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Vladimir-Suzdal

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The Vladimir-Suzdal Principality (1168–1389 AD) or Vladimir-Suzdal Rus’ was one of the major principalities which succeeded Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 in the late 12th century and lasted until the late 14th century. For a long time the Principality was a vassal of the Mongolian Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

. Traditionally, it is perceived as a cradle of the Great Russian language
Great Russian language
Great Russian language is a name given in the 19th century to the Russian language as opposed to the Ukrainian and Belarusian languages...

 and nationality, Vladimir-Suzdal gradually evolved into the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

.

Rostov principality


There is little or no evidence of that principality before 11th century. One of the first notable administrators presumably were sons of Vladimir the Great, Boris and Gleb, later Yaroslav the Wise. The principality occupied a vast territory in the North-East of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

, approximately bounded by the Volga
Volga River
The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga's drainage...

, Oka
Oka River
Oka is a river in central Russia, the largest right tributary of the Volga. It flows through the regions of Oryol, Tula, Kaluga, Moscow, Ryazan, Vladimir, and Nizhny Novgorod and is navigable over a large part of its total length, as far upstream as to the town of Kaluga. Its length exceeds...

 and Northern Dvina
Northern Dvina
The Northern Dvina is a river in Northern Russia flowing through the Vologda Oblast and Arkhangelsk Oblast into the Dvina Bay of the White Sea. Along with the Pechora River to the east, it drains most of Northwest Russia into the Arctic Ocean...

. Until the decline of the Kievan Rus in the 12th-13th centuries the territory was also commonly called as Zalesie, meaning beyond woodland. There is a scarce historical information for the area during that time. The foundation of the Rostov city has been lost in the span of time. According to the archeologist Andrei Leontiev, who is specialized in the history of the region, the Rostov land until the 10th century was already under control of Rostov city while Sarskoye Gorodishche
Sarskoye Gorodishche
Sarskoye Gorodishche or Sarsky fort was a medieval fortified settlement in the Yaroslavl Oblast of Russia. It was situated on the bank of the Sara River, a short distance from Lake Nero, to the south of modern Rostov, of which it seems to have been the early medieval predecessor.- Exploration :The...

 was a tribal center of native Merya people.

In the 10th century an eparchy was established in Rostov
Rostov
Rostov is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, one of the oldest in the country and a tourist center of the Golden Ring. It is located on the shores of Lake Nero, northeast of Moscow. Population:...

. One of the first known princes was Yaroslav the Wise and later Boris Vladimirovich. At that time Rostov was the major center of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity in the region dominated mostly by shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

. Until 11th century Rostov was often associated with the Great Novgorod. Evidently the spread of Eastern Orthodox Christianity to the lands of the Great Perm
Great Perm
Great Perm or simply Perm, Latinized Permia, was a medieval Komi state in what is now the Perm Krai of the Russian Federation.Cherdyn is said to have been its capital....

 was successfully conducted from Rostov. The regional capital was Rostov the Great, including other important towns included Suzdal
Suzdal
Suzdal is a town in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, situated northeast of Moscow, from the city of Vladimir, on the Kamenka River. Population: -History:...

, Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

 and Belozersk
Belozersk
Belozersk , known as Beloozero until 1777 , is a town and the administrative center of Belozersky District of Vologda Oblast, Russia, situated on the southern bank of Lake Beloye, from which it takes the name...

.

Rostov-Suzdal


Vladimir Monomakh, being the son of the Grand Prince of Vsevolod I
Vsevolod I of Kiev
Vsevolod I Yaroslavich , ruled as Grand Prince of Kiev from 1078 until his death.-Early life:...

 inherited the rights to the principality in 1093 AD. As the Grand Prince of Kiev he appointed his son George I the Long-Armed to rule the Northeastern lands who in 1125 moved its capital from Rostov to Suzdal
Suzdal
Suzdal is a town in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, situated northeast of Moscow, from the city of Vladimir, on the Kamenka River. Population: -History:...

 after which the Principality was referred to as Rostov-Suzdal. During the 11th and 12th centuries when southern parts of Rus' were systematically raided by Turkic nomads, their inhabitants began to migrate northward. In the formerly wooded areas, known as Zalesye
Zalesye
Zalesye or Opolye is a historical region of Russia, comprising the north and west parts of Vladimir Oblast, the north-east of Moscow Oblast and the south of Yaroslavl Oblast. As a kernel of the medieval state of Vladimir-Suzdal, this area played a vital part in the development of Russian statehood...

