The "Golden Ring" is a tourist route running through a series of cities and towns in central Russia, which are remarkable for their ancient history and abundance of historical and cultural monuments. The area they occupy became the centre of Russia in the twelfth century.
Natural environment was of major significance in the emergence and flowering of the present-day "Golden Ring" area, which strikes even the present-day traveller's imagination by a variety of its landscapes. Since time immemorial it has attracted people by the abundance of waterways, vast fields devoid of forests and having a fertile soil, large resources of building timber and deposits of so-called "white stone" - the beautiful architectural material called the "marble of ancient Russia".
The cities of the "Golden Ring" grew to become the capitals of the principalities where religious life and arts were thriving. They were also important points on the trade routes between the North and the South, Europe and Asia. Many churches and fortified structures, dwelling houses and trade buildings have survived to this day in the area. Museum collections preserve true masterpieces of icon-painting and applied arts, and the interiors of churches are decorated with magnificent frescoes. A visit to these places will enable tourists to form a fairly good idea of the specific mode of life and culture of ancient and present-day Russia.