small, stocky building. The walls are covered by
carvings, but the original order of the images is unknown, and
their present layout is partly accidental. The carvings of this
cathedral remain an even greater puzzle than the decoration of
St. Demetrius cathedral in Vladimir. Inside the cathedral, one
can see ancient tombs of local princes and parts of original
stones that were not used during the reconstruction in 15th
century. Wall paintings are pretty regular and date back to 17th
Church of St. Nikita and church of the Intercession (церкви Никиты
Мученика и Покрова Пресвятой Богородицы), Покровская ул. (south-west
from the historical center, across the river). A complex of two
churches from late 18th century. The church of the Intercession is
built in the Russian style, while the church of St. Nikita is a nice
example of classicism and has a tall red-brick bell-tower. These two
churches are the religious center of the town.
Further churches: Bell tower of the convent of Peter and Paul'
(колокольня Петропавловского монастыря: late 19th century, Russian
revival) – a huge red-brick bell tower, the remain of the former
convent. The ravaged refectory building can be found nearby.
Church of St. Trinity (1913, Russian revival) – a ravaged red-brick
building next to the cathedral of St. George. Church of the
Nativity (церковь Рождества Пресвятой Богородицы: 1700, Russian
style) and the remains of the church of St. Boris and St. Gleb (late
18th century) Monastery of the Presentation (Свято-Введенский
Никонов монастырь). This monastery keeps the remains of two churches
in Russian style from late 17th century (church of the Presentation
and church of St. Nicholas). Both churches were ravaged and rebuilt
during the Soviet time. Now they are restored by monks.
Secular buildings: are rather unremarkable and present the general
provincial style of 19th century. The buildings are concentrated
along ulitsa Pervogo maya (ул. 1 мая, north from the central
square), Krasnooktyabr'skaya ulitsa (Краснооктябрьская ул., north
from the central square), and Vladimirskaya ulitsa (Владимирская
ул., east from the central square). The 19th century building of the
Trading rows is located directly on the central square. Museum
(Юрьев-Польский историко-архитектурный и художественный музей), ул.
1 мая, 4, ☎ +7-49246 -22-848. W–M, 09:00–17:00. A complex of several
exhibitions (tickets are sold separately for every exhibition):
Art gallery (church of John the Evangelist) – Russian art from
16th–19th century. Cathedral of St. George (interior) – original
carved stones from 13th century and 17th-century wall paintings.
Observation platform and the exhibition of monk's cell (bell tower).
The exhibition is rather boring, while the platform offers a nice
view on the town and on the surrounding fields. Peasant life and
agriculture – the regular life of the region. The life of
Bagration. Bagration was a famous military leader of Georgian
heritage during the war of 1812. In the end of his life, he lived in
the neighboring village Sima. He died from wounds he recieved at the
Battle of Borodino. He was mentioned in the famous novel War and
Peace. Weaving manufacture – the history of the textile industry
and local embroidery.
Gorodische (Городище) – a village, lying 10 km north from
Yuryev-Polsky. The spot of the ancient town Mstislavl that vanished
in 14th century. The remains of the town are ramparts surrounded by
water (former ditch). The land near Mstislavl was the place for the
battle of Lipitsa (1216), one of the largest battles during the
intestine wars in early 13th century. Get in: buses to Shordoga
or Podolets (normally, twice a day). Luchki (Лучки) – a village,
located 30 km north from Yuryev-Polsky. In the beginning of 20th
century, the Russian merchant Pervushin built a factory for dextrine
production here. The factory building is a nice example of
industrial architecture from early 20th century, while old wooden
houses are remarkable for their fine carvings. Get in: local
buses twice a week. Nebyloe (Небылое) – a village that lies 30 km
south-east from Yuryev-Polsky (the road to Vladimir) and hosts the
monastery of the Assumption (Свято-Успенский Косьмин монастырь). The
monastery was founded in late 15th century, while the stone
buildings were constructed in 17th century (Russian style). These
buildings were partially or fully destroyed during the Soviet
period. You can see three recently renovated churches, although none
of them are really impressive. Get in: buses to Vladimir. Sima
(Сима) – a village, located 20 km north from Yuryev-Polsky (the road
to Pereslavl Zalessky). The estate of Golitsyn family where
Bagration, a famous military leader of the war of 1812, spent last
months of his life. You can see the main house (classicism style),
the remains of the park, and a small museum of Bagration. In the
village, there is a small church of St. Dmitry (1775, Russian
style). Get in: buses to Pereslavl Zalessky, Luchki, or Spasskoe
(normally, 2-3 times a day). Varvarino (Варварино) – an estate of
Mit'kov family, 8 km south-east from Yuryev-Polsky. Several
buildings in classicism style from late 18th century. Get in: by
car or by foot. General remark: there are few local buses in
Yuryev-Polsky, and their schedule is somewhat irregular and
intricate. If you want to visit the neighboring villages, it is
certainly advisable to hire a taxi.
Get in Transport connections to Yuryev-Polsky are rather
inconvenient. If you do not have a car, the best starting points are
Moscow, Vladimir, Alexandrov, and Ivanovo.
By plane The
nearest international airport is located in Moscow.
Yuryev-Polsky stands on a minor railway line with a very infrequent
passenger service. The railway station is in the southern part of
the town, 1.5 km away from the historical center. Despite the low
number of trains, the station is open round-the clock, and the
waiting room (lounge) is available. Phone number of the train
From Moscow: two long-distance
trains every day (to Ivanovo and Kineshma). The trip takes 4 hours.