, many new settlements were established. The foundations of Pereslavl
Pereslavl-Zalessky
Pereslavl-Zalessky or Pereyaslavl-Zalessky , is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow on the main Moscow Yaroslavl road and on the shores of Pleschevo Lake. It was called Pereyaslavl until the 15th century. The town is located on the southeastern shore of the Lake...

, Kostroma
Kostroma
Kostroma is a historic city and the administrative center of Kostroma Oblast, Russia. A part of the Golden Ring of Russian towns, it is located at the confluence of the Volga and Kostroma Rivers...

, Dmitrov
Dmitrov
Dmitrov is a town and the administrative center of Dmitrovsky District of Moscow Oblast, Russia, located to the north of Moscow on the Yakhroma River and the Moscow Canal. Population: -History:...

, Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Yuriev-Polsky, Uglich
Uglich
Uglich is a historic town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, which stands on the Volga River. Population: A local tradition dates the town's origins to 937. It was first documented in 1148 as Ugliche Pole...

, Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

, Dubna
Dubna
Dubna is a town in Moscow Oblast, Russia. It has a status of naukograd , being home to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, an international nuclear physics research centre and one of the largest scientific foundations in the country. It is also home to MKB Raduga, a defence aerospace company...

, and many others were assigned (either by chronicle or popular legend) to George I, whose sobriquet alludes to his dexterity in manipulating the politics of far-away Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

. Sometime in 1108 Vladimir strengthened and rebuilt the town of Vladimir
Vladimir
Vladimir is a city and the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Klyazma River, to the east of Moscow along the M7 motorway. Population:...

 on the Klyazma River
Klyazma River
The Klyazma River is a river in the Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Ivanovo and Vladimir Oblasts in Russia, a left tributary of the Oka River. The length of the river is 686 kilometres. The area of its drainage basin is 42,500 km². The Klyazma River freezes up in November and stays under the ice...

, 31 km south of Suzdal. During the rule of George I the Long-Armed the principality gained its military strength and in Suzdal-Ryazan war of 1146 conquered Ryazan Principality
Ryazan Principality
The Grand Duchy of Ryazan existed from 1078 when it was separated from the Chernigov Principality as the provincial Murom Principality.-Prior to the invasion of Batu Khan:...

. Later in 1150s Yuri couple of times occupied Kiev as well. Since that time the lands of the Northeastern Rus played an important role in the politics of the Kievan Rus.

Rise of Vladimir


George's son Andrew the Pious significantly increased Vladimir's power at the expense of the nearby princely states. Andrew treated some other centres of power (such as Kiev) with contempt. After burning down Kiev (then the metropolitan seat of Rus) in 1169, he refused to accept the Kievan throne for himself, enthroning his younger brother there instead. His capital of Vladimir was for him a far greater concern, as he embellished it with white stone churches and monasteries. Andrew was murdered by boyars in his suburban residence at Bogolyubovo
Bogolyubovo
Bogolyubovo is an urban-type settlement in Suzdalsky District, Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located some north-east of Vladimir. Population: 3,900 .Bogolyubovo was once the residence of the Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky...

 in 1174.

After a brief interregnum, Andrew's brother Vsevolod III secured the throne. He continued most of his brother's policies, and once again subjugated Kiev in 1203. Vsevolod's chief enemies, however, were the Southern Ryazan Principality
Ryazan Principality
The Grand Duchy of Ryazan existed from 1078 when it was separated from the Chernigov Principality as the provincial Murom Principality.-Prior to the invasion of Batu Khan:...

, which appeared to stir discord in the princely family, and the mighty Turkic state of Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

, which bordered Vladimir-Suzdal to the east. After several military campaigns, Ryazan was burnt to the ground, and the Bulgars were forced to pay tribute.

Vsevolod's death in 1212 precipitated a serious dynastic conflict. His eldest son Konstantin
Konstantin of Rostov
Konstantin Vsevolodovich was the eldest son of Vsevolod the Big Nest and Maria Shvarnovna.In 1206 and 1207, he was the prince of Novgorod. In 1207, his father sent him to rule the towns of Rostov and Yaroslavl...

