In the morning, transfer to Vladimir to visit the Assumption cathedral (famous for Andrey Rublev frescoes), St Demetrius cathedral (outside only), Golden Gates.Many people say Russia is most beautiful in winter and today we will travel around the Golden ring towns to explore more.
Vladimir was one of the medieval capitals of Russia, with significant buildings surviving from the 12th century. Two of its Russian Orthodox cathedrals, a monastery, and associated buildings have been designated as among the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The founding of Vladimir is traditionally associated with a chronicle entry saying that Prince Vladimir Monomakh laid the town in 1108. The town began to grow rapidly thanks to the efforts of Princes Vladimir Monomakh and Yury Dolgoruky, who strengthened it as a foothold to protect the Rostov-Suzdal principality. Vladimir owes its heyday to Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky, who moved the capital of the principality here in 1157.
After lunch, we will continue our trip to Bogolyubovo. Russians borrowed its early architecture, like its icon painting, from Byzantium. One of the best-known Russian churches in the northern style is the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl (Pokrova na Nerli). Today it stands alone in the midst of green meadows, the small lake below reflecting its white walls and single dome. This church is one of the most poetic creations of early Russian architecture which ever come down to us out of the past. It was built in 1164 in memory of Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky's son who had fallen during the final battle against the Volga Bulgaria.
Several times in history, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl was about to be destroyed, but each time it miraculously remained intact. It is no wonder it is now UNESCO World Heritate Site.
Take a note, there is no road for cars/vans. We will drive as close as we can.
Overnight at the hotel in Suzdal.
Visit a private family blacksmith to learn about this ancient local master craft and forge your first Russian souvenir. Blacksmith business from time immemorial had a mystical aura. Hot sparks, hammer ringing on the anvil, the smell of hot metal, strong, confident people - this is what comes to mind as soon as you hear the magic word - forge. The secrets of skill were always passed from father to son, so in the Borodin family, hereditary blacksmiths from Vladimir, old techniques and methods of "fiery work" were saved.Just a few steps from the main cathedral, on a pedestrian street near Vladimir St. George Church, there is an ordinary house. Near the wrought-iron wicket, a hammer and a horseshoe lie on a stone and only one word is riveted - "Forge." Here the family masters do their job, and gladly share the secrets of their own craft.
Haven't we mentioned, that today's lunch will be served in an authentic local restaurant, serving only traditional Russian food. Life goes at a slower pace here, as may the local service too; but your patience will be repaid with delicious flavours on your plate, and local specialities.