As a rule, Vladimir is the first city on the itinerary “Golden Ring”. It has a really important meaning in the history of Russia as it was a capital of ancient North-eastern Rus.
The first mention dates of 988, the founder is considered Vladimir Svyastoslavich. And in 1108 Vladimir Monomah built a new fortress. Due to this fact the historians dispute of on this date but whatever is the date of its foundation, the city began to grow thanks to the efforts of Vladimir Monomah and Yury Dolgoruky who strengthened it as a protective post of Rostov-Suzdal principality, Andrey Bogolubsky who in 1157 moved here the capital of the principality, and finally Vsevolod the Big Nest who was one of the greatest Russian princes.
Great prince Andrey Bogolubsky (that means loved by God) was persuaded that Kievan Russia came to its end, so he left Kiev going to the north-east of Russia and searching for a new place where he could develop and consolidate Russian state. He took with him the Icon of the Mother of God. Near Vladimir the horses refused to go farther and Andrey got nothing to do but to stay here for the night. That night Mother of God appeared in his sleep and told Andrey to stay here. This place became village Bogolubovo and Andrey immortalized the appearence of Mother of God by constructing a wonderful palace which became Bogolubsky convent.
Another very special monument in Bogolubovo is the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl river. The biography of Andrey Bogolubsky says that the church was built in 1165 in honour of the victory over the bulgars in 1164 and also that it’s a memorial in memory of the died sun of the prince, Izyaslav. The place of construction of the church is unique: on the spacious meadow at junction of 2 rivers. You will have great pleasure by walking 1500 km along this meadow sweet-smelling with more than 200 types of plants and herbs. This church is a real symbol of Russia! Under UNESCO protection.
After announcing Vladimir the capital of Vladimir-Suzdal principality, Andrey Bogolubsky started to consolidate the city. In 1158 he walled it and in 1164 constructed 5 gates. Only this Gold gate remained whole nowadays. It served front access door to the richest boyar part of the city. Oak folds of the gate that are missing now were binded round with gilded copper plates that shined brightly on the sun therefore the gate was called Golden Gate.
Just near the Golden gate you will notice former Old Believers Trinity church which is a museum now. It was built in 1913-1916 and has very interesting architecture. It reminds an old Byzantine cathedral decorated in tradion of Russian building art.
Up to the beginning of the governing of Ivan the Terrible, Rojdestvensky monastery was officially the main monastery in Russia. Up to XVI century here were created the most important Russian chronicles and other documents.
Dormition cathedral in Vladimir is an outstanding monument of white stone Russian architecture. It was built in 1158 and before Moscow rise all the Vladimir and Moscow princes used to be crowned here. This cathedral became an example for a number of later cathedrals including Dormition cathedral in Moscow Kremlin. Also this is one of few cathedrals where unique Andrey Rublev frescos are conserved. Under UNESCO protection.