Vladimir founded in 1108 on the banks of the Klyazma River, a small tributary of the Volga, is a pearl of ancient Russian culture. Vladimir was the capital of Russia in the 12th century and played a key role in the formation of the Russian state.
The ceremonial gate of the city is the Golden Gate (1164), which at the same time was used as its important fortifications. Another striking monument of the town is the Assumption Cathedral (built in 1158–61 and enlarged in 1185–89), here one can find much gilt, fine majolica tiles, and some remnants of the old murals and frescos (1189) which were restored in 1408 by Andrei Rublev and Daniel Cherny.
One of the most outstanding cathedrals in whole Russia and the finest one in Vladimir is the Dimitri Cathedral (1194–97). Sensational bas-reliefs carved on the cathedral front represent a mixture of subjects from the Scriptures and classical history (f.e. those ones of Alexander the Great and King Solomon, etc).