The City of Vladimir is one of the oldest Russian communities. It is located in the heart of the historic Vladimir region 180 kilometers (115 miles) northeast of Moscow on the bank of the Klyazma River.
In the past, such names as Vladimit-on-Klyazma and Vladimir-Zalessky were also used, as there was one more ancient city of Vladimir in the South-Western Rus' - in present Volyn region of Ukraine.
In 1108, Vladimir Monomakh began strengthening the city as it was a bordering city of Rostov-Suzdal principality. Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky made the city more flourishing. He transferred the capital to Vladimir in 1157. In Vladimir and neighboring Suzdal school of painting was founded; there was chronicle writing in the city.
In 1238, Vladimir was besieged and taken by the Mongol hordes under Batu Khan. The city never recovered fully. Though it remained the principality's capital for a century, Vladimir gradually lost its political and cultural significance to Moscow. Until the middle of 15th century, Vladimir was the official capital of North-Eastern Russia, but the actual government worked in Moscow.
Vladimir continued to be a provincial capital. It gradually grew in size due to its advantageous location in the middle of Central Russia. The development of the city was enhanced by the construction of the Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod railroad in the late 19th century.
Presently, Vladimir is a partially industrialized city, although the historical centre remains almost untouched since the beginning of 20th century. In 1992, Vladimir was included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Vladimir is now considered one of the major members of the Golden Ring of communities which have played a significant role in Russian history.
Tourists from all over the world travel to Vladimir to enjoy its vibrant culture and its rich religious and secular historic architecture.