Best things to do in Suzdal
Find out more about those top places in Suzdal
Located in the heartlands of medieval Muscovy, Suzdal is the diamond of Russia’s famous Golden Ring of iconic ancient towns. Rising from the steppe landscape, the golden onion domes of Suzdal’s numerous Orthodox monasteries make for a beguiling sight while in the walled town itself little has changed since the 18th century. Modernity bypassed sleepy Suzdal and today rolling green fields intersperse ornately decorated wooden houses, cows and chickens roam the cobbled streets and church bells provide a magical soundtrack. The town’s most iconic attractions are undoubtedly the 14th century frescoes Monastery of St. Euthymius and the whitewashed walls of the 12th century Kremlin. While most tours of Russia focus on the country’s tumultuous modern history, Suzdal is a hidden gem where pre-revolutionary life comes to life.
Although little known outside Russia, the whitewashed Suzdal Kremlin is arguably the birthplace of the Russian nation. Founded in the 10th century, the fortress was the power base of Prince Dolgoruky, who eventually founded a small fur-trapping outpost that developed into Moscow. The Kremlin’s highlight is undoubtedly the turquoise domed 13th century Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral, which was listed by UNESCO World Heritage in 1992.
Bedecked in remarkable frescoes and capped with gleaming gold onion domes, the Monastery of Saint Euthymius is one of Russia’s holiest locations. With links to Ivan the Terrible, Grand Prince Vasily III and the noble Pozharsky family, the monastery also has a historical pedigree to match its ecclesiastical might and architectural beauty.
For those looking for an insight into life in pre-revolutionary Russia look no further than Suzdal’s Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life. Besides fairytale-esque 18th century wooden churches and peasant cottages, the museum also houses a traditional craft market and organizes guided tours.