In this article I would like to write about one of the main tourist “visiting” cards of our country – the Golden Ring. Everyone has heard about it, but what cities are included in it and what is interesting to see there, few can say …

The Golden Ring, known among foreigners as the Golden Ring of Russia, is a group of popular tourist routes passing through ancient Russian cities located in the territories of 6 Central European regions: Moscow, Vladimir, Ivanovo, Kostroma, as well as Tver and Yaroslavl.

The so-called classic Golden Ring is a route of eight points – Vladimir, Ivanovo, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov, Sergiev Posad, Suzdal and Yaroslavl. That is, this main cities of the Golden Ring of Russia

Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia, map

In addition, often when tour operators make excursion trips along the Golden Ring, the routes include other equally interesting places: Aleksandrov, Bogolyubovo, Gorokhovets, Gus-Khrustalny, Dmitrov, Kalyazin, Kideksha, Martynovo, Murom, Myshkin, Palekh, Plyos, Rybinsk, Tutaev, Uglich, as well as Yuryev-Polsky, Shuya and others. That is, these are additional cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.

In April 2016, the city of Kaluga was officially included in the number of cities in the Golden Ring of Russia.

The main thing that unites the first and second lists is that all these cities have unique architectural, historical or cultural attractions that reveal the diversity and richness of Russian folk traditions.

The main cities of the Golden Ring

Sergiev Posad known for its Trinity-Sergius Lavra, which is considered the largest Orthodox monastery in our country. It is under the protection of UNESCO. Its numerous architectural structures were built by the best architects of the 15th-19th centuries. In the ensemble of the monastery there are more than 50 buildings for various purposes. By the way, it is here that one of the episodes of “Ivan Vasilyevich Changing His Profession” takes place. In addition, the city has a wonderful Toy Museum, founded back in 1918.

Sergiev Posad

IN Pereslavl-Zalessky you can see Red Square, several interesting monastic complexes and churches, including the Transfiguration Cathedral, as well as the Museum-Estate “Boat of Peter the First”, the Museum of Steam Locomotives and the Museum of the Iron. By the way, it is believed that it was in this cathedral that many Pereslavl princes baptized, among whom was Alexander Nevsky.


IN Rostov the Great travelers usually visit the Rostov Kremlin Museum-Reserve, as well as beautiful monasteries, including Spaso-Yakovlevsky and Avraamiev Epiphany. Wooden and stone buildings of the city (XVIII-XX centuries) are also of great historical value.

Rostov the Great

IN Yaroslavl, considered the oldest city on the Volga (1010), tourists can see an outstanding example of the urban planning policy of Catherine II – the historical center of the city, as well as the Transfiguration Monastery and the beautiful Church of Elijah the Prophet.


Kostroma It is interesting, first of all, for its historical center with the historical structure of the planning, approved by Catherine II, the basis of which is the ray grid of streets. The main city square is Susaninskaya, with beautiful historical buildings such as the Fire Tower, the former building of the Guardhouse, and the Trade Rows, which occupy a fairly large territory. And, of course, the highlight of the Kostroma program is the Ipatiev Monastery.


To the city of brides Ivanovo tourists usually call in with a small sightseeing tour, during which they inspect the historical center, where former merchant houses of the 19-20 centuries have been preserved, as well as monuments of constructivism (30s of the last century of the XX century), including the House-Ship. You can also note the oldest civil brick building in the city – the Shchudrovskaya tent (17th century) and the Svyato-Vvedensky nunnery.


Suzdal – This is, first of all, the famous Suzdal Kremlin, which is the oldest part of the city (early 11th century). The earthen ramparts and ditches of the ancient fortress, as well as three churches, a complex of bishops’ chambers and the Nativity Cathedral have survived to this day in the Kremlin. In addition, there are five remarkable monastic complexes in Suzdal: Spaso-Evfimiev, Pokrovsky, Alexandrovsky, Robe Deposition and Vasilievsky. As well as many old churches, old shopping arcades and a wonderful Museum of Wooden Architecture.


