29/07/2019 - Day 6 – Travelling Vladimir & Suzdal – it’s not Free Walking Tour


Today I skipped my breakfast. Its 6.36 am, I am already at Kurskaya railway station. I started from Hostel by walk & within 30 mints I am at platform. My Train is departing from Platforms 1Blpc. I am using Google Translator to know train details. Today while embarking on train journey to Vladimir, I am anxious, bit restless due to language problem. But after boarding, I felt that restlessness was unwarranted as I was surrounded by humans. It really doesn’t matter if other party speaks different language. When in problem, I communicate with emotions. Powerful gesture makes the difference. Russians are there to help. I used Google translator & help was at my doorstep. Russians are very nice. They guide you once they understand the problem. Normally I type the text & get converted. My next learning would be, use of audio. The train is express. About 200 km, take 2 hrs. Only two stops. Temperature right now is 16 degrees C. The one way Cost is Rs 1186. However my return journey will cost Rs 546 as it was passenger train taking 3 hrs. I started loving Russia & Russians.


Vladimir is a city in Russia, the capital of the Vladimir region, located on the left bank of the Klyazma River, 184 km north-east of Moscow. It’s very simple city with thin population. But ruins of old Russia can be seen here. It is typically a worn out city and appear to be poor. The ancient city of Vladimir is the keeper of the Russian land origin secrets. To some extent, Vladimir is the father of Russian cities, since it appeared before Moscow and other Russian cities. Its history is both fascinating and dramatic. It began in 1108, when the legendary Prince Vladimir Monomakh built a mighty fortress to protect the area from the south-east. Old Rail station coupled with Bus station is the testimony that once upon a time this region would have the prosperity. I decided to visit the city on return from Suzdal.

I moved to 19th century, Bus Ticket office. Iron bars & frames everywhere. Struggled to buy the ticket. Bought the ticket & realized that bus is scheduled to depart after 45 mints. I have decided to have breakfast – got hold of chicken shawarma & filled the belly.

Back to Bus Station. It took 30 minutes to reach Suzdal. Bus was jammed packed, I remembered India. All of a sudden we were told to get down. Co-passengers, locals said it is Suzdal. But other group of visitors to town said, ‘we want to go to main village to see monasteries.’ Then we bought another ticket by paying 10 Rubbles & bus moved on. After 5 minutes, we were in Village called Suzdal. A Chinese was travelling with me holding book of Lonely Planet. I just chatted and asked him how he is going to navigate himself in Suzdal. He suggested 3 main monasteries in Suzdal. I asked him, if I can travel with him – he said ‘no problem’.

We walked together towards main monastery of Suzdal.

The Saviour Monastery of St. Euthymius is a monastery in Suzdal, Russia. The monastery was founded in the 14th century, and grew in importance in the 16th and 17th centuries after donations by Vasili III, Ivan IV and the Pozharsky family, a noble dynasty of the region. Among the buildings erected during this period were the Assumption Church, the bell tower, the surrounding walls and towers, and the seven-domed Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour. The cathedral was built in the style of the Grand Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal.

Prison - The monastery also contains a prison, built in 1764, which originally housed religious dissidents. The prison continued in use during the Soviet period, and among its better known prisoners was field marshal Friedrich Paulus, who was imprisoned here for a time after his surrender at Stalingrad.

So far, I was under impression that one can find monasteries only in India, Bhutan & China. But that was not the case. A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastic, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits) of a particular religion religious vows. While going through, I was learning history, on the spot. The practices of religion are enlightening one.


By the time I finished site seeing, I missed Chinese guy. I started enquiring with locals, which is second best monastery here. The family just pointed towards Onion Domes across the river. I started walking, without 2nd thought about distance. I could not find many tourists in the town, as many would not know that Russian beauty resides in Village.  This is yet another beauty from 15th century, slightly different.


It was 3 pm. I had no lunch. I had decided to skip lunch & move in to Suzdal Village & check the market place. While I am heading towards village center, a Russian family approached me from other side. We spoke for a while & then they asked for a photograph with me. I was delighted by their gesture. The family happens to be very sweet & they are from Suzdal itself. At this point of time, I recalled our strong relations during Nehru Era. I picked some tips for moving around & then walked in the Market Place. It is massive & must be very beautiful during 19th century with hassle & bustle. Today it is in ruined condition. Few shops are operational & the poverty is all pervading. I was seeing the real Russia, poor & helpless. The historic center of Suzdal is rather big for foot travels. And tourists also come here for Suzdal souvenirs.

The Suzdal's market was designed by the local architect Vershinsky in 1806. It was the first Empire-style structure in the city. By its design it strongly resembles the Gostiny Dvor of St. Petersburg and so it was also called the Gostiny Dvor of Suzdal. The Entry into Jerusalem Church and the Friday Church are in the immediate vicinity of the Suzdal Kremlin on the bank of the river Kamenka. I visited the riverside later. I don’t want to miss this historic river front, hence I decided to have quick stroll.


Time was running out. I need to reach Vladimir before 7 pm. It was already 5 pm. I felt that Vladimir & Suzdal cannot be done in a day. We need 2 days. I miscalculated the timings. I never thought that Suzdal could be so big & engrossing in terms of visiting monasteries though it is a small town by area. 

Yes I am now returning to Suzdal Bus Stand which is 4 kms away from Market place. I am told small taxis are available to reach bus stand. While enquiring, I could spot the ‘morning’ Chinese walking on me. Now we two are waiting for the taxi.  Suddenly I saw a beautiful horse-drawn carriage approaching us with most rhythmic sound on earth. The Russian coachman was smart. (A coachman is the driver of a horse-drawn carriage.) I angled my camera to take his photograph. He slowed down. After couple of clicks, I said ‘thanks’. He stopped. He invited us. I went nearby. Chinese choose to still. He was trying to tell something to me, but I was not able to grasp. After few minutes, he was suggesting that he can drop us at Bus Stop. I decided to jump in. I yelled at Chinese to join me. Next 5 minutes journey was amazing. I was talking to him in English & he was responding in Russian. Both were happy. I took some VDO footage. He was delighted. The rhythm was at peak. The journey lasted quickly. We alighted from carriage & offered him money. He refused. He just said – no please. You are our guest. We have enjoyed the rural hospitality of Russia. I can’t forget those 5  mints.

We got Bus to reach Vladimir. Due to short of time I could not visit Vladimir. Felt very sorry. But I can’t hang myself for my wrongdoings. 

0/Post a Comment/Comments