Russia’s Golden Ring is a tourist route that originated during the Soviet era of Russia and is still considered a popular trip for tourists both from Russia itself and around the globe. The route’s design means that you get a much more intimate view of Russian life beyond the major cities, taking in much smaller towns and villages set into the rural areas that make up such a large proportion of Russia. With access to Russia extremely easy these days, and with transport around Russia presenting no issue, this is a wonderful, cultural experience and a trip that you aren’t likely to forget. So let’s get to know the Golden Ring a little bit better.
History Of The Route
The history of the Golden Ring is that it is named after a piece of travel writing by an art historian and journalist called Yuri Bychkov, who travelled a rough approximation of the route in the 1960s. His experience was so influential on him that he published the travel articles which have been looked back on since as the guiding force to understanding and experiencing this part of Russia.
The Golden Ring is rooted in Moscow as a potential start and end point. The list of stops on the journey are not all that concrete and there are so many to choose from. However, in general, there are eight stops that people tend to always hit: Sergiev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Kostorma, Ivanovo, Suzdal and Vladimir. In amongst these stops there are lots of smaller villages and towns, each with their own unique contribution to the area, many of which you may want to stop and visit.
As the ring radiates away from Moscow, rather than encircling it, parts of the trip can be done as day trips out of Moscow, whilst other areas require you to stay the night to get the best experience.
What’s There To See?
The Golden Ring is a bit like a constant museum tour, with each of its stops presenting some of the most amazing art, architecture and culture that Russia has to offer. Along the route you will find yourself presented with stunning scenery, both natural and manmade, small medieval towns, sprawling monasteries rich with history, giant churches, cathedrals and kremlins all set into a landscape with a thousand years of history. The furthest from Moscow you get is about 4 hours by car but within that journey you will pass by literally thousands of incredible sights, all worth stopping and seeing.
The title The Golden Ring is chosen because it testifies to the immense beauty of this trip, with each of its stops giving you even more amazing history and things to see. There aren’t really any other places in the world with such condensed culture and beauty so conveniently laid out for exploration. The experience of the Golden Ring is certainly golden, and you’ll never find yourself without things to do and sites to see.
Highlights of Russia’s Golden Ring
Vladimir was the medieval capital of Russia and is one of the oldest cities in the country, with history dating back to 1108. The city has striking scenery with large cathedrals and churches combining with a cliff overlooking Oka Valley to create an amazing vista.
Sergiev Posad is home to the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius from the 14th century, which is a spectacular site with amazing history. The monastery was founded by Russia’s patron saint, Sergius of Radonezh and is still considered a mecca for Russian spiritualism.
Suzdal is just the pinnacle of the beauty of Russian towns, complete with quaint churches with painted roofs, cathedrals, small monastic institutions and flowing fields and meadows outside the town. It also houses Suzdal Kremlin, a citadel older than Moscow itself.
When To Visit Russia’s Golden Ring
Honestly, the choice is yours. Tourists tend to go for the warm months, June till August, on account of fearing the harsh Russian winters. It’s beautiful in the summer, with the golden fields coming into their own. However the winter is lovely as well, the harsh cold being offset by the magical effect of the snow coating the landscape and creating fairytale views.
Russia’s Golden Ring is a must visit if you are taking a trip to Moscow. It has so much to offer and is easily accessible. You are guaranteed to have a fascinating trip no matter when you go and to get a really intimate view of Russian culture and history in a way that hasn’t been possible until recently.
Ashley Halsey is a professional author, working at LuckyAssignments and writing on all sorts of lifestyle topics. A mother of two children, she enjoys traveling, reading and researching the topics that inform her writing.