Steeped in medieval history, but with little more than 10,000 residents, Suzdal is a little village living in a golden time warp. Star-sprinkled onion domes pepper the meandering rural landscape and black robed monks and nuns can be seen dashing around the town's squares on their way to services.

Dating back to 990 AD, Suzdal is one of the oldest towns in Russia and the 'jewel' of Russia's famous Golden Ring of ancient villages. In its heyday, Suzdal's Kremlin and monasteries held untold riches and its leaders fought with the princes of Moscow to make Suzdal the most important principality in Ancient Rus.

Following a devastating attack by a marauding Tatar army in the 14th Century, Suzdal's astonishing growth slowed and by the 16th Century, Suzdal had already become a political backwater, known mostly for the wealth of its monasteries and purity of its landscape. 

Nowadays the town is filled with busy churches and monasteries and its streets are lined by colourful traditional wooden houses. Having survived the blight of Soviet town-planning, Suzdal looks much as it did centuries ago and is one of the most popular tourist sights in Russia. Fortunately the locals have taken the rise of their town into a tourist hot spot in their stride and life still rolls along at a gentle pace, free from Disney-esque folk shows and filled with rich local traditions.

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