The Church of St. Boris and St. Gleb

Four kilometres east from Suzdal, in the village of Kideksha, you can find one of the earliest examples of Vladimir and Suzdal limestone architecture – the church of St Boris and St. Gleb. Over the course of one year, 1152, Prince Yuri Dolgoruky of Suzdal built a number of churches in various towns in his vast domain, including this one. It is possible that the church of St. Boris and St. Gleb was the centre of the prince’s residence, surrounded by earthen ramparts and wooden walls.

The austere simplicity of the church of St. Boris and St. Gleb is striking. Its cube-shaped main body with solid apses is built out of perfectly hewn limestone slabs. The plain structures are almost devoid of carved decorations. A band of blind arcading and modestly decorated portals are the only details to interrupt the simplicity of the architecture.

Nowadays the church of St. Boris and St. Gleb belongs to the Vladimir and Suzdal Museum. In 1992 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Recent archaeological excavations yielded phenomenal results: fragments of 12th-century frescoes were unveiled below the floor level, and a unique 12th-century omphalus—the only one in Russia—was found. Visiting this church—one of the oldest in Russia—is like traveling back in time.

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