Vladimir is a city on the Klyazma River, 180 kilometres north-east of Moscow – it's the administrative centre of Vladimir Region, which has over 350,000 inhabitants. Vladimir is one of the most-visited towns on the 'Golden Ring' tourist route. The city and surrounding towns are famous for the unique examples of medieval Russian architecture.
- In its long history, Vladimir has been a capital of ancient Russia.
- In medieval times, the city's Golden Gates – the main architectural attraction of the city – were, quite literally, gilded with gold. However, during the 13th-century invasions by the Tatar-Mongolian forces, the gold was stolen, and never recovered.
- Vladimir's location east of the main battlefront in WW2 made it a major centre for evacuation – with 18 evacuation hospitals opening in the city, and residents caring for wounded soldiers by donating over 40,000 litres of blood.
- Vladimir gained notoriety for its legendary prison, Vladimir Central – where particularly violent prisoners were held. One of the world's toughest prisons, it prides itself that in all its years since being founded in the 18th century, there's never been a successful jailbreak.
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The city of Vladimir was founded its namesake, Vladimir II Monomakh. In those early times it was an important centre of political life and Russian Orthodox Christianity in Medieval Russia.
For two centuries (from 1243 until 1389) Vladimir was the capital of the state. The Grand-Princes of Russia were crowned in its cathedrals. The city's name was glorified by Grand-Princes such as Andrei Bogolubski, Vsevolod III and military leaders such as Alexander Nevsky.
During the Soviet era, industrial plants were built in Vladimir, which continue to play an important role in Russia's economic life – a Chemicals Plant, and Russia's largest factory producing car instruments.
A quite different fame came to Vladimir due to its famous prison, founded in the 1780s. Numerous famous prisoners were held there, including Josef Stalin's son.
Today, Vladimir is known for its number of medieval buildings, many of which are architectural monuments in the UNESCO World Heritage Listings. These include the St Dmitry Cathedral, the Assumption Cathedral, and the Golden Gates of Vladimir.