Suzdal is east of Moscow, perhaps the most important town in the Golden Ring. It boasts 50 well-preserved examples of olden architecture contained within a rather small area, providing a wonderfully coherent vision of its past. Historically it was a religious and political centre, and is now a major tourist attraction. The wives of tsars and boyars were exiled to Blessed Virgin Convent.
Less than 32km away is Vladimir, which played a prominent part in the rise of the Russian state. The city’s two outstanding cathedrals date from the 12th century. Another noteworthy monument is the Golden Gate, a unique example of old Russian engineering skills. The nearby village of Bogolyubovo features 12th-century fortress and Church of the Protecting Veil.