Both trains start from Moscow in the evening and arrive to
Yuryev-Polsky in the middle of the night. Alternatively, you can use
the indirect connection with a change in Alexandrov. Local trains
between Moscow and Alexandrov run every hour, while there is one
local train from Alexandrov to Ivanovo (in the afternoon) and two
buses running between Alexandrov and Yuryev-Polsky in the morning
and in the afternoon. The trip from Alexandrov takes 2 hours, the
full trip from Moscow – at least five hours. From Ivanovo: two
long-distance trains to Moscow (late in the evening) and three local
trains during the day. The trip takes 2–2.5 hours.
The bus station is next to the railway station, south from the
historical center. The station is open from early morning till 17:00
or 18:00. The schedule and the time-table can be obtained by
calling: +7-49246-22-153, 22-373
From Moscow: 3–4 buses per
day. In Moscow, the buses depart from the central bus station
(Schelkovskaya metro station). The trip takes four hours. From
Vladimir: 5–6 buses per day, the trip takes about two hours. From
Alexandrov: 2 buses per day, the trip takes two hours. From
Pereslavl Zalessky: the bus runs three times a week (normally, on
weekends). The trip takes about 2 hours. From Suzdal: no direct
bus connection available. One should either travel via Vladimir or
via the village Staryi Dvor. This village stands on the road from
Vladimir to Yuryev-Polsky and has three daily buses to Suzdal. The
whole trip takes at least three hours.
By car From Moscow:
160 km along A103 (via Kirzhach and Kol'chugino). Upon entering the
town, pass three or four crossings, turn right, and cross the river
(there is no road sign). From Vladimir: 70 km along R74. Upon
entering the town, you will pass under a railway bridge. Turn left
on the next crossing. From Alexandrov: 77 km (via Kol'chugino).
From Ivanovo: via Suzdal - Obraschiha or Vladimir only. There is no
adequate road from Yuryev-Polsky to Ivanovo Oblast. The road from
Gavrilov Posad to Yuryev-Polsky via Osanovec and Skomovo while
exists and paved, contains several segments of extremely bad
pavement. From Pereslavl Zalessky: 70 km along R74. From
Suzdal: 65 km via the villages Obraschiha or Staryi Dvor. In
Yuryev-Polsky, there is a lot of space for free parking. In the
daytime the central square may be crowded due to the market.
Additionally, the street along the monastery of Archangel Michael
(towards the cathedral of St. George) is closed for traffic.
Get around Yuryev-Polsky The historical center of Yuryev-Polsky
is very small and can be easily explored by foot. The hotels and
places to eat are also located nearby, while walking to the train
and bus stations should not be diffucult as well. Inside the town,
there is a regular (every half-hour) minibus service. Additionally,
long-distance buses make a stop in the historical center.
Dormitory (Общежитие ФЭК), ул. Шибанкова (east from the central
square), ☎ +7-49246 -2-21-16. Dormitory of the college of finances
and economics. The rooms are rented in summer only. Pearl
(Жемчужина), ул. Шибанкова, 72 (north from the main square), ☎
+7-49246 -2-34-55. 700 rubles per person (2008). Pokrovskaya
(Покровская), Владимирская ул. 22а, ☎ +7-49246 -2-24-17, e-mail:
email@example.com. A nice mini-hotel located next to the main
square. The rooms are modern and fully equipped. Breakfast is not
served, unguarded parking is available near the entrance. The hotel
occupies the third floor of an old building without an elevator.
Double room: from 1500 rubles (2008). Promsvyaz (Гостиница
завода), ул. Заводская, 1а (south from the main square), ☎ +7-49246
-2-27-31. A renovated guest house of the factory, close to the bus
and train stations. Yuryevskaya (Юрьевская), Советская пл, ☎
+7-49246 -2-28-44, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A modern
mini-hotel in the center of the town. The rooms are fully equipped
and even air-conditioned. However, breakfast is not served, and the
lack of an elevator makes visitors to climb up to the fourth floor.
Unguarded parking is available near the entrance. Double room: 1800
Golden calf (кафе), Советская пл. 1, ☎ +7-49246 -3-45-34.
12:00–00:00. A cafe with a trace of Russian style and rather trivial
(but fully eatable and even enjoyable) food. In the evening, loud
and troublesome music can not be avoided. Main dishes: 100–200
rubles (2008). Golden ring (кафе), Советская пл. 2, ☎ +7-49246
-2-22-20. A cheap and basic cafe on the central square. Rainbow
(закусочная), Советская пл. 5. A canteen on the central square.
Water-colour (кафе), Заводская ул. 9, ☎ +7-49246 -2-26-23. An
extremely basic cafe. Zarechye (столовая), Набережная ул. 80
(south from the central square, across the river), ☎ +7-49246
-2-23-74. A cheap canteen attached to the local factory.
Drink Sky (Ночной клуб), ул. 1 мая, 72. The only night club in
All the necessary shops can be found at Soviet
square (Советская площадь). There are no huge department stores in
Yuryev-Polsky, and specific items are sold in Vladimir only.
Book store, Советская пл. 12, ☎ +7-49246 -2-25-90. Central store
(Супермаркет), Советская пл. 1, ☎ +7-49246 -2-22-89. 09.00–22.00.
Trading rows (Торговые ряды), Советская пл. Lots of small food
Post office The postal code of Yuryev-Polsky is
6018**. Central post office (601800), Советская
пл. 1а, ☎ +7-49246 -2-20-70. M–Sa, 09:00–20:00. Post office # 2
(601802), пер. Вокзальный, 3. Post office # 3 (601803), ул. 1
Internet access Internet access is supposed to
be available in the central post office (Советская пл. 1a). However,
this part of the post office is permanently closed (2008). Most
likely, there is no public internet access in Yuryev-Polsky.