Well, and completes my main list – Vladimir, the main attractions of which are the fortress Golden Gate, the white-stone Assumption and Dmitrievsky cathedrals and several beautiful churches of the 17th-18th centuries. The Water Tower is also noteworthy. By the way, it is in Vladimir that the maximum security prison, praised by Mikhail Krug, is located – the Vladimir Central.


Additional cities of the Golden Ring of Russia

Along with the classic “eight-point” golden route, there are also more extended ones – their composition depends only on the imagination of tour operators. By the way, many additional cities are no worse than the main ones, that is, they are just as wonderful in terms of landscapes, culture and traditions.

I have already listed an approximate list of additional cities, so I see no reason to duplicate it here. Personally, I would advise you to at least visit:

Bogolyubovo – the Holy Bogolyubsky Convent and the very picturesque Church of the Intercession on the Nerl are worthy of attention here.

Golden ring - Bogolyubovo

Kalyazin – the hallmark of this town is the Troitsko-Makarievsky monastery complex flooded during the creation of the Uglich reservoir with a 60-meter bell tower floating on a small island.

Golden Ring - Kalyazin

Kideksha is located near Suzdal, and is famous, first of all, for its white-stone church of Boris and Gleb, included in the UNESCO heritage list. This church was built in the 12th century and is considered the first white-stone building in all of northeastern Russia.


IN Myshkine you can see with your own eyes the exhibits of the world’s only Mouse Museum, as well as visit the Russian Valenki Museum and a rather interesting historical and ethnographic open-air museum with traditional folk buildings. Also, tourists usually visit the Assumption Cathedral and stroll along the boulevard, where beautiful wooden buildings have been preserved.

Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia - Myshkin

A beautiful town comfortably located on the high bank of the Volga Plyos – was founded in 1410 and was glorified with the brush of Levitan himself, as a mirror of the Russian province and the key to understanding such a mysterious Russian soul.

Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia - Plyos

Uglich famous for its historical center, where its main attractions are located – the Uglich Kremlin, the ancient Church of Dmitry on the Blood (1692) and the Transfiguration Cathedral. In addition, there are three monasteries in the city – Voskresensky, Epiphany and Alekseevsky. Also of interest are civil buildings (merchant estates) and the ensemble of the Torgovaya Square with the Torgovy Rows.


Well, I will complete my list of additional places in the Golden Ring of Russia, the so-called “Pearl on the Volga” – a city Tutaev… Its churches are picturesquely scattered along the hilly banks of Mother Volga, and it is the local landscape that attracts the attention of tourists who come here.


Useful information on the Golden Ring

The most convenient way to see the Golden Ring, especially if you do not live in Moscow, is, of course, an organized excursion, in which you will be brought and taken away, fed, resettled and told. Its only drawback is the “gallop across Europe”. Such tours last on average from 2 to 5 days, but there are also 7 and 10 day routes.

Quite often, the starting point for traveling along the Golden Ring is the city of Sergiev Posad, located about 54 km north of Moscow (from the Moscow Ring Road) and being its closest point to the capital. The most distant point in this group of routes is Kostroma, located 340 km from the capital.

There are many tour operators on the tourist market offering similar tours, but the prices are about the same for all, for example, the Rus tour operator has a website, the minimum cost of such a trip starts from 3990 rubles for 2 days with breakfast, and reaches 22 490 rubles for a 7-day trip with three meals a day.

It’s up to you to decide a lot or a little, of course, but if you live in Moscow or the region and have a car plus a good guidebook, then it is probably easier to go along these routes on your own, having previously compiled a detailed trip itinerary so as not to miss anything and understand about the cost of visiting and opening hours of the most important attractions.

You can’t hit the train on the Golden Ring, since the railway connects mainly only regional centers, such as Yaroslavl or Vladimir, and in many small points the stations are often located at a considerable distance from tourist places, which is rather inconvenient.

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