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April 28th 2020
Published: May 24th 2020
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If it was not for Corona we were booked for our annual holiday starting today.

The trip that could have been! Virtual is the new world, so I thought I would travel virtual and take the readers on this holiday with me.

28 Apr – Flight from New Delhi in the morning and here we are in Moscow at 5.25 am . First things first- Bought a SIM card From Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) took the airport train to Kursky Station and then a train from the left side of the station to Vladimir . We plan to do the golden triangle before doing Moscow. Checked into the hotel and by 12 noon we were good to go! Took a taxi to go around the main sights in Vladimir . The Golden Gates built in 1164 support a church flanked by two castle-like structures that were added later. Then the Cathedral of the Assumption overlooking the Klyazma River with detailed carvings that climb the cathedral's steep stone walls on all sides were fascinating.The key Russian building of its era, it was founded in 1158 by Vladimir prince Andrei Bogolubsky (whose name means "god-loving"). The cathedral suffered massive looting and violence during Tatar invasions, but was restored in the 18th century. It is unlike any other Russian church in the region, but its exterior is more fascinating than its interior.The images are surprisingly secular, depicting princes of the period at their various activities. The carvings at the base are more precise and two-dimensional, while farther up the facade the carvings are crude. The heavy tiered bell tower was next and the unadorned white walls that dominate the adjacent square made it quite charming.. Once we were familiar with the area, we left the taxi and walked through the historical town. Trolleybus #5 connects the train station to the historical centre and runs along Bolshaya Moscovksaya Ulitsa.

29 April – Day trip to <ins style="box-sizing: border-box;">Suzdal</ins> that is 1 hr away. So left early morning by bus. Buses runs every 30 min Suzdal's conservative, tranquil beauty complements Vladimir's grand heritage, Vladimir was a major political, religious, and cultural center when Moscow was still an unremarkable provincial capital. Suzdal houses a fortress and a collection of riverside convents and monasteries that date back to the town's heyday in the 11th to 13th centuries. Its populace and architecture stay loyal to tradition despite the steady flow of tourists. Vladimir, once a provincial capital more prosperous and holy than Moscow, centers around its incomparable Cathedral of the Assumption, whose architectural features caused a sensation when it was completed in 1158 and inspired cathedral designers for centuries to come. The town has grown and modernized more than Suzdal. Taking a walk along the Kamenka River in Suzdal gives you a great perspective of the city, and it's hard to get lost since the domes of the monastery cathedrals are visible from almost anywhere in town. Suzdal thrived between its founding in A.D. 1024 and its sacking by Mongols in A.D. 1238, and has remained peripheral ever since. Its residents have retained a quiet dignity and sometimes the town feels untouched by Russia's past century of upheaval. The town centers around Trading Square (Torgovaya Ploshchad) and nearby Red Square (Krasnaya Ploshchad), which hosts the town hall and post office. The 11th-century Kremlin -- the word means "fortress" in Russian -- retains some of its original walls and houses a museum and restaurant. The Kremlin's rather run-down state reminds you how old it really is.

Suzdal's highlights are its convents and monasteries. The oldest and the first on most tours is Rizopolozhensky Monastery, founded in 1207. Most structures inside date from 300 years later, including the three-domed Rizopolozhensky Cathedral at the center of the complex. Monks again wander the grounds, seemingly unperturbed by tourists. It's open from 10am to 4pm.

next Pokrovsky Convent , which came to be used as a storehouse for the first wives of Russian czars seeking younger companionship, including Peter the Great's wife Evdokia Lopukhina. The solemn grounds are again a functioning convent, and include an unusual inn of wooden cottages open for tourists. In summer, the nuns graze cows at dawn in the surrounding fields. . Across from the convent is Euthimiev Monastery-Fortress, which earned political popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries and substantial donations from czars and nobility. Its high, thick stone walls reveal its dual purpose as a fortress as well as a monastic refuge, and served it well when Catherine the Great founded a prison here for political opponents. The central Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral combines several styles of Vladimir-Suzdal architecture from the 11th to the 16th centuries.One of the few Soviet contributions to Suzdal was the Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life, across the Kamenka River from the Kremlin. It includes <em style="box-sizing: border-box;">izbas (small wooden homes), mills, and wooden churches brought here from surrounding Vladimir Province. We wandered around Suzdal to get a good glimpse of the decorative wooden frames of typical Russian houses, and a peek at the compact but rich vegetable gardens that feed many rural families.By late evening we got a bus back to Vladimir .

