'Golden Ring' a Treasure Trove of History
Baumann, Dan, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Dan Baumann Daily Herald President
SUZDAL, Russia - No traveler to Russia should consider leaving the country without visiting the glorious old cities known together as the Golden Ring.
Located northeast of Moscow, these cities are a treasure chest of Russia's royal and church history. Towns in the Golden Ring include Zagorsk, Rostov Veliky, Yaroslav, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Suzdal and Vladimir.
The trail between these towns crosses northern Russia's storied birch forests. It passes through dirt poor villages and decaying industrial towns. It includes one city (Kostroma) the Communists closed to western visitors.
Although each of these towns is worth a visit, the brightest jewels are the picturesque onion-dome cities of Zagorsk, Suzdal and Vladimir. If you're visiting Russia, make sure these three towns are on your agenda, and if you have time for only one make it Suzdal.
Suzdal is a town the Communists forgot to ruin. It does not have massive apartment blocks, a train station, factories. What it has is 33 old churches, two monasteries, a convent and an earthen wall that sheltered the town for centuries. The center of town is lined with beautifully preserved wooden houses hundreds of years old.
Though no one knows when it was founded, Suzdal was first mentioned in the Russian Chronicles in 1024 A.D. Its Cathedral of the Nativity of our Lady was begun in 1222 and today houses some of Russia's most ancient and precious art, including the Golden Gates of Suzdal.
Its pleasant pace is enhanced by the pastoral setting. In every direction are spectacular spires and domes and quaint footbridges across the small stream. …