The town of Yuryev-Polsky is the administrative center of the Yuryev-Polsky district of the Vladimir region with a population of 18,737 people (2016). It is located 68 km northwest of Vladimir on the Koloksha River (tributary of the Klyazma).


Yuryev-Polsky is a town with an ancient history. It received the name in 1152 from its founder, Yury Dolgoruky, the son of Vladimir Monomakh. To distinguish the town of Yuryev (initially - Gyurgev or Gergev) from other creations of Yuri Dolgoruky, it received the second part of the name – "Polsky", from the word "field" ("pole" – in Russian), as it was among the fields, in the Suzdal opolye.

The location of the ancient fortress Gergev Grad (Yuryev-Polsky) was quite profitable: at the confluence of the Koloksha and Gza rivers. Rare in type, the round fortress was surrounded by mighty ramparts (up to one kilometer in length and up to 7 m high) with wooden walls. The ramparts have survived to this day. Three gaps in them indicate that there were gates leading from the fortress to three roads – to  Vladimir, Pereslavl-Zalessky and Moscow. In the center of the fortress the white-stone princely church of St. George was built. 

As a result of the violent internecine struggle between the heirs of Vsevolod III the Big Nest, the integrity of the Vladimir land was undermined. In 1212 Yuryev became the center of a small domain belonging to the son of Vsevolod III –  Svyatoslav. Prince Svyatoslav Vsevolodovich built a new St. George's Cathedral here, magnificently decorated with white stone carvings, preserved a unique beauty even today, despite numerous alterations over the centuries. During the reign of Svyatoslav Vsevolodovich in the city fortress the princely Michael-Archangel Monastery was founded in the town fortress.

Very little is known about the period of the Mongol invasion in the life of Yuryev-Polsky. But it is known that the town was ruined by the troops of the Mongol khans in 1238, 1382 and in 1408. The dynasty of the princes of Yuryev was cut short in the first half of the 14th century, and the city became the property of Moscow. In the following centuries, the Moscow princes repeatedly handed Yuryev "to feed" their foreign vassals – the Lithuanian prince Svidrigaylo in the 15th century, the Kazan khan Abdul-Letif and the Astrakhan tsarevich Kaybula in the 16th century. The development of the city was suspended.

Only from the middle of the 17th century, some economic growth of Yuryev-Polsky began. This was facilitated by the location on the Great Stromynka road connecting the city with Moscow.

Since 1778, Yuryev-Polsky became the county town of the Vladimir governorship, and since 1796 – the Vladimir province. In 1781, Yuryev was granted a coat of arms: in the upper part there was a Vladimir provincial lion, and in the lower – two baskets filled with cherries, which were abundant in these places. The historical coat of arms of Yuryev-Polsky has survived to this day.

In the county town life went slowly. There were local merchants and small industrialists, the production of fabrics and yarns was developing. By efforts of the 1st Artillery Grenadier Brigade, stationed here, a town park was founded near the eastern part of the ramparts, from which now remains only a small square with a pond. In 2002, a monument to the founder of the town, Yury Dolgoruky (sculptor I. Chernoglazov) was erected here for the 850th anniversary of Yuryev-Polsky.

The Patriotic War of 1812 left a special mark in the history of Yuryev. Prince B.A. Golitsyn, the owner of the village of Sima, near Yuryev, commanded the local militia. The legendary P.I. Bagration was brought to Sima's homestead after being wounded in the Borodino field, and on September 23, 1812, he died here.

In 1854, the Yuryev Agricultural Society was established, which, according to its charter, annually arranged exhibitions of agricultural products and industry. At these exhibitions, machines and agricultural implements were tested, competitions of plowmen and distributions of awards to hardworking and sober workers were conducted.

In 1871, a powerful fire destroyed a lot of buildings in the central part of Yuryev-Polsky – residential buildings, shopping arcades, the Introduction Monastery. After the fire, the shopping arcades were rebuilt in stone, and in 1893 the Voluntary Fire Society was established in the town with a fire depot, where amateur theatricals and dances were arranged. Festivities were held in the city garden for the orchestra of firefighters.

In the early20th century, Yuryev-Polsky counted up to 6 thousand inhabitants, there were 13 weaving factories. A women's gymnasium was opened, a real school, a higher primary school, an almshouse. In 1913, electricity was supplied to the town, it was planned to supply 80 lanterns.


The leading branches of the modern economy of Yuryev-Polsky are light and food industries, as well as machine building. The following enterprises are distinguished: the plant "Promsvyaz", which is one of the main domestic manufacturers of power supply equipment for communication enterprises; weaving and finishing factory "Avangard", which produces furniture-decorative, terrycloth and light fabrics and products made of them. The foodstuffs produced at the Yuryev-Polsky Meat Processing Plant and also at the Yuryev-Polsky Milk Factory, part of the "Opolye" Company, are very popular among the inhabitants of the Vladimir region. Another original sector of Yuryev-Polsky is horse breeding. The stud farm "Monastery Podvorye" cultivates the type of the Vladimir heavy-hauler, which differs slightly in weight and longer legs of the horses, in comparison with the representatives of the classical breed.


In the Soviet period of life, Yuryev-Polsky preserved the appearance of a county town with trade rows, merchant and philistine houses and, of course, unique monuments of antiquity. This special provincial coloring today attracts tourists and filmmakers to Yuryev-Polsky. For example, in1968, the first part of the film "The Golden Calf" was shot in the town, and  Yuryev-Polsky appeared in the role of the town of Arbatov in this film.

In 1920 in the territory of the Michael-Archangel Monastery the Yuryev-Polsky museum of local lore was founded, which later was turned into a historical-architectural and artistic museum.  In 1974-1989, the museum was a branch of the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-Reserve, and then it has acquired the status of an independent one.

Yuryev-Polsky enters the Golden Ring of Russia. Until 2010, it had the status of a historical settlement. The most famous architectural and historical monuments of the city are the St. George's Cathedral (the 13th century); the Michael-Archangel Monastery (the17th century); the remains of the shafts of the Yuryev-Polsky Kremlin of the 12th century; ensemble of the Intercession Church (the 18th century.), in which particles of relics of Prince Svyatoslav Vsevolodovich are stored, and the Nikitskaya church (the 18th century), etc.

Famous people

Many famous people were born in Yuryev-Polsky: Nikon of Radonezh (1350-1426) – the second after St. Sergius of Radonezh hegumen of the Trinity-Sergius Monastery; N.S. Fomin (1895-1987) – Soviet military leader, colonel-general of artillery, Hero of the Soviet Union; A.K. Sokolov (1941-2015) – Soviet and Russian historian, specialist in the field of source study and methodology of modern history of Russia; Roman Yakimovich (1889-1951) –Polish archaeologist.

Author: V. Korolkova