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The site of future Suzdal becomes inhabited by Slavonic tribes before IX century. The city is first mentioned in the Russian chronicles in 1024, which is considered to be the first official information about the settlement. At that time Suzdal is already among most important Russian cities.

As many other border cities of North-East Russia, ancient Suzdal is a fortress, built to protect Russian territories from attacks of violent nomads. After Yaroslav the Wise dies, Suzdal and some other cities pass to his son, Vsevolod, and later become property of Vladimir Monomakh.

In the end of the XI century several Russian princes try to master the city, and in the fierce battle the city is burnt. Its prince Vladimir Monomakh does his best to restore Suzdal and builds there a new stone cathedral.

With time Suzdal takes priority from the capital city of Rostov and, when Yuri Dolgorukiy seizes power, Suzdal becomes the capital of Rostov and Suzdal princedom. However, in 1157 Suzdal prince Andrey moves to Vladimir, and since that time the city starts losing its political superiority. The city enters Vladimir princedom, and Great prince Vsevolod orders to repair and renew citys fortifications and cathedrals, causing rapid growth of Suzdal.

Citys history lists many tragic pages. The Tatars nearly destroy it in 1238, and it takes Suzdal over 15 years to recover from losses. In this time the city becomes the centre of Russias ecclesiastical and spiritual life. As Moscow gets stronger, Suzdal loses its independence, and in 1392 Moscow prince sends a governor to rule the city. Last attempt to gain the political power is made in 1445, when the Tatars take Moscow prince as a prisoner. Five years later political situation in Moscow stabilizes, and Suzdal resigns. During reign of Ivan the Terrible Suzdal becomes the exile place for tsars enemies.

The XVII century is a hard time for the city. In 1608 Suzdal is invaded and plundered by Polish troops. For two awful years angry mobs terrorize the city, and in 1611 Lithuanians come and make the situation even worse. However, Suzdal holds out, and with great effort the citizens start reconstruction. Life becomes steadier, but in 1634 Crimean Tatars again attack the city, bringing great damage to it. In 1643 another trouble comes great fire nearly destroys Suzdal. City dwellers almost finish one of numerous reconstructions, when plague pandemics kills over a thousand people nearly half of city population.

In XIX century many Russian cities show rapid economic growth, however, Suzdal falls under opposite tendency. Citizens start moving to other settlements. The war of 1812 shakes the quiet Suzdal, however, its dwellers survive all miseries and build a 65-meter high bell tower, memorizing the victory, in 1819. Suzdal citizens live mainly on fruits and vegetables. Suzdal cherries are famous all around Russia, and cherry juice travels to Moscow in large barrels to become cherry liquor. Local spices are well known in Saint Petersburg and are even exported abroad. 23rd September of every year is a day of all-Russian fair, usually held in Suzdal.

No railroad is ever built in Suzdal, leaving the city aside from economically developed Russian regions. The end of XIX century shows only 8 thousand citizens in Suzdal, however, these few enthusiasts keep watching and caring about citys cathedrals and monuments of ancient Russian art. Suzdal has many necessary establishments, occupying stone buildings commercial establishments, pawn-shop and customs. Main street is full of merchant houses, differing in architecture.

October Socialist revolution doesnt pass by the city, however, not many changes take place. After the civil war ends, the city slowly rebuilds and develops. Museum of Suzdal opens in 1923 it succeeds in collecting over 3.5 thousand items from closed monasteries, thus saving them. The city grows and obtains professional educational institutions. Suzdal makes its contribution to defending Russia from fascist invaders. After the war ends, citys monuments continue suffering. They host mostly household establishments garages, smithy, storages and etc. However, the city slowly returns its monuments and starts attracting tourists.

In the middle of XX century a new road is built between Suzdal and other large cities, which makes visiting the city more convenient. Most interesting and ancient exhibition items and monuments are finally restored. Tourist flow grows rapidly, and most of them arrive from abroad. Today tourist programme and excursions in Suzdal allow visitors to get a full view of ancient Russian city.




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