White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal
Photo by Carlo Sarion.

The White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal are outstanding examples of Russian architecture from the 12th-13th centuries.

These eight monuments were made as part of a unique school of architecture which is characterized by the use of white limestone, fine stone carving and the apparent lightness of the buildings. This became a standard in Russian ecclesiastical architecture.

Community Perspective: Suzdal is the way to go to see “Old Russia”, while Vladimir is a mid-sized city but also with good monuments. Be aware that the monuments have different closing days. The site is within reach for a (long) day trip from Moscow.

Map of White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal

Load map

Community Reviews

Write a review


Italy - 15-Apr-24 -

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal by Tarquinio_Superbo

WHS includes 2 cities (Vladimir and Suzdal) and two villages (Bogolyubovo and Kideksha). Getting to Vladimir is quite easy from Moscow (train or bus), or from Kazan, where 2 other WHSs are located. We took a night bus from Kazan. It did not stop in Vladimir itself, but dropped us off on the highway near the city. After crossing the highway through a upground pedestrian crossing, we had to wait for a bus to the center of Vladimir on the other side of the highway. You need to get off directly at the Golden Gate stop (the first WHS facility). It is enough to go through the gate and continue walking along the main wide street: Bolshaya Moskovskaya to reach two cathedrals: the Assumption and Dmitrievsky. All three monuments: two churches and a gate, this is all that remains from the architectural heritage of ancient Vladimir before the Mongol period (all are included in the core area "White monuments). In addition to them, you can visit the Princess Convent, but it was built much later and is not included in the core area. All other buildings in Vladimir are not of particular architectural or historical value and, in general, give the city a rather depressive aura. From Vladimir, you can take a city bus that stops on the main street next to the Dmitrievsky Cathedral to the village of Bogolyubovo to visit the Bogolyubsky Monastery. The monastery itself is well preserved, but the core area includes not its main cathedral, but the small Church of the Nativity of the Virgin. Not far from Bogolyubov monastery is the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl. To get to it you need to cross the railway tracks and walk along the stream for about 20 minutes. All churches are museums, and, unfortunately, in winter they close quite early, so I advise you not to waste a lot of time in Vladimir and go straight to Bogolyubovo.

The next day we took a shuttle bus departing from Vladimir station to Suzdal. Immediately upon arrival at the Suzdal station, located far from the center, we took a taxi to get to the village of Kideksha, where the Church of Boris and Gleb is located. It is very small, so it only takes 5-10 minutes to examine the outside and inside. We asked the taxi driver to wait for us and it was a very right decision. Suzdal is very rich in monuments of ancient Russian architecture: endless churches, cathedrals, monasteries and ancient walls, but only two objects are included in the core area. We started our visit of Suzdal with the Monastery of Our Savior and St. Euthumius. On its territory there are many interesting ancient buildings: churches, bell towers, chambers, but the most beautiful and, in my opinion, the best preserved WHS object is the Transfiguration Cathedral. Inside you will find magnificent frescoes and, if you are very lucky, a concert of religious music (a capella). If you have 2 days planned to visit Suzdal, then I advise you to buy a general Pass to view all the monuments of the monastery. Otherwise you cab get a singl ticket to visit only the territory and the Transfiguration Cathedral. After the monastery you can walk along the river through the main square to visit the Suzdal Kremlin. Along the way you will come across other churches and monasteries (many of them are open to the public). The territory of the Kremlin, in my opinion, is inferior in beauty to the territory of the monastery of Our Savior, although in the Kremlin you will see a wooden church moved from the nearest village. The main pearl of the Kremlin is the western gate of the Nativity Cathedral, made in the 13th century using the fire gilding technique, for obvious reasons, stored inside the cathedral-museum.
The White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal are certainly a wonderful World Heritage Site. These are one of the few cities where you can feel the special spirit of Ancient Rus' even in our time.

