Vladimir is a city in Russia, located on the Klyazma River, 200 kilometers (124 mi) to the east of Moscow. It is the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast. Vladimir was one of the medieval capitals of Russia, and two of its cathedrals are a World Heritage Site.
ST. DEMETRIUS CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral of St. Demetrius, built under the Prince Vsevolod III, is one of the most graceful and beautiful churches in Vladimir. It is like an icon in stone. It is the most mysterious church you will find in Vladimir; beauty and mystery are inseparably linked in it, which makes the Cathedral of St. Demetrius really special.
The first mystery of the Cathedral is its birth, for no historical chronic mentions the time when this church was founded. However, many report that in 1197 the icon of St. Demetrius of Salonica was brought here from Byzantium.
The next mystery is the Cathedral itself. Numerous relief images of lions, centaurs, snow leopards and exotic ornaments (more than 1000) are covered on its white-stone walls. The sculptural decor incorporates subjects from the Bible and classical Greek mythology. In the central parts of the facades the image of King David is repeated. In medieval times, he was associated with the celebration of beauty and harmony of the world. Though all these relief may seem now only mere decorations, a valuable garment, but they have had another function; of speaking to people, of inspiring them. What is concealed behind this symbolic form will hardly be open to anyone, but it is worth a try. If not the mystery, the beauty will surely penetrate you.
Not all of the mysteries will be revealed because the interior of the Cathedral, where surviving fragments of 12th century frescoes and more are stored, is not open for visitors.
Church of the Intercession on the Nerl
The Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on the Nerl River
is an Orthodox church and a symbol of mediaeval Russia.
The church is situated at the confluence of Nerl and Klyazma Rivers in Bogolyubovo, 13 km north-east of the ancient capital of Vladimir.
Commissioned by Andrei Bogolyubsky in 1165 to commemorate his slain son, the church used to be connected with Andrew's stone castle by a gallery. The monument is built in white stone, has one dome and four columns in the interior. Its proportions are elongated on purpose to make its outline seem more slender, although this architectural solution made its interior too dark for holding divine services.
For centuries, the memorial church greeted everyone approaching the palace at Bogolyubovo. In spring, the area would be flooded, and the church appeared as if floating on water. The church itself has not been touched by later generations, although the galleries were demolished and the dome's shape slightly changed. The walls are still covered with 12th-century carvings.
In 1992, the church was added to the UN World Heritage List as part of the site White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal.
Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir used to be a mother church of medieval Russia in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is part of the World Heritage Site entitled White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal.
The cathedral was commissioned by Andrew the Pious in his capital Vladimir and dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), whom he promoted as the patron saint of his lands. Originally erected in 1158-1160, the 6-pillared 5-domed cathedral was expanded in 1185-1189 to reflect the augmented prestige of Vladimir. Embracing the area of 1178 sq. meters, it remained the largest of Russian churches for the following 300 or 400 years.
Andrew the Pious, Vsevolod the Big Nest, and other rulers of Vladimir-Suzdal were interred in the crypt of this church. Unlike many other churches, the cathedral survived the great devastation and fire of Vladimir in 1239, when the Mongol hordes of Batu Khan took hold of the capital.
The exterior walls of the church are covered with elaborate carvings. The interior was painted in the 12th century and then repainted by the great Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chernyi in 1408. The Dormition Cathedral served as a model for Aristotele Fioravanti when he designed the eponymous cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin in 1475-1479. A lofty belltower, combining genuinely Russian, Gothic, and Neoclassical influences, was erected nearby in 1810.
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Church of the Intercession on the Nerl
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