Trip Start Sep 17, 2013
Trip End Oct 06, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Russia  , Vladimir,
Friday, October 4, 2013

Last night we had a wonderful dinner with a local family in Suzdal, Nicholas and Svetlana.  They have a typical Russian home with a large garden that they lavish attention on and is really prize worthy.  Their home was built by Nicholas and is all wood on the interior and exterior.

This morning we began sightseeing in Suzdal which is a very old town first mentioned as existing in 1024.  It was on the classic pattern of a kremlin and a red square and surrounded by churches.  There are 32 churches in Suzdal all orthodox.  The whole town is a world heritage site.  We first went to a complex of churches and houses that were moved from other parts of Russia to form an outdoor museum.  All of the structures were from the 16th and 17th century and were made entirely of wood.  There was a large church, the Church of the Transfiguration ( a summer church) and a smaller church , the Church of the Resurrection ( the winter church).  There were always two churches built beside one another, a larger one for summer and a smaller one for winter.  We also saw a the house of a poor farmer.  It was essentially one room the was bedroom, kitchen, dining room and living room.

We then went to the Convent of the Intercession which was founded in 1364 and is still functioning with 30 nuns.  There is a small church there which still has the original frescoes and icons.

We then went to a very large monastery surrounded by large fortifications, the Monastery of Our Saviour.  The grounds were beautiful and there was a large cathedral there the Church f Our Saviour.  The iconostasis had been destroyed but the walls still had beautiful frescoes.  We were treated to a beautiful a cappella concert by 4 male singers of church songs.  It was really beautiful.  We walked through the rest of the grounds and heard the bell concert.  It was a very cold day in Suzdal being only 30 degrees F.

We then went to the Kremlin to see the Church of the Nativity.  This is the most famous landmark of Suzdal with its beautiful blue onion domes with gold stars.  Across from the church is a bell tower that has a clock from the time of Peter the Great.  It has no numbers only letters.  He had decreed that the time must be in letters not numbers.  On entering the Cathedral you go through absolutely beautiful gold doors from 1222.  they have multiple panels with scenes from the bible.  Then the interior of the church is quite beautiful with a large iconostasis and beautiful frescoes.  There is one other gold door on the west entrance similar to the first.  Just a short distance from the Cathedral of the Nativity is the small wooden Church of St Nicholas.  Walking on you reach the top of the ramparts of the Kremlin.  From there you have a view of all Suzdal completely surrounded by churches.

We finished our tour of Suzdal and had lunch at a small restaurant called the Bee Hive.  As usual I had borscht and pelmeni.  It was good.

The drive back to Moscow took 5 hours and 45 minutes.  In the city it was a nightmare.  Traffic here is terrible.  No one obeys any traffic laws, lane markers or traffic lights.  The police had blocked off the street to the Ritz CArlton because some big wig was coming into the hotel so our car had to stop one block away.  The head doorman went to the car and got our luggage so all was well.  We are finally settled in for the night!
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