Suzdal is a town and the administrative center of Suzdalsky District in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Kamenka River, 26 kilometers (16 mi) north of the city of Vladimir, the administrative center of the oblast. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 10,535. Suzdal is one of the oldest Russian towns. In the 12th century it became the capital of the principality, with Moscow being merely one of its subordinate settlements. Nowadays Suzdal is the smallest of the Russian Golden Ring towns with population of just 9978 (2015) but a major tourist attraction. Several of its monuments are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
History : The town’s history dates back to 1024 and in 1125 Yury Dolgoruky made Suzdal the capital of the Rostov-Suzdal principality. Suzdal began to function as a capital at the time when Moscow was still a cluster of cowsheds. In 1157 Andrei Bogolyubsky moved the capital from Suzdal to Vladimir, from which time the principality was known as Vladimir-Suzdal. Set in a fertile wheat-growing area, Suzdal remained a trade centre even after Mongol-led invasions. Eventually, it united with Nizhny Novgorod until both were annexed by Moscow in 1392.
After a decline in political importance, the town rose in prominence as a religious center with incredible development projects funded by Vasily III and Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, wealthy merchants paid for 30 charming churches, which still adorn the town. Thus Suzdal reached remarkable ratio of churches to citizens: at one point, forty churches for four hundred families.
In 1864, local merchants failed to coerce the government into building the Trans-Siberian Railway through their town. Instead it went through Vladimir, 35 km (22 mi) away. As a result, Suzdal was bypassed not only by trains, but by the 20th century altogether.Furthermore, in 1967 Suzdal earned a federally protected status, which officially limited the development in the area. That is why the place remains largely the same as ages ago – its cute wooden cottages mingling with golden cupolas that reflect in the river Kamenka, which meanders sleepily through gentle hills and flower-filled meadows.
Today, the town operates as an important tourist center, featuring many fine examples of old Russian architecture—most of them churches and monasteries. Although having just under ten thousand residents, Suzdal still retains a rural look with streams and meadows everywhere and chicken and livestock a common sight on the streets, some of which remain unpaved. This juxtaposition of stunning medieval architecture with its pastoral setting lends Suzdal a picturesque charm, and in the summer, artists and easels are a common sight
Tourism : The only industry in the town is tourism. Suzdal avoided the industrialisation of the Soviet times and was able to preserve a great number of stunning examples of the Russian architecture of the 13th-19th century. There are 305 monuments and listed buildings in Suzdal, including 30 churches, 14 bell towers and 5 monasteries and convents. 79 of them are federally protected buildings and 167 are regionally protected. In 1992 two of the monuments (Saviour Monastery of St Euthymius and Kremlin with Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral) were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, together with six other White Monuments in this region.
Festivals : Open Russian Festival of Animated Film is held in Suzdal in March annually since 2002, with the support of the Russian Ministry of Culture.
Cucumber Day Festival with folk music performances is celebrated by locals on the second Saturday of July, every year since 2001
Acces : There are no trains to Suzdal, so aside from organized bus tours, the only way to reach the city is by bus or car.
By train : The closest train station is in Vladimir. All trains running from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod stops there. Travel time by high-speed train from Moscow to Vladimir — 1 h 40 min, by slow — 3-3.5 h. Vladimir’s bus station is 50 meters away from the train station (across the parking lot)
By bus : Buses from Vladimir depart every 20-30 min, 6:30 — 21:40, but take your time to find a bus station that brings you back, as it might not be obvious from where to start the journey back. Besides, there are buses from Ivanovo, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Moscow (once daily from Moscow’s Shelkovskaya bus station and couple more from Moscow’s Kursky Train Station, travel time 4 h). Infrequent (2-3 times a day) suburban buses go from Suzdal to Kovrov and Gavrilov Posad. No direct connections to Yuryev-Polsky.
1 Suzdal Bus station, 44 Vasilyevskaya str. +7 49231 20147, fax: +7 49231 21845. 04:30-20:00. It’s located 1 km east of the center, which is a 20 minute walk along Vasilievsky street or a short taxi ride. But, if you are coming by bus from Vladimir, do not get off there. You can stay seated and pay an extra 14 RUB to go to the center with the same bus. Bus station itself is rather primitive, with minimal snack and toilet facilities available.
By car : Along A-113 road from Vladimir (40 km) or Ivanovo (80 km). If coming from Moscow (220 km), follow Vladimir’s Northern old bypass, then turn left.
Attractions : Rizopolozhensky Monastery ,Museum of wooden architecture , Bells listening. @ the Monastery of Saint Euthymius , Suzdal Kremlin , Cathedral of the Nativity Theotokos , Archbishop’s chambers , Wooden Church of St. Nicholas , Church of the Assumption ,Church of St. Nicholas , Church of the ?hrist Nativity , Monastery of St. Euthymius ,Savior Cathedral , St. John the Baptist Church .St. Alexander Convent , athedral of the Intercession, Pokrovskaya ulitsa, Saints Peter and Paul church , St. Nicholas church ,Rizopolozhensky Monastery , Monastery Belltower , Remains of Sretenskoi Refectory Church , Holy Gate , Church of Feast of the Cross , Friday Church , Church of Nativity of St. John the Baptist . Founded in 1739