Vladimir

Cathedral of the Assumption in Vladimir

Vladimir (Владимир) is the capital and the largest city of Vladimir Oblast. The city is one of the most visited destinations within the popular Golden Ring circuit, as it preserves several of the finest monuments of white-stone medieval architecture in Russia, along with a number of later buildings from the 16th20th centuries.

Understand

Geography

Vladimir is in the central part of the Eastern-European plain, on a steep hill beside the Klyazma River. The land to the north from the city is known as Vladimir Fields (Владимирское Ополье), while the land to the south is mainly covered by forests.

Orientation

Vladimir is somewhat elongated along the river that forms its southern boundary. From the north, the city is bounded by a "semi-circle" road, formerly a part of the M7 highway. Inside the city, small rivers flow into the Klyazma and form deep valleys that were originally used as fortifications.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) -7 -5 2 10 18 22 23 21 14 7 0 -5
Nightly lows (°C) -12 -12 -7 1 7 12 13 12 6 1 -6 -10
Precipitation (mm) 37 32 32 38 51 65 84 59 57 58 53 47

Average of Vladimir

The inner layout of Vladimir is fairly simple. The main street runs roughly from west to east close to the Klyazma River and passes through the historical centre. Different parts of this street have different names: Московское шоссе (entry from Moscow) проспект Ленина улица Студёная гора Дворянская улица Большая Московская улица Большая Нижегородская улица Добросельская улица (entry from Nizhny Novgorod). Several major streets branch off to the north, cross the "semi-circle" road and turn into the roads towards Suzdal and Ivanovo (Суздальское шоссе) or Yuryev-Polsky (улица Горького). A single street (Муромское шоссе) also runs to the south, crosses the river and continues towards Sudogda, Murom, and Gus-Khrustalnyi.

The main sights, along with a number of hotels and restaurants, are found in the historical centre, close to Bolshaya Moskovskaya Ulitsa (Большая Московская улица). If you arrive to Vladimir from Moscow, you enter this part of the city at the Golden Gate. Moving further to the east, one leaves the historical centre after passing the Nativity Monastery and the Hotel Vladimir. The Cathedral Square (Соборная площадь) is in the middle of this way. The train and bus stations are found to the east from the historical centre, at the bottom of the hill.

History

Vladimir was founded in 1108 by Vladimir Monomakh. There is an alternative version that ascribes the foundation of the city to Vladimir the Red Sun in 990. Yet the exact year does not seem to be very important for the average traveler, since the oldest existing monuments date back only to the middle of 12th century. At that period, the city was rapidly developing due to the activity of Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky who established the capital of North-Eastern Russia in Vladimir. The city's period of greatest importance was probably in the late 12th and early 13th century, up to the Mongol invasion. Several of Russia's greatest architectural monuments were built in Vladimir during that time, including Assumption Cathedral and the Golden Gates, both of which are World Heritage Sites.

In 1238, Vladimir was besieged and taken by the Mongol hordes under Batu Khan. The city never recovered fully. Though it remained the pricipality's capital for a century, Vladimir gradually lost its political and cultural significance to Moscow. Until the middle of 15th century, Vladimir was the official capital of North-Eastern Russia, but the actual government worked in Moscow. The transfer of the capital was completed in 15th century: the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, modeled after one of the oldest cathedrals in Vladimir, became the state church. The holy icon of Our Lady of Vladimir was also moved to Moscow.

Vladimir continued to be a provincial capital. It gradually grew in size due to its advantageous loocation in the middle of Central Russia. The development of the city was enhanced by the construction of the Moscow Nizhny Novgorod railroad in the late 19th century. Presently, Vladimir is a partially industrialized city, although the historical centre remains almost untouched since the beginning of 20th century. In 1992, Vladimir was included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

Get in

Vladimir is conveniently located halfway between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, so you will be able to get in from both cities. It is also possible to visit Vladimir during a trip over the Golden Ring.

By plane

Vladimir Semyazino airport does not have regular passenger communication. Nearest airports are located in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, both receive international flights. From there, you can easily reach Vladimir by train, by bus, or by car.

By train

The main station is next to the central bus station and close to the historic centre.

From Moscow

Four or five suburban trains per day run to Vladimir from Moscow's Kurskaya Station. The journey takes 2h30m - 3h. Buy tickets at the regional (short-distance) train ticket counter in the right wing of the Kurskaya station (Poezda Prigorodnogo Napravleniya - Gorkogo). Tickets cost from 320 rubles one way. There are several daily departures with the earliest at 8AM. The 6PM express is the quickest of these local trains but it has limited seats available. It returns from Vladimir at 6AM.

