[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
Suzdal (Russian: Суздаль; IPA: [ˈsuzdəlʲ]) is a town and the administrative center of Suzdalsky District of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, situated northeast of Moscow, 26 kilometers (16 mi) from the city of Vladimir, on the Kamenka River. 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. It is called Sursdalar or Sudrdala (the southern valley) in the Norse Sagas — which probably also is the origin of the town’s name. For centuries it functioned as the capital of several Russian principalities. It forms part of the Golden Ring. It was granted city status 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 the look and feel of a small village with streams and meadows everywhere nearby, and chicken and livestock a common sight on the city streets, some of which are 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.