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(so͞oz`dəl), city, central European Russia, NE Moscow. Its major industry is tourism. Founded c.1024 as a fortress town, it developed from the 11th to 12th cent. as an important city of the grand duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal (see VladimirVladimir
, city (1989 pop. 350,000), capital of Vladimir region, W central European Russia, on the Klyazma River. A rail junction, it has industries producing machinery, chemicals, cotton textiles, and plastics. Tourism is also important. Founded in the early 12th cent.
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) and a political and religious center of NE Russia. In the early 13th cent. it became the capital of the Suzdal principality, but it was destroyed by the Mongols under Batu KhanBatu Khan
, d. 1255, Mongol leader; a grandson of Jenghiz Khan. In 1235 Batu became commander of the Mongol army assigned to the conquest of Europe; his chief general was Subutai. Batu crossed the Volga, sending part of his force to Bulgaria but most of it to Russia.
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 in 1238 and never recovered its importance. In 1451, Suzdal passed to the grand duchy of Moscow. Landmarks include an ancient kremlin with a cathedral and a monastery, a 17th-century bell tower, and bishops' palaces from the 15th to 18th cent.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city under oblast jurisdiction and administrative center of Suzdal’ Raion, Vla’dimir Oblast, RSFSR. Situated 28 km southeast of the Gavrilov Posad railroad station on the Aleksandrov-Ivanovo line and 26 km north of the city of Vladimir.

Suzdal’ is one of the oldest of a number of Russian cities in which numerous architectural monuments have been preserved. The first mention of the city is found in accounts for the year 1024. In the early 12th century, during the reign of Iurii Dolgorukii, Suzdal’ was the center of the Rostov-Suzdal’ Principality; it later became part of the Vladimir-Suzdal’ Principality. In the 13th century it became the capital of the independent Suzdal’ Principality. In 1238, Suzdal’ was burned by the Mongol-Tatars. In the early 14th century it was the capital of the Suzdal’-Nizhny Novgorod Principality, and in 1392 it became part of the Grand Principality of Moscow, into which it was definitively incorporated in the 15th century. After losing its political significance, Suzdal’ became a religious center of Rus’. As late as the 19th century, it was the center of an eparchy.

In the early 17th century, during the Polish-Lithuanian intervention, Suzdal’ was severely damaged. The mid-17th century marked the beginning of the city’s trade and economic ascendancy. In 1796 it became a district capital of Vladimir Province.

Suzdal’ is situated on a sharp bend in the Kamenka River. The 18th-century layout of the city has been preserved. (A general grid plan was approved in 1788 and was partially implemented.) The monuments of Old Russian art of the 13th to 17th centuries form a picturesque ensemble with their natural surroundings. Major restoration work has been undertaken during the Soviet period.

Among the architectural monuments on the kremlin grounds in Suzdal’ are the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin (1222–25, later reconstructed; frescoes from the 13th, 15th, and 17th centuries and an iconostasis from the 17th century), the archbishop’s chambers (15th to 18th centuries), and the tent-shaped campanile (1635). There are a number of monasteries in the center and on the outskirts of Suzdal’. The Spaso-Evfimiev (16th to 17th centuries) Monastery, surrounded by a fortress wall with 12 towers (mid-17th century), includes the Preobrazhenskii (Transfiguration) Cathedral (1564, later reconstructed; frescoes from 1689 by G. Nikitin and others) and the tent-shaped Uspenskaia (Assumption) Church (1525), with a refectory; the grave of Prince D. M. Pozharskii is on the grounds of the monastery. The buildings of the Rizpolozhenskii Monastery (16th to 19th centuries) include a 16th-century cathedral with a gallery and parvis built in 1688, and the double tent-shaped Holy Gates (1688; I. Mamin, A. Shmakov, and I. Griaznov). The Pokrovskii Convent (16th to 18th centuries) includes a 16th-century cathedral (1510–18) and the Blagoveshchenskaia (Annunciation) Church, which stands over the gates (c. 1518).

Among the small parish churches that make up the city skyline are the Lazarevskaia Church (1667), the Antip’evskaia Church (1745), the Tsarekonstantinovskaia Church (1707), and the Kos’-modem’ianskaia Church (1725). The city also has a market dating from the early 19th century and some wooden churches of the 18th and 19th centuries that were moved to Suzdal’.

Suzdal’ is a major attraction for domestic and foreign tourists. Its architectural monuments and museums are part of the Vladimir-Suzdal’ Museum-Preserve of Historical Architecture and Art. In 1967 the Council of Ministers of the USSR approved a resolution on the construction of a tourist center in the city that would eventually service 500,000–600,000 tourists per year; the planning group consisted of architects from the Central Scientific Research Institute for Experimental Design of Commercial and Public Buildings and Tourist Complexes and was directed by M. A. Orlov. The center includes museums, hotels, campgrounds, motels, enterprises for preparing Old Russian food, and souvenir workshops and stores; the first phase was completed in 1976. Some of the tourist facilities are housed in renovated buildings. The scale and architectural style of the various structures of the tourist center, as well as the siting of the center’s buildings and the pattern of construction of the city’s buildings, were selected in such a way that the new buildings disturb neither the panorama of the old section of Suzdal’ nor the integrity of its appearance.

On Aug. 20, 1974, Suzdal’ was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor, partially in connection with its 950th anniversary but also for its great contribution to the dissemination of its cultural heritage, for its preservation and restoration of the monuments of Old Russian art and architecture, and for the development of large-scale tourism.


Vagner, G. K. Suzdal’. Moscow, 1969.
Varganov, A. D. Suzdal’. Yaroslavl, 1971.
Voronin, N. N. Vladimir, Bogoliubovo, Suzdal’, lur’ev-Pol’skii, 4th ed. Moscow, 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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