, gaining the support of powerful Rostovan boyars and Mstislav the Bold
Mstislav the Bold
Mstislav Mstislavich the Bold was one of the most popular and active princes of Kievan Rus' in the decades preceding Mongol invasion of Rus. He was the maternal grandfather of Alexander Nevsky and the prince Leo of Galicia....

 of Kiev, expelled the rightful heir, his brother George
Yuri II
Yuri II , also known as George II of Vladimir or Georgy II Vsevolodovich , was the fourth Grand Prince of Vladimir who presided over Vladimir-Suzdal at the time of the Mongol invasion of Russia.He was the third and best-loved son of Vsevolod III and Maria Shvarnovna.He first...

, from Vladimir to Rostov. Only six years later, upon Konstantin's death, did George manage to return to the capital. George proved to be a shrewd ruler who decisively defeated Volga Bulgaria and installed his brother Yaroslav in Novgorod. His reign, however, ended in catastrophe, when the Mongol hordes under Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

 took and burnt Vladimir in 1238. Thereupon they proceeded to devastate other major cities of Vladimir-Suzdal during the Mongol invasion of Russia.

Mongol yoke


Neither Vladimir, nor any other of the older cities of the principality, managed to regain the power of the Great Rus after the Mongol invasion. The principality became a vassal of the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 (later succeeded by the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

), the Grand Prince being appointed by the Great Khan. Even the popular Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

 of Pereslavl had to go to the Khan's capital in Karakorum in order to be installed as the Grand Prince in Vladimir. As many factions strove for power, the principality rapidly disintegrated into eleven tiny states: Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

, Pereslavl, Rostov
Rostov
Rostov is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, one of the oldest in the country and a tourist center of the Golden Ring. It is located on the shores of Lake Nero, northeast of Moscow. Population:...

, Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

, Uglich
Uglich
Uglich is a historic town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, which stands on the Volga River. Population: A local tradition dates the town's origins to 937. It was first documented in 1148 as Ugliche Pole...

, Belozersk
Belozersk
Belozersk , known as Beloozero until 1777 , is a town and the administrative center of Belozersky District of Vologda Oblast, Russia, situated on the southern bank of Lake Beloye, from which it takes the name...

, Kostroma
Kostroma
Kostroma is a historic city and the administrative center of Kostroma Oblast, Russia. A part of the Golden Ring of Russian towns, it is located at the confluence of the Volga and Kostroma Rivers...

, Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

, Starodub-upon-Klyazma
Starodub-on-the-Klyazma
Starodub-on-the-Klyazma was a prominent urban centre of Russian Opolye from the 12th until the 14th century. Like so many towns in the vicinity, it was named by migrating population for a southern city they came from, in this case, for Starodub in Severia. The town was located on the bank of the...

, and Yuriev-Polsky. All of them nominally acknowledged the suzerainty of the Grand Prince of Vladimir, but his effective authority became progressively weaker.

By the end of the century, only three cities — Moscow, Tver, and Nizhny Novgorod — still contended for the grand princely title. Their rulers, once installed as grand princes of Vladimir, typically chose to remain in their own cities rather than moving to Vladimir. The Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 gradually came to eclipse its rivals. When the metropolitan of all Rus
Metropolitan Peter
Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia was the Russian metropolitan who moved his see from Vladimir to Moscow in 1325. Later he was proclaimed a patron saint of Moscow. In spite of the move, the office remained officially entitled "Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'" until the...

 moved his chair from Vladimir to Moscow in 1325, it became clear that Moscow had effectively succeeded Vladimir as the chief centre of power in the north-east and the rest of the Rus.

Grand Princes of Vladimir-Suzdal


  • 1168–1174 Andrei Bogolyubsky
    Andrei Bogolyubsky
    Prince Andrei I of Vladimir, commonly known as Andrey Bogolyubsky was a prince of Vladimir-Suzdal . He was the son of Yuri Dolgoruki, who proclaimed Andrei a prince in Vyshhorod . His mother was a Kipchak princess, khan Aepa's daughter.- Life :He left Vyshhorod in 1155 and moved to Vladimir...

    , 1st Grand Prince of Vladimir, son of Yuri Dolgoruki
    Yuri Dolgoruki
    Prince Yuri I Dolgorukiy , also known as George I of Rus, was the founder of Moscow and a key figure in the transition of political power from Kiev to Vladimir-Suzdal following the death of his elder brother Mstislav the Great...

