Golden Ring tours
After the capitals – Moscow and St. Petersburg – there is a great opportunity to enjoy the quiet and peaceful life in the heart of the Russian province, taking a so-called Golden Ring tour. The Golden Ring is a great tourist route, formed by a ring of several cities and towns Northeast of Moscow, the capital of Russia, characterized by extremely beautiful countryside views and architectural monuments. These ancient towns, which also played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church, preserve the memory of the most important and significant events in the history of Russia. The towns are often called "open-air museums", and they feature unique monuments of Russian architecture of the 12th–18th centuries, including kremlins, monasteries, cathedrals, and churches. During a Golden Ring tour you’ll get a unique opportunity to admire the most scenic onion-shaped domes of Russian orthodox churches.
Traditionally Golden Ring Tours start from Moscow, going on through Vladimir, Suzdal, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov Velikiy, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Sergiev Posad. All cities and towns are located relatively close to each other, and the circular Golden Ring route makes it possible to easily pass from one place to another, coming back to the starting point. Travelers have different possibilities for making a Golden Ring tour and moving among the sights: it is possible to take a bus tour, to make a car trip or else the towns can be reached by train.
There is no official list of which cities make up part of the Golden Ring, anyways, the entire route visiting all the main cities, that are Sergiev Posad - Rostov Velikiy - Pereslavl-Zalesskiy - Yaroslavl - Kostroma - Ivanovo - Plyos - Suzdal - Vladimir is about 700km (beginning and ending in Moscow).
Accomodation. There are no luxury hotels on the Golden Ring route, the best you can expect is 4* hotels in Yaroslavl. In some small towns you can only find a Soviet-style hotel, but others, such as Suzdal, offer a wide range of guest house type accommodation
Eating. When travelling along the Golden Ring route, you’ll have the opportunity to taste mostly traditional Russian food, anyways, in some cities there are also Western brand fast-food outlets.
THE CITIES ALONG THE GOLDEN RING.
VLADIMIR. This city, founded in 995, in the 12th century used to be the capital of Russia and its political, cultural and religious center. It is located 179 km to the east from Moscow, and it is the first stop along the Trans-Siberian railway route. Vladimir is an important reputation for its unique cathedrals, four of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list..
SUZDAL. A calm ancient Russian town 38 kilometers north to Vladimir, Suzdal is often referred to as an open-air museum for the amount of old buildings that have been preserved and the lack of industrialization. Here you can walk around among green hills, enjoying beautiful views, old monasteries and churches. Several sights are protected by UNESCO. Highlights include the Spaso-Yefimiev Monastery, which is now a museum, and the museums of the kremlin.
IVANOVO. It is quite a big city (450 thousand inhabitants), located between Suzdal (70 kilometers to the south) and Kostroma. It is both the youngest and the most industrial of all Golden Ring cities. Previously the city was known as Ivanovo-Voznesensk after the two villages which merged to form the new city in 1871. It is forever connected with its once-booming textile trade which led to the city being known as Bride City and Russian Manchester.
KOSTROMA. A surprisingly calm and inviting town, located on Volga river, 120 kilometers north to Ivanovo. The city is most famous for its Ipatievsky Monastery which has links with the Romanov Dynasty as the first Romanov tsar – Tsar Michael – was here when he was made tsar. Kostroma is the Golden Ring city furthest from Moscow.
YAROSLAVL. Yaroslavl has got its name from the Prince Yaroslav the Wise, who founded the town in the beginning of 11th century, at the place where Volga river meets Kotorosl. Now it is a large industrial city, the biggest along the Golden Ring (630 inhabitants) and considered the unofficial capital of the Golden Ring, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s main attraction is the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, which is now a museum and among its many beautiful churches the most famous are St. Elijah the Prophet’s Church and the John the Baptist’s Church, both of which are beautifully decorated with frescos.
ROSTOV VELIKIY. Rostov Velikiy (Rostov the Great, named so to distinguish it from the larger Rostov-on-Don) is one of the oldest cities in Russia, its history started 4 thousand years B.C. with the first tribes that stayed next to the Lake Nero. Its most impressive sight is the white-stone kremlin which stands on Lake Nero and is now a museum-reserve. The city also has three monasteries and museums dedicated to the art of painting on enamel for which the city is famed.
PERESLAVL-ZALESSKIY. An old Russian provincial town, famous for its monasteries, four of which are still active, old churches. This place is the birthplace of a celebrated Russian hero – prince Alexander Nevsky, proclaimed saint. Pereslavl-Zalesskiy also links with Peter the Great, who built his first toy flotilla here on Lake Plesheevo.
SERGIEV POSAD. Sergiev Posad’s main attraction is the UNESCO-protected Troitse-Sergieva Lavra – a monastery founded in the 14th century by St. Sergius of Radonezh, which is one of the most revered Russian saints. At present the Lavra is one of the most important religious sites in Russia.
Golden Ring Tours 2016-2017 will give you a unique opportunity to experience the feeling of Old Russia.