People say that if you have never traveled over the Golden Ring of Russia you have not seen real Russia. The Golden Ring is the ring of eight cities northeast of Moscow: Sergiev-Posad, Pereslavl-Zalesky, Rostov Veliky, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Suzdal and Vladimir. These ancient towns, which also played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church, preserve the memory of the most important and significant events in Russian history. The founder of this route is a Soviet journalist Yuriy Bychkov who made a journey through all these cities in October 1967. But Yuriy Bychkov was absolutely forgotten as the author. While his route became a touristic brand of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union that tried to reduce the value and importance of Orthodox religion and destroyed a lot of churches and monasteries all over the country.

I have followed the Golden Ring to the 50th anniversary of this route. I was curious how much life in these cities has changed in a half of the century and how it looks like today. I have passed 850 kilometres capturing life and traditions of ordinary people at this picturesque and ancient area of Russia.