Cathedral of St Dmitry (also known as Cathedral of St Demetrius) is one of the most beautiful and original cathedrals of ancient Russia.
Although history has not preserved the names of the cathedral’s creators, it presumably was founded somewhere between 1194-1197, which refers to the time of the rule of Vsevolod the Big Nest, Grand Prince of Vladimir.
40 years after the construction, Vladimir was overwhelmed by one of the most destructive events of Russian history, the Mongol invasion. In 1238, the city was captured and totally sacked. The grand prince Yury, Vsevolod’s son, was killed a few days later in a final battle with the Mongol armies. As a result of the invasion, the cathedral was heavily damaged. Besides, the temple was damaged by fire several times in the 16th and 18th centuries. Ultimately, because of the unsuccessful restoration in 1837-1839, the cathedral was stripped of its most interesting features, the staircase towers and galleries. The re-restoration of 1952 by Alexander Stoletov saved the cathedral from complete destruction and it finally regained its original appearance.
On the walls of the cathedral you can see the bas-reliefs depicting either King Solomon or David (still is not known exactly) surrounded by the symbolic images of flora and fauna as well as the characters from the Bible and Classical mythology. In total, there are 566 bas-reliefs and 1,500 carved stones.
However, after such a graceful and lavish external decoration, the cathedral’s interior is a bit disappointing. Unlike all the other cathedrals of Vladimir, the Cathedral of St Dmitry inside is modestly decorated. The few frescoes that survived the fires, were subsequently destroyed by the restorers in 1837, and now the temple greets visitors with almost sterile whiteness.
The Cathedral of St Dmitry is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage monument.
Entrance Fee: 80 rub
Open daily except Tue from 11.00 to 18.00; Mon, Thu: from 11.00 to 17.00.
The last Wed of each month is a day off
60, Bolshaya Moskovskaya str. (Rus: ул. Большая Московская, 60)
Latitude: 40°24′39.458″ (40.4109606)
Longitude: 56°7′44.992″ (56.1291645)
Other Vladimir attractions:
Bogolyubovo, a picturesque village located 13 km east from Vladimir with remarkable monuments of the architecture of the 12th century.
Monastery of the Nativity of the Virgin, the place with an amazing fate: for centuries, giving believers hope for the world beyond the grave, it became a place of cruel executions of the 20th century.
Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir, the main temple of Vladimir erected in 1158.
Golden Gate, a unique example of Russian military architecture of the 12th century and the most recognizable object of the city.
Museum of Crystal, Lacquer Miniatures and Embroidery that occupies the stunning building of the Old Believers Trinity Church and houses a rich collection of Russian handicrafts and folk art, lacquer miniature, rock crystal and glass pieces.
Gus-Khrustalny, a town of the Russian Golden Ring, stands on the Gus River 39 mi (63 km) far from Vladimir and houses the world famos Crystal Factory.