The cathedral was built by order of Prince Vsevolod the Big Nest It was erected in honor of the birth of Vsevolod's son Dmitri.
The cathedral is built of white-stoned blocks. Outside it has a refined, truly imperial decor of fifteen hundred carved stones. The temple seems to be covered with the finest lace. The carved pattern adheres to one idea: the glorification of the beauty and perfection of the universe created according to the laws of harmony.
The central figure of the carved ornament is Tsar David seated on the throne surrounded by animals, birds, plants, fantastic beasts, saints, and horsemen. He blesses every living thing on earth.
The facades are ornate with figures of lions, eagles, swans, ounces, and deer. There are as well some fairy-tale personages and characters of pagan myths.
At the end of the 12th century, the cathedral was embellished with murals. Eminent Russian and Greek masters were involved in painting. The frescoes have survived but in a fragmentary state.