January 01, 1998


For many of its thousands of visitors, Suzan is the essence of enlightened tourist development in Russia. Bucolic, quaint, well-restored and beautifully picturesque, without the decay and disorder that often characterize farming areas in rural Russia, Suzdal seems the perfect setting of a bygone era, a community immune from the march of time.

In fact, this impression has been carefully cultivated for the sake of tourist revenue. More than one American guest has commented on the similarities between this small Russian town (population slightly over 12,000) and Colonial Williamsburg, in the state of Virginia, which also attempts to create an impression of life from the distant past on the background of a few preserved architectural monuments. To be sure, much more has survived of medieval Suzdal than of eighteenth-century Williamsburg, yet the notion of a national shrine where an illusion of the past can be preserved for masses of tourists is shared by both.

The Town that Time Forgot

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