Suzdal, one of the oldest towns in the north-eastern part of Russia, stands among the fertile plains called the "opoliye". In the 9th-11th centuries it was a small settlement whose residents engaged in agriculture, crafts and trade. The first mention of Suzdal in history dates to the year 1024, a time of a peasant revolt in the area. In the late 11th century the town became the capital of the Rostov-Suzdal Principality.
The principality was created by Prince Vladimir Monomakh, who is credited with the construction of the first stone church within the town walls - the Assumption of Our Lady Cathedral. His son Yuri, who later founded Moscow, became the first Suzdal prince. His residence was situated not far from the town in a place called Kideksha. Here, on the steep hank of the Nerl river, Yuri erected a white-stone church in honor of the princes Boris and Gleb, who fell in internal feuds. This monument has been preserved and is the oldest example of Vladimir-Suzdal architecture.
In the middle 12th century Yuri's son Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky moved the principality's seat from Suzdal to Vladimir on the Kliazma river. But the growth of Suzdal continued. Prince Andrei's nephew Georgi built a new cathedral on the spot of the old one constructed on orders of Vladimir Monomakh. He renamed the white-stone cathedral from Assumption to the Nativity of Our Lady (1222-1225). The cathedral's facade is decorated with carved bas-relief of animal figures and intertwining verdure. The inside walls are covered by fresco paintings. The portals have built - in doors of Arabian copper decorated with gold painted subjects from the Old and New Testaments. The floor is of glazed majolica tiles. The cathedral was very attractive and festive.
In 1238 the Tatar and Mongolian invaders, lead by Khan Batyj, captured and burned down Suzdal. Prince Georgi fell in the battle with the Tatars near the Siti river.
In the middle of the 14th century the principality was moved to Nizhni Novgorod on the Volga river. The Novgorod and Suzdal principalities united in order to strengthen their frontier fearing the expansion of the neighboring Moscow Principality. In Suzdal the wooden walls of the Spassky and Pokrovsky monasteries become the town's fort.
Stone architecture begins to flourish in the 16th century after Suzdal is absorbed by the Moscow Principality. All wooden buildings in the Pokrovsky and the Spaso-Evfimiev (formerly the Spassky) monasteries give way to stone ones. These unique architectural ensembles have been created by Russian craftsmen. Special mention should be made of the Pokrovsky (the Pall) Cathedral (1510-1514), the Annunciation church above-the-gate (beg. 16th century) and the Refectory (1555) in the Pokrovsky monastery. And in the Spaso-Evfimiev monastery - the Transfiguration Cathedral (1594), the bell tower (16th-17th centuries) and the Annunciation church (16th-17th centuries). These masterpieces by the Suzdal craftsmen have been preserved and are of great historical importance.
With the expansion of trade in the 17th century, the merchants had built a great number of churches in the vicinity of the town's trade square. The multitude of these simple stone structures greatly enhanced the town's vista. In design these churches were uniform, but differed greatly in the decoration of the facades and cupolas. The difference of decorative embelishments was the trade mark of the Suzdal builders in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Unique for Suzdal are the concave marquees of the belfries. Their facades are usually richly decorated primarily with carved bricks intermingled with multi-colored tiles. Their bright coloring is reminiscent of the famed Suzdal printed fabrics. An example is the Antipievsky church. jeux de casino
A masterpiece of ancient Suzdal architecture is the Holy Gate of the Rizpolozhensky monastery. The two marquees are painted dark red and decorated with bright colored tiles. This shows that the craftsmen strove to give the town a bright and festive appearance.
Suzdal has many 19th century monuments too. There is the fall belfry of the Rizpolozhensky monastery (1813-1819), built to honor the Russian people's victory over Napoleon. This mighty structure towers above the town. It is in the so-call provincial classical style. The merehants row, with a double row of columns also dates to this period. They are situated in the center of the trade square. There are also many monuments characteristic of towns that were the provincial centers. This was place that Suzdal occupied a century or two ago.
Beyond the Kamenka river there is a preserve with many ancient wooden buildings. They comprize a Russian village with many unique wooden churches, houses, decorated with wood carvings near the roof and around the windows, windmills, barns, rare wooden wells and other structures. The hosts in this open air museum of wooden architecture are all dressed in old Russian style.
The Historical and Art Museum is situated in the Kremlin. It houses unique examples of ancient Russian art: 15th to 17th century ikons, jewelry, pearl embelished clothing. Contributors to the museum included many Princesses, boyars and military men famous in Russian history.
In order to promote national and international tourism the Soviet government decided in 1967, to turn Suzdal into a tourist center. It has become a museum-town of ancient Russian art and architecture.