Jay T

USA - 13-Jan-19 -

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal by Jay T

For a brief epoch in Russia's long history, Vladimir and Suzdal were the heart of Russian culture and rule, and the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal remain as symbols of this stage in Russian history. Both cities lie approximately three hours east-northeast of Moscow, though I have only seen the city of Vladimir, and that many years ago. Vladimir was the capital city of Russia in the 12th and 13th centuries, before the Mongol invasion shifted power to Moscow. On a bluff overlooking the Klyazma River Vladimir's Assumption Cathedral, also known as the Dormition Cathedral, was constructed in the 12th century to serve as a mother church for Russia. This grand limestone church was expanded over time, and was very impressive when I saw it, with its belltower and five golden domes and its richly painted and gilded interior. Grand Princes were coronated in Vladimir's Assumption Cathedral until the 14th century, when coronations were moved to the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, which was based on Vladimir's cathedral. Also in Vladimir are the small and exquisite Saint Demetrious Cathedral and the impressive Golden Gate, which dates to the 12th century. I regret not having had time to visit Suzdal or the famed Church of the Intercession on the Nerl, but Vladimir had quite an impressive collection of monuments from Russia's history.

Logistics: Vladimir can be reached by train or by a three hour drive from Moscow, and the city is walkable, although public transportation, to include buses and trolleybuses, is available.

Wojciech Fedoruk

Poland - 16-Sep-16 -

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal by Wojciech Fedoruk

Tserkvas of Vladimir and Suzdal are among the best preserved sacral buildings in Russia. Even during Stalinism they did not suffer that much (although many of numerous tserkvas in Suzdal were closed or destroyed, still most of them survived). Now these two places are probably the most interesting part of Golden Circle not only for WHS fans.

I arrived early in Vladimir and took the first bus to Suzdal. Fortunately, in the morning the site was not as crowded as it was some hours later, so I could praise the beauty of the town and take photos uninterrupted. Suzdal is like a large skansen, absolutely unique place in Russia and all former Soviet Union. All important tserkvas and monasteries are within a walking distance, but seeing them requires some time and physical effort. For me even more important than visiting particular buildings (inscribed or not) was just wandering around the town and admiring its landscape.

On the practical side, the journey from Vladimir to Suzdal takes 1 hour, but the bus station is around 2 km from the town centre. Direct buses extend their route to the center and I recommend using it (there is extra fee of about 20 rubles). Indirect buses (to Ivanovo) stop only at the bus station.

Unlike Suzdal, Vladimir is a large city, very well connected with major Russian cities. The main monuments are not so far from the train/bus station, so you may walk or take a city bus/tram. The number one is undisputedly Assumption Cathedral with original frescos by Andrei Rublov (on a side, to take a good background I strongly recommend watching Rublov by Andrei Tarkovski before going to Golden Circle) and with beautiful iconostas founded by Catherine the Great. Entrance fee is 100 rubles and I suggest going there with a guide.

Another listed cathedral, St. Demetrius, is much smaller and poorer inside (which is in fact closer to original, as orthodox churches were rather ascetic in XIIth century). The third inscribed building in Vladimir is the Golden Gate, the most significant remaining of the city walls, which gives a view of how they looked several hundred years ago.

Famous Church of the Intercession on the Nerl in Bogolyubovo is easily reachable from Vladimir by direct bus 152 from the city centre. Then I had to walk around 1.5-2km on the meadow without any shadow, which in full July sun and temperature about 35 degrees was not very pleasant. During my visit the track was full of tourists, so it was not even possible to make a good photo of the church in this 'iconic' surrounding. As a result, unlike other reviewers, I did not like that particular church, although I am aware that it was the inspiration of most of newer tserkvas of that region.


Germany - 14-Aug-16 -

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal by nan

Suzdal is what I would consider the crowning jewel of the Golden Ring around Moscow. Historically, a prosperous trading town on the way east, the Transsiberean Railroad was built via Vladimir to the South and Suzdal became somewhat of a backwater. As such it has kept much of the historic town center and gives a look into the Russian past.

