suzdal’s ogurets obsession

suzdal russiaBased on the amount of vodka consumed in Russia, you can be excused for thinking everything is pickled! But there happens to be a special vegetable preserve that is celebrated each summer, as Intrepid’s Rachel Wasser explains…

“Entering Suzdal, in Moscow’s Golden Ring and just three hours from the capital, is like stepping back in time. Our Taste of Russia trip visits this unique city and helps convey a totally different image of Russia than any of the bigger cities like Moscow or St Petersburg.

Suzdal is definitely more like a village with its central market square filled with babushkas (Russian grandmothers), selling tomatoes, cucumbers and mead, the famous local drink. Thirty onion-domed churches dot the landscape and fill the city with clanging bells. The Trans-Siberian railway bypasses this village, stopping instead in Vladimir about thirty minutes away. The result is a Suzdal untouched by the normal development and visitors are free to wander through the hilly landscape, down dirt paths and over bridges by the winding river. A city tour reveals some hidden gems like the wooden architecture museum, that includes churches and houses built from only wood, no nails! Next would be a stop at one of the cities many monasteries and convents, finishing at the stunning blue-domed, gold star-studded Kremlin.

In July, Suzdal hosts their annual festival dedicated to the humble cucumber, or ogurets as they are known locally. It is a perfect event to experience ancient traditions and, of course, try their famous cucumbers and pickles! What better way to spend a lazy summer afternoon than strolling the provincial streets and mingling with the local vegetable sellers!”

Tour Russia with Intrepid on trips like this great small group adventure:
A Taste of Russia – 8 days

* photo by Rachel Wasser

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll read about Sue's travel experiences, find helpful travel advice and she loves sharing great tales from Intrepid travellers.


Suzdal is certainly one of the most magical places I’ve been to in Russia! The first time I was there was in the middle of winter. Minus 22 but blue skies and sunshine shining on the snow. I was mesmerised by all the ancient churches and winding lanes that I wandered around for a good few hours before realising that I was in fact freezing cold. A lovely bowl of borsch and a cup of tea with local honey in a charming little cafe I found soon warmed me up. A truly stunning part of Russia!

We were lucky to arrive in beautiful Suzdal on Cucumber day in July 2009 with our Intrepid group and enjoyed joining in the many festivities. The local craft people had wares on display & for sale, including a wonderful quilters area, with ladies dressed in colourful traditional dress. Horses were also dressed in their finest and were available for riding or taking people for decorated sulky rides. We strolled around the town and over the bridge to the reconstructed old village museum area where examples of the timber churches and old village homes were open for exhibit. The animals and geese wandering around enhanced the experience. A tavern presented folk singing and dancing and recreations of sword fighting. We sat in the lovely soft green grass & watched. The river was warm and surprisingly deep. We were later told Suzdal had been a village on a thriving boat trading route in years long gone. I had a swim with the many locals. Other folk were taking to the water in row boats. What wonderful memories and photos we have of charming Suzdal.

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