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ROSTOV THE GREAT dates back to the IX century, and is the oldest town in Northeast Russia. Assumption Cathedral is topped with a famous bell loft, under which visitors have the opportunity to listen to the real bell music of ancient Russia. Rostov is well known for its unique ‘collection of the Archbishop'’s’, a fairy-tale settlement made up of dozens of churches, chambers and towers beautifully decorated with coloured frescoes and tiles.
JAROSLAVL, founded in 1010 by Yaroslav the Wise, is a real treasure-trove of Russian fine arts. The town’s most ancient buildings are located at the Monastery of the Saviour, where the manuscript of the "Tale of Igor's Feat" was found. The best monuments in the town by far are the beautiful churches, dating back to the XVII century and adorned with delicate stone carvings, tiles and frescoes. In Tolchkov, Jaroslavl architecture reaches unsurpassed heights. It contains a magnificent church that supports fifteen domes!
The History of KOSTROMA is quite different from Jaroslavl. This town is known for its downtown area, dating back to the XVIII - XIX centuries. This area was constructed in the style of Russian Classicism. The real treasure of Kostroma, however, is the Ipatiev Monastery. This magnificent building is situated on the outskirts of town and once housed the first Tzar of the Romanov dynasty, Michael Fyodorovych.
Unlike Kostroma, SUZDAL is the ancient centre of the dukes. It has retained its original design as well as a huge number of medieval monuments, many of which are on the UNESCO list. In the Suzdal Kremlin you can visit the Cathedral of the Nativity and the Metropolitan's Chambers. This town is ultimately famous for its incredible landscape and panoramic views.
If the XII century sparks your interest, an area famous for its XII-century influence is the capital of a powerful principality, VLADIMIR. Not to be overlooked is the Cathedral of the Assumption (1160 - 1185) with frescoes by A. Rublev. The St Dimitry Cathedral (1197) is a real highlight with its magnificent white stone, high relieves and the only Golden Gates in fortification walls in Russia.
The Church of the Intercession, built in 1165 and situated on the Nerl River, as well as the ancient residence of Duke Andrew in Bogolyubovo and Vladimir, are regulated by UNESCO. Many unique monuments of church architecture of the XIV - XV centuries are concentrated here, in the centre of Russian Orthodoxy.
The city grew up around the Trinity St Sergey Laura (Troitse Sergiyeva Lavra), a historical and architectural ensemble of world importance. The monastery was founded in the XIV century by Saint Sergey Radonezh, the most revered saint in Russia, whose name is associated with the notion of "Holy Russia". His imperishable relics are kept in the ancient (XV-century) Trinity Cathedral, in the Trinity St Sergey Laura. For the first time, St Sergy consecrated the cloister to the Holy Trinity.
The cloister was founded during the time of the Tartar Mongol yoke. It became a centre of unity for the Russian princes and the whole people. In praise of St Sergey, Andrew Rublev painted his famous Holy Trinity, which is kept in the Tretyakov Gallery. The murals of the Trinity Cathedral were painted by the great Andrew Rublov and Daniel Chorny. The world famous monk's choir sings in the Trinity St Sergey Laura.