Suzdal (Суздаль / सुझ्दाल) is a historic small town near Vladimir, about 200 km from Moscow. It was once the capital of several Russian principalities and has many examples of early Russian architecture. I thought it was quite rustic, atypical town, later explained by the fact that this area falls under ‘limited development zone’ and construction projects are controlled. While one can see a little church or chapel in every corner of this town, there are two major ‘church complexes’ and the first one, Kremlin, is discussed here.
The Kremlin at Suzdal
As blogged before, Kremlin is the fortified power-center of a town and the Kremlin at Suzdal, a 1.4km earth rampart, encloses a handful of houses and a bunch of churches.
During the time of the Soviet Union, nearly all of Suzdal’s economy was planned around its tourist potential. As a result, very few modern buildings were constructed in Suzdal. Also, a number of wooden structures from other parts of Russia were transported here, and the whole city was converted into an ‘open-air museum’. Unfortunately, Suzdal’s dependence on tourism also meant its economy nearly came to a standstill when tourists stopped coming after the fall of the USSR, only revived during recent years.
Suzdal was probably the only place where I did not find any McDonalds restaurant! Neither did I see any visible signs of westernization such as glossy stores. “Livestock wandering the streets and elderly women washing cloths in the river (and tourists wielding digital cameras) are regular sights in Suzdal,” says Wikitravel.
The little market was getting ready to close and we were racing against time to reach the next religious complex in Suzdal – The Saviour Monastery of St. Euthymius (coming up next).