Alexandrov (Aleksandrov) was established in the mid-14th century and was known as Alexandrovskaya Sloboda. Today, it has a special place amongst the eminent historical and cultural sights in Russia and included in its Golden Ring route. Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda became well-known and prosperous in the turbulent 16th century – the time when Russia established itself as the largest European power, the time of the reign of Ivan IV Vasilyevich (1530 - 1584), commonly known as Ivan the Terrible. Here more than anywhere, in the unique 16th century palace-temple ensemble that make up “Akexandrovskaya Sloboda”, and the amazing museum that was created within its wall, people reflect on the first Russian Tsar and the brightest page in the History of the Russian state.
Ivan the Terrible visited here regularly over 17 years, and he made Sloboda the uncrowed capital of Russia, and accomplished work here that amazed and astounded enlightened Europe. Sloboda became the heart of entire social and political life in the middle of 16th century, and the place where important decisions were made, and where the lands of Russia were united and the Russian empire was formed.
It served as the capital of Russia for three months (from December 1564 to February 1565) under Tsar Ivan the Terrible until he agreed to return his court and the relics of Moscow which he had taken with him. Ivan agreed to return after the church gave him permission to found the Oprichnina. It was granted town status in 1778.
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