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Vladimir, Russia

The City of Vladimir is one of the oldest Russian communities. It is located in the heart of the historic Vladimir region (Vladimirskaya Oblast) 180 kilometers (115 miles) northeast of Moscow on the bank of the Klyazma River. The city was founded in either 990 or 1108, depending on which historians you consult. For the better part of two centuries (from 1157 to the mid 1300s) it was the capital of ancient Rus. Vladimir is now considered one of the major members of the Golden Ring of communities which have played a significant role in Russian history.

Among many other attractions, the City boasts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are the Golden Gates, Vladimir's unofficial symbol, and the Assumption and St. Demetrius Cathedrals. The city is also home to several award winning museums, art galleries and theaters; a number of world-class performing groups, artists, and artisans, and several first rate institutions of higher learning.

Vladimir, one of the communities in Russia 's celebrated "Golden Ring, " has a great deal to offer visitors. The city owes its fame, in part, to the white-stone architecture of several of its ancient buildings that date back to the 12th century, and also to the major role it played in early Russian history.

But, as this website demonstrates, contemporary Vladimir has much more to offer than architecture and a rich history, which according to some accounts is over one thousand years old. Modern Vladimir boasts a vibrant culture with many world-class musicians, dancers, artists and artisans. There are also excellent museums and exhibits, along with first rate hotels and restaurants, and interesting things to buy--all at reasonable prices.  Plus, most important, there are wonderful people to meet.

There is much to see and do in today's Vladimir!

Geographic Location

The city of Vladimir is located in the central region of Russia, approximately 180 km to northeast of Moscow. A large transport highway connecting Moscow and N. Novgorod passes through the city. Vladimir is located on the high west shore of the Klyazma River. Almost all the city sights are located in the historical center of the city, extending from west to east in the direction of Bolshaya Moscovskaya ulitsa, specifically from the city department store "Valentina" to the Hotel Vladimir.

The city borders of the thirteenth century stretched across the hill from west to east from the Golden Gate, and approximately up to the present area of Frunze square with a monument named for the revolutionary of the same name. In the center of this area, there was a small internal fortress that served to strengthen the Assumption cathedral and the Cathedral of St. Demetrius.

The Ensemble of the Nativity Monastery

At the end of the even side of Bolshaya Moskovskaya on the edge of the hill in line with principal and the Prince's cathedrals there used to be one more, the white stone cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God, a monastery temple. Founded in 1191 by Vsevolod III, the men's Nativity Monastery occupied a leading position in the hierarchy of Russia's religious houses and was known throughout the country. Only in 1561 it ceded its primacy to the Trinity-Sergiyev monastery and in 1720 also to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.

However, the monastery always remained under the authority and protection of Metropolits and Patriarchs. Starting from the middle of the XVIIIth century it became the residence of bishops of Vladimir.

The most ancient building in the Ensemble of the Nativity Monastery was the Nativity Cathedral. It was, however, completely reconstructed in the mid-nineteenth century and demolished altogether in 1930. Also in the ensemble there are the sacred gate with the Church of the Nativity of Christ (the Cross Church), a tent bell-tower, monks' and archimandrite's cells, services, the fence and towers. The finest extant building in the complex is the eighteenth-century Archbishop's House designed in a restrained baroque manner.

Since 1918 the monastery had been occupied by KGB (former NKVD) and only in 1993 did this institution give up the cloister. After that the monastery started to revive and gain its former positions.

The bishop of Vladimir has returned to the bishop's house.

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