It is one of the oldest Russian towns, founded in 1108 (40 years before Moscow). In Middle Ages, when there were many small principalities on the territory of Russia, Vladimir was the capital of the largest principality – in a way the capital of Russia. That`s why churches and cathedrals of this town, being its historical heritage, have a great cultural value.
If you go to Vladimir from Moscow you`ll first see the monument of 12 century – Golden Gate. It was the main town entrance above which there was a church. On the sides there have been preserved high walls. Inside the Gate there is a museum with a small exposition dedicated to the period when the Gate was really golden. And this museum is worth visiting.
Mandatory visiting places are Assumption Cathedral and Dmitrievsky Cathedral. Both of them were built in 12 century. For a long time the Assumption Cathedral (1158) has been the largest church of Russia, and now it has a great cultural value. Today in its museum there is an interesting collection of Old Russian icon painters, from 12 century to Andrey Rublev. Moscow Assumption Cathedral, which has later become the main church of Russia, was built just upon the model of Vladimir Assumption Cathedral in 16 century.
Near the Assumption Cathedral, beyond a square, there is Dmitrievskiy Cathedral (1190). It is very interesting by its galleries with reliefs of various monsters, the same as in many other European churches of 12 century (for example, Notre Dame de Paris).
It will take you at least two hours to have a look around. You will have to have a ride from the Golden Gate to the cathedrals where you can have a walk on their territory and then go out to the embankment of the Klyazma. If you want to see the entire city, it would take at least half a day.
After that you should go to Bogolyubovo where it would be interesting to see Bogolyubovo monastery and then have a walk across Bogolyubovo meadow to the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl.