On the way from Vladimir to Suzdal, we encounter a snowstorm.
Suzdal is delightful. It’s a truly Russian city, even excessively so. It embodies Russian folk clichés. The population is only 10,000 people, one major street that can be crossed in half an hour to traverse the entire city. Suzdal ends as abruptly as it begins: amidst fields, a fence appears, along the road flow houses, churches, Kremlin walls, then another fence emerges, and beyond it, the fields begin again. Driving through the city feels as if it never happened.
But what a city it is.
In winter, it’s probably even better here. Everything resembles a pre-revolutionary postcard.
Which landscape is more to your liking? A solitary church across a white field?
Or is it better with a birch tree?
A frozen river.
People ride on a snow banana and snowmobiles along it.
Next to the church, there is a hill that used to be part of the Kremlin wall.
One can come to Suzdal just to slide down that hill once.
Or on a snowmobile along the frozen riverbed.
Horse transport is very common in Suzdal. Horses are constantly used throughout the city: for riding or in carriages. Of course, this is done with tourists in mind. Suzdal is too small for local residents to move around the city on horses just for the sake of it. The rides are offered to tourists. One trip through the city costs 300 rubles.
I’ve already mentioned that Suzdal is a very Russian city. I’ll repeat it once again. The tower of the local bell tower has clocks with letters from the old Cyrillic alphabet. I’m not sure if they have remained from those times or were installed during restoration. When did clock-making begin in general? And when did the transition from letters to numbers occur?
The city is filled with many inscriptions in the pre-revolutionary style. Even in the local antique shop, you can find various artifacts, unlike the usual junk. They range from ruble banknotes of the transitional government with a swastika under the eagle to an antique oak table priced at an exorbitant 70,000 rubles.
Or there stands an inconspicuous house that doesn’t attract any attention.
If you take a closer look, it turns out that it has been standing here ever since, and the inscription has survived, not destroyed by the Bolsheviks. Immediately, this warehouse becomes not just an ordinary house but, in its own way, beautiful and historical.
The Kremlin walls.
The church near the Kremlin.
Not to mention that even the ordinary streets of Suzdal are beautiful. In this small tourist corner, they diligently clear the snow, even after a severe overnight blizzard.
Strolling along them is a pure delight.
A low arch in one of the houses. During a heavy snowstorm, it probably gets drifted up to the top.
What’s behind the arch? The same as everywhere else: unimpressive dilapidation. However, it’s not as dreadful as in Vladimir.
Nevertheless, there are no those dreadful wooden structures piled on top of each other here. It’s a rather decent garage, albeit discolored from dampness.
Entrance to the stairwell.
The wheel track goes somewhere around the corner.
Another collection of window moldings. Suzdal has many of them, all different.
And here is an incredible house. I have never seen anything more beautiful in my life.
Just take a look at this! What an unfathomable number of details. Everything is exquisite in it, from the patterns on the windows to the numbered signpost.
At night, Suzdal doesn’t sleep, at least on the main street. Even in the late hours, cars are still driving. There are few dark spots in the city; yellow lanterns illuminate everywhere. After the New Year, LED garlands remained on the trees. They weren’t draped around the trunks like in Moscow, nor were they hung all over the canopies like in Europe. Instead, a few garlands were neatly arranged. It’s economical and looks good. There’s something to learn from the countryside.
At night in Suzdal, you can encounter a groomed mare.
And for the third time, I will repeat: Suzdal is truly an authentically Russian city. Sometimes even excessively Russian. It may seem cliché or overly stylized to attract tourists to someone. But if you want to see “that Russia” for yourself, it’s definitely worth visiting Suzdal. It’s a beautiful place, especially in winter.
P.S. Mead is cheaper in Moscow.