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The city of Aleksandrov is located in the very centre of the Golden Ring 100 km from Moscow and 40 km from Sergiev Posad on the crossing of Moscow, Vladimir and Yaroslavl Regions.

The city was first mentioned in the ancient Russian chronicles in 1339 at that time the settlement was called Staraya (Old) or Velikaya (Great) Sloboda. Early in the 16th century Great Duke Vasiliy the Third made Staraya Sloboda perfect for travelers. In 1513 greatest Russian and Italian architects created Pokrovskiy Cathedral, now known as Troitskiy, which became the gem of the Dukes country seat. Later the place was named Novaya or Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda. Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda became widely known during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, when it was actually the capital of Russia, being the tsars palace for 17 years (1564 1581). From there Ivan the Terrible ruled the country he started oprichnina, went to master rebel cities and signed terms of truce with Poland and Sweden.

Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda hosted receptions of foreign embassies. The tsar entertained his guests with shows of local buffoons, boxers and bear fighters. There the tsar found his wife two thousand beautiful women were brought here, and Ivan chose Marfa Sobakina, who died two weeks after the wedding. The tsar married another woman, Maria Dolgorukaya, but the following morning threw her into the river in rage. Sloboda also saw death of Ivans son. However, the fame of the village wasnt built on blood only. In 1576 first Russian regional printing house was established in Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda, and first Russian conservatory with best singers and musicians of the country opened there.

Buildings of Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda are among the brightest and most perfect architectural complexes of Ancient Russias 16th - 17th centuries. Bell tower of Raspyatskaya church, Troitskaya and Uspenskaya churches are real masterpieces of ancient Russian monuments. Troitskiy cathedrals Golden Gates, covered with red copper and painted with gold, belonged to Saint Sofia of Novgorod before and were brought by Ivan IV to Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda in 1570. Not long before death Ivan IV left Sloboda, and the settlement started deteriorating slowly.

365 years ago abandoned buildings of tsars palace hosted Uspenskiy convent, the only ancient Russian fortress, built by women. During Polish and Lithuanian intervention wooden walls and tsars palace were destroyed by fire, and first tsar of the Romanov dynasty ordered to repair unique settlement. Between 1698 and 1707 stepsister of Peter the Great was imprisoned here as a nun. Russian empress Elisabeth also spent about ten years in exile in Sloboda.

In 1778 Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda obtained town status. Its population was skillful in various crafts, especially in blacksmithing and weaving, which was reflected in towns coat-of-arms. In 1870 a railway station Aleksandrov appeared at Moscow-Yaroslavl railway. Early in 19th century the town acquired flax and cotton manufacture.

Fifteen years after the revolution of 1917, radioelectronic industry appeared in Aleksandrov. In 1932 radio plant moved there from Moscow. During Great Patriotic War the plant produced radio stations for military needs. When the war ended, production switched to popular radio receivers and television sets. New industries arrived to the town semiconductors, synthesis of mineral raw materials, and etc. The town hosted two geological expeditions.

Aleksandrov has unique geographic location and cultural heritage. Hundreds of thousands of tourists come here every year for a fascinating trip to Russian history.




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  (Vladimir Region)

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