The city was founded in 1024 as a fortress town, it developed from the 11th to 12th cent. as an important city of the grand duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal and a political and religious center of Russia. In the early 13th cent. it became the capital of the Suzdal principality, but it was destroyed by the Mongols under Batu Khan in 1238 and never recovered its importance. In 1451, Suzdal passed to the grand duchy of Moscow. Landmarks include an ancient Kremlin with a cathedral and a monastery, a 17th-century bell tower, and bishops' palaces from the 15th to 18th cent.