  • 1174–1176 Mikhail
    Mikhail of Vladimir
    Mikhalko Yuryevich , Prince of Torchesk , Vladimir and Suzdal and Grand Prince of Kiev ....

    , son of Yuri Dolgoruki
    Yuri Dolgoruki
    Prince Yuri I Dolgorukiy , also known as George I of Rus, was the founder of Moscow and a key figure in the transition of political power from Kiev to Vladimir-Suzdal following the death of his elder brother Mstislav the Great...

  • 1176–1212 Vsevolod the Big Nest, eleventh son of Yury Dolgoruky
  • 1212–1216 Yuri II, third son of Vsevolod the Big Nest
  • 1216–1218 Constantine I, eldest son of Vsevolod the Big Nest
  • 1218–1238 Yuri II, restored
  • 1238–1246 Yaroslav II, fourth son of Vsevolod the Big Nest
  • 1246–1249 Sviatoslav III
    Sviatoslav Vsevolodovich of Vladimir
    Sviatoslav Vsevolodovich of Vladimir was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal ....

    , sixth son of Vsevolod the Big Nest
  • 1249–1252 Andrew II
    Andrei II of Russia
    Prince Andrey II Yaroslavich was the third son of Yaroslav II who succeeded his uncle Svyatoslav III as the Grand Duke of Vladimir in 1249. Three years later, he challenged the Mongols and was ousted by them from Russia....

    , 3rd son of Yaroslav II
  • 1252–1263 Alexander Nevsky
    Alexander Nevsky
    Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

    , fourth son of Yaroslav II
  • 1264–1271 Yaroslav III, son of Yaroslav II
  • 1272–1277 Vasily of Kostroma
    Vasily of Kostroma
    Vasily Yaroslavich was a Grand Duke of Vladimir. The youngest son of Yaroslav II, he was given Kostroma by his uncle Svyatoslav III in 1246. As the eldest surviving grandson of Vsevolod III, he succeeded to Vladimir in 1272 and to Novgorod the following year. He was one of the first princes who...

    , youngest son of Yaroslav II
  • 1277–1294 Dmitri of Pereslavl, second son of Alexander Nevsky
    Alexander Nevsky
    Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

  • 1294–1304 Andrey of Gorodets
    Andrey of Gorodets
    Andrey III Alexandrovich was a Russian prince, son of Alexander Nevsky, who received from his father the town of Gorodets on the Volga. In 1276, he added Kostroma to his possessions and joined the struggle for Grand Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal.In 1281 Andrey, joining the Mongol army, expelled his...

    , son of Alexander Nevsky
    Alexander Nevsky
    Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

  • 1304–1318 Michael of Tver
    Mikhail Yaroslavich
    Mikhail Yaroslavich , also known as Michael of Tver or Michael the Saint, was a Prince of Tver who ruled as Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1304 until 1314 and again from 1315-1318...

    , second son of Yaroslav III
  • 1318–1322 Yuri of Moscow
  • 1322–1326 Dmitry of Tver
  • 1326–1327 Alexander of Tver
  • 1328–1341 Ivan I of Moscow
    Ivan I of Russia
    Ivan I Danilovich Kalita was Prince of Moscow from 1325 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1328.-Biography:Ivan was the son of Prince of Moscow Daniil Aleksandrovich....

     (Ivan the Moneybag)
  • 1341–1353 Simeon of Moscow
    Simeon of Russia
    Simeon Ivanovich Gordyi was Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir. Simeon continued his father's policies of supporting the Golden Horde and acting as its leading enforcer in Russia. Simeon's rule was marked by regular military and political standoffs against Novgorod Republic and...

     (Simeon the Proud)
  • 1353–1359 Ivan II of Moscow
    Ivan II of Russia
    Ivan II Ivanovich the Fair was the Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir in 1353. Until that date, he had ruled the towns of Ruza and Zvenigorod...

     (Ivan the Fair)
  • 1359–1362 Dmitri of Suzdal
  • 1363–1389 Dmitry Donskoy

Further reading

  • William Craft Brumfield. A History of Russian Architecture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) ISBN 9780521403337 (Chapter Three: "Vladimir and Suzdal Before the Mongol Invasion")

External links

History of Vladimir-Suzdal Principality in the Grand Soviet Encyclopedia