Set dramatically on a high bluff above the Oka River, this fine piece of pre-Mongol architecture is the legacy of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky – the man who started the shift of power from Kyiv to Northeastern Rus, which eventually evolved into Muscovy. Construction of this white-stone version of Kyiv’s brick Byzantine churches began in 1158 – its simple but majestic form was adorned with fine carving, innovative for the time.

Inside the working church, a few restored 12th-century murals of peacocks and prophets can be discerned about halfway up the inner wall of the outer north aisle; this was originally an outside wall. The real treasures, though, are the Last Judgement frescoes by Andrei Rublyov and Daniil Chyorny, painted in 1408 in the central nave and inner south aisle, under the choir gallery toward the west end.

Comply with the standard church dress code (no shorts for men; covered hat, long skirts for women) at all times, and be especially mindful of people's sensitivities outside the designated 'tourist time'.