Cathedral of St Dmitry

Golden Ring

Built between 1193 and 1197, this exquisite, Unesco-listed white-stone cathedral represents the epitome of Russian stone carving. The attraction here is the cathedral’s exterior walls, which are covered in an amazing profusion of images. At their top centre, the north, south and west walls all show King David bewitching the birds and beasts with music.

Vladimir prince Vsevolod III (nicknamed 'the Big Nest' thanks to the 14 children he had with his wife Maria) had this church built as part of his palace. He appears at the top left of the north wall, with a baby son on his knee and other sons kneeling on each side. Above the right-hand window of the south wall, Alexander the Great ascends to heaven, a symbol of princely might; on the west wall is a depiction of the Labours of Hercules.

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