So close to Russia's capital Moscow, yet seemingly a world away, adventuring beautifully preserved ancient cities of the Golden Ring route is a must. These are perfect destinations for travellers seeking the idyllic, provincial Mother Russia of old. Scattered across a rural landscape of rolling hills, flower blanketed meadows, rivers and streams, the cities of the Golden Ring were considered political backwaters by the time Soviet industrialisation took hold, escaping much of the urban progress that rapidly engulfed Moscow and its surroundings. Consequently, many locals still lead a largely traditional existence, living in tight-knit communities where the ancestral izba (wooden farmhouse) is the centre of daily life.
Why travel to the Golden Ring:
- Regarded as open-air museums, be enthralled by many of the Golden Ring’s ancient settlements and architectural masterpieces. These include the the UNESCO-listed monasteries and onion-dome cathedrals in Yaroslavl, the white stone monuments of Vladimir (the Golden Gates, the church of Boris and Gleb), and the medieval wooden houses and windmills in Suzdal.
- Immerse yourself in the colourful culture of provincial Russia, where towns such as Ivanovo and Kostroma still maintain a largely traditional way of life. When you visit the Golden ring, be sure to try the delicious traditional Russian cuisine, admire time-honoured handicrafts and unearth ancient relics of the Soviet times.