Some super-fast Sapsan trains also call at Vladimir en route between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. The journey takes only 1h45m but a seat costs from around 1400 - 3000 rubles. The 06.45 departure may appeal to early risers. They use a different section of the same station as the local trains.

Regular long-distance trains also call at Vladimir. They are more frequent than the suburban trains but they are generally not faster. Prices from Moscow range greatly from 500 rubles to around 1000 rubles. They mainly leave from the same station as the Sapsan high-speed trains but many also leave from Moscow's Yaroslavsky rail terminal. One or two depart from Moscow's Kazansky rail terminal.

Heading beyond Moscow, Vladimir is well connected to many cities including Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok.

From Moscow, taking one of the hourly local trains to Petushki is an alternative. Local trains between Vladimir and Petushki run 3 times per day. The overall journey is longer (3.5-4 h) but it may be helpful in case you miss other trains and the buses are overcrowded.

From Nizhny Novgorod

All trains to Vladimir depart from the main railway station. There is a direct express local train, which leaves Nizhny Novgorod at 16:10 and returns from Vladimir at 7:00. The trip takes only 3.5 h.

The high-speed Sapsan train takes around 2h and costs from 1200 rubles. Several long-distance trains from all over the country also connect Vladimir and Nizhny Novgorod. Price range from 400 ruble to 1000 ruble. The journey takes around 3h-4h.

Ordinary local trains connect in stages the towns along the Moscow - Nizhny Novgorod railway (such as Pokrov, Kovrov, Vyazniki, Gorokhovets) to Vladimir. Unless you are planning to see these towns it is advisable to use buses, as the local trains are slow and the necessary changes will make the journey last all day.

By bus

Vladimir has two bus stations:

Basic options of travelling to Vladimir by bus are as follows:

By car

Vladimir is easibly reachable from Moscow (180 km along the M7 road), Nizhny Novgorod (240 km along the M7 road), Ivanovo (115 km along the A113 road), and Ryazan (230 km along the R123 and R73 roads, via Tuma and Gus-Khrustalny). In the city, you will find a lot of space for free parking on side streets and several parking areas on the main street (Bolshaya Moscovskaya) as well.

Get around

The historical centre is easily and conveniently explored by foot, so the regular traveller is unlikely to use the public transport in Vladimir. Still, there is an extensive network of trolleybuses, buses, and minibuses (marshrutki), serving the whole city. The most useful option is the trolleybus #5 that connects the train station to the historical centre and runs along Bolshaya Moscovksaya Ulitsa. Normally, you have to pay to the driver or to a special lady who sits in the bus and collects the money.

See

Must-see list

These monuments are recognized by UNESCO and included in the World Heritage List. They are essential tourist destinations in Vladimir.

St. Demetrius Cathedral
Golden Gate

Other churches

There are lots of churches in Vladimir, and one is unlikely to visit all of them. The following list includes several representative examples from various styles.

Secular buildings

Since 18th century, Vladimir is a provincial city, so its secular buildings are rather small and modest. Do not expect to see any masterpieces. Still, it is possible to find a number of nice buildings from different periods and styles.

Museums

The two important museums of Vladimir are the Cathedral of the Assumption and the Cathedral of St. Demetrius that exhibit ancient frescos (see the "Must-see list" above). You can also visit other museums:

Further sights

Do

Theatres

Concert halls

Cinemas

Buy

Souvenirs

Traditional Russian souvenirs can be found right on the street next to the Golden Gate. It is also possible to find icons and other authentic gifts in the nearby St. Demetrius' Cathedral. Don't miss the shop of local crystalware in the church of St. Trinity.

Malls

Vladimir has several shopping centres and lots of smaller shops that offer a great variety of food, drinks, clothes, etc.

Supermarkets

Eat

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Beer

Beer is probably the only local speciality in Vladimir. Formerly, Vladimir brewery was known for a variety of beer sorts. At present, the diversity is substantially reduced, because the brewery joined the brand of "live beer" Fifth Ocean (Пятый океан) a wheat-free unfiltered beer with a special storage technology that allows to keep fresh unfiltered beer for rather long time. This beer is produced in several breweries and distributed all round the country. In Vladimir, it can be found in SPAR supermarkets. Additionally, there are few sorts of filtered lager beer produced under the general brand Vladimirskoe (Владимирское). The latter is not very special, but it is local and may be thus expected to be fresh.

Night clubs

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Out of the city

Connect

Post office

The below list includes a number of post offices located in the city centre. The full list of the offices can be found here:

Internet access

Go next

Further destinations

From Vladimir, you can easily reach any place in Vladimir Oblast, and the trip should not take more that 3-3.5 hours. Below, the nearest destinations are listed:

Routes through Vladimir

Moscow  W  E  Nizhny Novgorod Yekaterinburg


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