Out of the cities of the Golden Ring Suzdal may be considered to be the most interesting for tourists. Here feels the atmosphere of harmony and quietness that this ancient city lives in. It is just the atmosphere as it is imaged by most residents of the city. And by the abundance of historical sites concentrated on a small territory (five monasteries and over 30 churches), Suzdal has probably no peers.
The main sights of the city are Suzdal Kremlin, Nativity Cathedral, the Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Euphemius, Intercession Monastery, Museum of Wood Architecture, and the Square with Trading Rows. You may see no other sights, though during your promenades in the city you are sure to drop in at the other monasteries and churches as all of them are located in the immediate vicinity of each other. It would be rather interesting to make a short trip to the village of Kideksha (5 kilometers of Suzdal) where you can see the partially preserved Church of Boris and Gleb of 11th century with frescoes of that period.
You should start your visit to Suzdal from the Kremlin. Unlike Rostov the Great with its strongest Kremlin, the Kremlin of Suzdal wasn’t preserved as a citadel. From the walls there remained only the earth mounds over which you may have a promenade.
The Nativity Cathedral, the oldest stone church in the city dating back to 13th century, is in the center of the Kremlin. There you can see one of the masterpieces of Old Russian art – the Golden Gate made with the help of lost iron etching process. They are over 700 years old. The Nativity Cathedral abuts upon the wooden Nikolskaya Church of 1766 brought here from the village of Glotovo, and the Bishop`s Chambers. The latter accommodate quite an interesting museum, which is worth visiting.
Within walking distance of the Kremlin, on the opposite bank of the river Kamenka, there located the Museum of Wood Architecture. It is one of the most interesting museums in Russia, along with the Museum of Vitoslavlici in Novgorod the Great. Here you can see the design of wood churches and houses in Russian villages. There were also restored the interiors of everyday village life.
From the museum you`d better return to the Kremlin and the Trading Rows, as from that place it would be more convenient to get to the other sights of Suzdal. On your way back you don’t forget to climb the earth mounds from where you can have a magnificent view of the picturesque bend of the river and a multitude of surrounding churches.
At the Trading Rows you will have a wide choice of original Russian souvenirs. There are held the main people`s proms during Suzdal festivities, such as the Cucumber Festival (July, 16) or New Year`s Eve parties.
From the Trading Rows you may go to the Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Euphemius. On the way you may visit the Monastery of the Deposition of the Robe, which is still under restoration. Having gone along the wall of the Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Euphemius to the river, you may enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Suzdal – the view of the Intercession Monastery from the high bank of the river Kamenka.
The Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Euphemius has survived as a strong citadel. The monastery was built in 1352 as the main citadel for defense of Suzdal, and since the time of Catherine II it was also used as the political prison.
Today the monastery accommodates 5 museums. Every hour you can hear the carillon at the belfry (you must listen to it). The main temple of the monastery, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour, was built in 1594. It amazes by its huge sizes. So far, the temple is inactive, though the frescoes have already been restored. When group of tourists enter the cathedral, male choir sing short prayer. It sounds very beautiful thanks to acoustics of the cathedral.
Near the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour the Tomb of Prince Dmitry Pozharskiy is located, who together with Kuzma Minin gathered the national levy and liberated Moscow from the Polish army in 1606. In order to commemorate the event the mo-nument to Minin and Pozharskiy was erected before the Cathedral of St. Basil`s in Moscow.
From the Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Euphemius you should go to the Intercession Monastery. You`d better take a cab, though there is also a foot-path. At the foot of the monastery you need to go across the bridge over the river Kamenka, and then you may get to the Intercession Monastery. This is an active convent, but there was preserved the hotel consisting of separate Russian log huts (izba). Generally, foreigners are staying there who want to feel themselves in the Russian village where you can fall asleep under the carillon and awake with cocks.