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History of Vladimir

The name and the founding of the city is traditionally attributed to Vladimir Monomakh, who inherited the region as part of the Rostov-Suzdal principality in 1093. Another version, based on the Hypatian Codex, invokes Vladimir I the Great of Kiev, the "father" of Russian Orthodoxy in 990. Regardless of which founding date is correct, the city became historically sigmificant after the turn of the 12th century. Under Andrei Bogolyubsky (1157-1175), Yuri Dolgoruky's son, it became the center of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality. Andrei built the Golden Gates and the Cathedral of the Assumption. In 1164 he even attempted to establish a new metropolitanate in Vladimir, separate from that of Kiev, but was rebuffed by the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Russian,German, and Georgian masons worked on Vladimir's white stone cathedrals, towers, and palaces. Unlike other northern buildings, their exteriors were elaborately carved with high relief stone sculptures. Only three of these edifices stand today: the Assumption Cathedral, the Cathedral of St.;Demetrios, and the Golden Gate. During Andrei's reign, a royal palace in was built in Bogolyubovo, as well as the Intercession Church on the Nerl, now considered one of the jewels of ancient Russian architecture. Andrei was assassinated at his palace in Bogolyubovo in 1175.

This golden Age came to an uptupt end when Batu, the Khan of the Golden Horde, sacked the city in 1238 and burned down its buildings including the members of the pricely Dolgorky family who had sought refuge in its cathedral. Vladimir never fully recovered. The Metropolitan of all Rus (originally in Kiev) move his seat from Valdomir to Moscow. Moscow superseded Vladimir as the seat of the Grand Prince of Rus and the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kreml became the place of their coronations.
Adapted from Wikipedia

Bogolyubovo, the Palace of Andrei Bogolyubsky


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Bogolyubovo Convent, rests on the foundations of Andrei Bogolyubsky's original Palace (1158-1165), of which only the foundations under the belltower and a gate survive. The church, the tower, and the other buildings of the ensemble are from then 18th century.

Bogolyubovo, the,Church of the Intercession on the Nerl


Photo RWFG 1976

Commissioned by Andrei Bogolyubsky in 1165 in atonement for the murder of his son.
It is one of the most beloved monuments of early Muscovite Rus.

Photo RWFG 1976

Like the Dimitry Cathedral in Vladimir it was built by Georgian craftsmen, viz.its proportions and the
Caucasian sculptural decoration on its outside.

Vladimir, Uspenskiy Cathedral


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The Uspensky Cathedral, the Church of the Dormition or Assumption of the Mother of God, was enlarged by Vsevolod III, in 1185-1189. Rublyov's frescoes on the inside were painted in 1408.

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Andrey Rubelyov "The Vladimirskaya Mother of God" 1408,
Vladimir Museum. Painted to replace the Byzantine Vladimirskaya Elusa which had been taken to Moscow in 1385 to protect that city from Timurleng's hordes.

Link to the

The Rubelyov Deesis in the Iconostasis of the Uspensky Cathedral

The iconostasis of the Assumption Cathedral is one of Rubelyov's celebrated master pieces.
Each panel is 314 × 128 cm large! - Because of its extent it has a seperate page on my website.

Vladimir, Church of St. Dimitry


Photo RWFG 1977

Vladimir Dimitry Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Russia. It was commissioned by Vsevolod III (1194-1197), and like the church on the Nerl built by Georgian craftsmen loaned by Queen Tamara (1160-1213) of Georgia. The Caucasian sculptural decorations on their outside are unique in Russia, their themes are directly related to the churches in Ateni and Mtskheta in Georgia. - A son of Vsevolod was Tamara's first husband, whom, after her father's death, she sent back home because of a non-consumated marriage. The church was restored in the 15th cent. Marginal fragments of frescoes painted by Greek artists from Thessaloniki - where the relics of St. Demitrius (a bloodied shred of his shirt) had come from - have been discovered under plaster in the late 19th century.

Photo RWFG 1977

Caucasian sculptural ornaments on the tambour of the cathedral. In Georgia the roof would have been conical.

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Archangel Mikhael - Christ Emanuel - Archangel Gabriel, (end 12th cent) one of the earliest Russian representations of the Trinity.
It served as the lintel over the Golden Door of the deesis of the Dimitry Cathedral in Vladimir. In the 16th cent it was taken to the Uspensky Cathedral in Moscow and is now in the Tretyakov Gallery.

Vladimir, Rozhdestvenskiy Monastery


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The Monastery and the Church of the Nativity
1222-1225 and later