30 AprilVladimir city buses, including #103 and 152, run through Bogolyubovo. The bus stops are all over the historical center, near the Golden Gate and on the Cathedral square. As we spotted the huge convent on our right-hand side we alighted and took the road to the right to the finest white-stone monument from 12th century. Bogolyubovo was founded by prince Andrey Bogolyubsky in 1158. According to a legend, the prince spent the night on this spot and saw Our Lady who ordered him to found the settlement and to build the monastery. During a short period (1158–1165), the palace, fortifications, and the nearby church of the Intercession on the Nerl were constructed. All the buildings were made of stone, a very unusual material for ancient Rus'. In few years, the settlement grew up to a town known as Bogolyubov. However, the decay was as fast as the rise. After Andrey Bogolyubsky was murdered in 1174, the town diminished. In 1177, it was ravaged by Gleb, the prince of Ryazan, while in 1238 Batu Khan destroyed the town completely. The remains of the palace were used by the monastery. Since 13th century, Bogolyubovo has remained only a small village near the monastery. By the afternoon we left Valimir for Ivanovo which was 2.5 hrs away. Reached late and rested.

01 May – Ivanovo was founded by merging of two settlements in 1871. The first one was Ivanovo village (a flax-processing center), the second one - Voznesensky Posad (an industrial center). The new town received the name Ivanovo-Voznesensk. At the beginning of the 20th century, the town was competing with Lodz town (that time also the town of the Russian Empire) for the title of the European main textile production center.Being the town with numerous factories, Ivanovo was the place of high revolutionary activity and, in May 1905, the first Soviet in history was created there. In 1918, it received the status of guberniya (region) administrative center. In 1932, the city received its current name - Ivanovo. During the Second World War, the city had about 50 hospitals where soldiers of the Red Army were treated. After the war, along with the textile industry, mechanical engineering and other industries were developed in the city. By 1980, Ivanovo became a major industrial center with a lot of large enterprises of light and engineering industries.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, a number of textile enterprises were closed. However, the city continues to develop, a new modern residential complex “Moscow Lights” was built. It is the tallest residential building of the city. There are a lot of historical and revolutionary monuments in the city which make it rather specific. The historical center of Ivanovo is interesting by its former merchants’ houses of the 19th and the early 20th centuries. The industrial architecture of the 19th century is rather interesting (several textile plants of that period remained almost unchanged). The-ship-house, the-horseshoe-house and the like. Ivanovo is also known as “the city of brides”, “the land of printed cotton”, “Russian Manchester”, “Red Manchester”. Ivanovo is called the Russian textile industry capital for hundreds of years.

Left in the evening for Kostarama and reache 2.5 hours later to check in and rest

02 May - Started early morning to explore the town. Walked to Ipatiev Monastery, where the first Romanov Tsar Mikhail was saved from Polish invaders. The Ipatiev Monastery was founded in the 14th century and now it functions as a museum. It preserves big exposition, which describes the Romanov’s dynasty and has a great collection of icons from different historical periods. Spent about an hour wandering around the numerous buildings of the monastery, including the Trinity Cathedral. The next was the Museum of Wooden Architecture.. It was exciting to see how people lived in the old wooden Russian houses and churches, The museum hosted different oriental shows with original songs, dances and costumes which were quite nice.

Afterwards, we took a walk to the other side of the Kostroma River and around the central square, the Susanin Square, which locals sometimes call a “frying pan”, because it heats up so much in the warmer days that it’s impossible to stay there too long. The Fire Tower in the square has the symbols of Kostroma built in classicism, with columns and a traditional porch. The evening was relaxed and we rested well for the early morning train to Yaroslav


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