Suzdal (Russian: Суздаль; IPA: [ˈsuzdəlʲ]) is a town and the administrative center of Suzdalsky District in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Kamenka River, 26 kilometers (16 mi) north of the city of Vladimir, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 10,535 (2010 Census); 11,357 (2002 Census); 12,063 (1989 Census).
The history of the town dates back to at least the year 1024 For centuries it functioned as the capital of several Russian principalities. According to O.N.Trubachyov the name of the town comes from the old Slavic verb to create (съзьдати) which also means clay-built. It forms part of the Golden Ring. It was chartered in 1777.
After a decline in political importance, the town rose in prominence as a religious center with numerous monasteries and a remarkable ratio of churches to citizens: at one point, forty churches for four hundred families. Today, the town operates as an important tourist center, featuring many fine examples of old Russian architecture—most of them churches and monasteries. Walking through the town, one might get the feeling that every third building is a church. Although having over ten thousand residents, Suzdal still retains a rural look with streams and meadows everywhere and chicken and livestock a common sight on the streets, some of which remain unpaved. This juxtaposition of stunning medieval architecture with its pastoral setting lends Suzdal a picturesque charm and in the summer artists and easels are a common sight.
In March, the Suzdal tourist center is home to the Open Russian Festival of Animated Film. The Cathedral of the Nativity in Suzdal is one of the eight White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal, a World Heritage Site.
- Wooden Church of St. Nicholas. This church was built in Glotovo in 1766 and was moved to Suzdal in 1960 to be part of a museum of wooden architecture. The church is elevated off the ground about a story high from when it was moved across the country. This church is made out of all wood and represents the close relationship between wood and stone architecture and how precise the Russians were while building this back in 1766.
- St. John the Baptist Church. This church was built in 1720, at the same time that the St. Nicholas church was built, although the difference between the types of architecture of the two churches is quite remarkable. Whereas the St. Nicholas Church is all wooden, the St. John Church is made out of white plastered walls with wooden supports.
- The St. Alexander Convent. This church was built in 1240 by an unknown architect. It is said that the princesses of Suzdal, Mariya and Agrippina, were buried here in the 14th century.
- Convent of Intercession. The convent was founded in 1364. In its center stands the cathedral of the Intercession; it was an add-on built in 1518 financed by Moscow knaz (king) Basil The Third.. The interior of the cathedral has no paintings or stained glass, it is simply plain white stone walls all around. The church was and still is one of the richest convents in Russia. The convent is the home of many nuns and is also the burial vault for twenty nuns of noble birth. Connected to the white stoned wall cathedral is an art museum which can be toured. There are many paintings but none in the cathedral itself. This building is filled with arches and art created in the 16th and 17th century.