The Golden Ring: Several ancient towns of great historical, architectural and spiritual significance make up the ‘Golden Ring’, extending northeast from Moscow. They are a rich collection of kremlins (citadels), monasteries, cathedrals and fortresses. All are within easy reach of the capital. Since many were founded on river banks, a cruise is a pleasant way of discovering the region. Modern boats plying the Volga afford comfortable accommodation. As some major sites such as Vladimir and Suzdal are not located near the Volga, a minibus tour with hotel accommodation is a better option for visitors whose primary interest is the region’s architectural heritage.

Sergiyev Posad: This small town, formerly known as Zagorsk, is situated on two rivers and is the center of the handmade toy industry; the Toy Museum has a collection beginning in the Bronze Age. The Trinity Monastery of St Sergius dates from the Middle Ages and is a major pilgrimage center. Its Cathedral of the Dormition has wonderful blue domes decorated with gold stars. The museum contains examples of Russian ecclesiastical art and crafts.

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