The town is dotted with wooden Russian buildings and houses a staggering amount of monasteries and churches. Several of these are lined along the local river banks giving an impressive panorama. And of all the murals I saw in Russia, St Euthymius in Suzdal certainly features in the Top 2, the sole other contender being in the Mirozhsky Monastery in Pskov.

I nearly decided to skip on Suzdal for logistical reasons (no train connection, local bus, ...). Thanks to Jarek for his feedback in the forum that made me go anyway. And I do agree: Suzdal is one of the loveliest places in Russia.

Apart from Suzdal the site also covers monuments in Vladimir and Bogoljubowo. The Church of Perfection on the Nerl (see picture) in Bogoljubowo is probably the most iconic image of the inscribed site. The small white chapel is beautifully embedded into a large wetland plain with a pont stretching around it. It's a great walk and photo opportunity.

Vladimir meanwhile is less impressive, but being the logistical hub for the region you will probably pass through anyhow.


The opening hours of all the sites are not aligned. Some close Wednesdays, other Tuesdays. In my case I wasn't able to visit a church in Vladimir and the Kremlin in Suzdal. The upside is that you can be sure that some sites will be open when you come to visit.

Getting There

Vladimir has a direct express train connection from Moscow (2:50h). You can easily visit the sites on a day trip. Be advised, though, that you need to reserve early as the train is rather popular.

From the bus terminal directly in front of the train station you can get to Suzdal. To get to Bogoljubowo take the bus at the Golden Gate (Bus 152). The bus station in Suzdal is on the outskirts of town. Either take a long walk or one of the local busses. To get to the Church of Perfection in Bogoljubowo you need to cross the rail road tracks. This is only possible at the rail station.

Carlos Franco

Mexico - 16-Feb-11 -

Vladimir is a medium size city, with some fabulous monuments to see, like the golden gate and city's kremlin, and also some churches and fortresses to see, but Suzdal is way better than Vladimir. Suzdal is a village northwards from Vladimir, but it has got incredible cultural and historical wonders. From all its churches and monasteries to even a wooden-architecture open air museum, and not to forget all the fortresses. It is the only place in the world where I have seen more monuments than houses, and some houses are also incredible, they are decorated in such a very nice way.

Jarek Pokrzywnicki

Poland - 04-Oct-08 -

Visited all inscribed sites last year in October (awful weather, cold, raining almost all the day long) but the buildings are amazing. If you want to see the real old Russia Suzdal is the ideal place (small city - around 5-6 th. citizens with some 80-90 medieval churches, 5 walled monasteries and lots of old buildings). Kideksha lies some 10 km from Suzdal. Vladymir is a big city but the inscribed sites are well preserved. In Bogolyubovo (14 km of Vladymir) there are 2 sites: castle that now is a part of later built church and Church of the Intercession on the Nerl - beautifylly situated on meadows.

Site Info

Full Name
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal
Unesco ID
1 2 4
Religious structure - Christian

Site History

1992 Advisory Body overruled

Bureau: Deferral for both "Monuments of Vladimir" and "Monuments of Suzdal", with the recommendation to bring them together

1992 Inscribed


The site has 8 locations

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal: Cathedral of the Assumption Vladimir, Vladimir, Russian Federation
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal: The Golden Gate Vladimir, Vladimir, Russian Federation
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal: The Prince Castle in Bogolyubovo (Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin and Staircase Tower of the Palace of Andrei Bogolyubsky) Vladimir (Bogolyubovo Village), Vladimir, Russian Federation
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal: Church of the Intercession on the River Nerl Vladimir, Vladimir, Russian Federation
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal: Cathedral of St. Demetrius Vladimir, Vladimir, Russian Federation
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal: Kremlin of Suzdal and Cathedral of the Nativity Suzdal, Vladimir, Russian Federation
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal: Monastery of Our Savior and St Euthymius Suzdal, Vladimir, Russian Federation
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal: Church of Sts Boris and Gleb Suzdal (Kideksha), Vladimir, Russian Federation


The site has

Art and Architecture
Human Activity
Individual People
Religion and Belief
WHS Hotspots