THE GOLDEN RING OF RUSSIA
poetic pages have been devoted to Yaroslavl, to the city's inimitable
architecture, the heroic past of the city and its famous craftsmen and
stone-masons, potters and blacksmiths, painters and sculptors. They created the
numerous churches each one of which immerses the contemporary visitors with
striking and original beauty. This city developed a splendid culture of its own
which merited its place in the history of Russia along with ancient Kiev,
Novgorod and Moscow.
Yaroslavl is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia on the banks of the
Yaroslavl is another ancient town well known for its 16th and 17th
century architectural monuments. The name of the city is associated with many legends and historical events. It was founded in 1010 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise and was named
Yaroslavl is the birth place of outstanding people of Russia such as Fyodor Volkov, the founder of Russian national theater, and Valentina Tereshkova,
the world's first woman cosmonaut.
Yaroslavl today is a large city, but the original and extremely picturesque
corners of the ancient Yaroslavl are still preserved. The entire panorama of the
Kotorosl embankment consists of a chain of magnificent, unique churches
culminating in the monumental and majestic ensemble of the white-stone
Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery behind which rises the fine red-brick silhuette
od the Church of the Apparition of Christ which its iridescent tile decorations.
The ancient Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery now houses one of the most extensive
museums of early Russian architecture, icon painting, ethnography and folk arts.
The visitors enjoy wonderful 16th-18th century frescoes in the 12th century Monastery of the Transfiguration. The Prophet Elijah Church, which is a real masterpiece of old Russian architecture, is particularly impressive.
A visit to the museum in Yaroslavl is highly recommended. The museum houses
a rich collection of crafts and artifacts and unique icons painted in the 16th to
the 19th centuries.
SIGHTS OF INTEREST
- Monastery & Around. The white walls and towers of the Monastery
of the Transfiguration of the Saviour (Spaso-Preobrazhensky monastyr)
front Bogoyavlenskaya ploshchad. Founded in the 12th century, this was one
of Russia's richest and best fortified monasteries by the 16th century.
The oldest surviving structures, dating from 1516 but heavily altered since
then, are the Holy Gate (Svyatye vorota) on the river side - where
the modern entrance is -and the central Cathedral of the Transfiguration
(Preobrazhensky sobor), which is under restoration.
Entry to the grounds is free but there are charges for a number of museums
and exhibitions within. The best of these is devoted to old icons and crafts
(Drevnerusskoe i narodno - prikladnoe iskusstvo). The most exciting thing to
do here is climb the bell tower (zvonnitsa) for a panorama of the
city and a close-up view of the amazing spiked gold bulbs that top some of
the monastery buildings.
Also off Bogoyavlenskaya ploshchad is the vaulted, red-brick 17th century
Church of the Epiphany (Tserkov Bogoyavlenia). It has bright exterior
ceramic tiles (a Yaroslavl speciality) and a carved iconostasis. The
square's central statue of Yaroslav the Wise (Pamyatnik Yaroslavu
Mudromu) was unveiled in 1993 by President Yeltsin of Russia and President
Kravchuk of Ukraine.
Along Pervomayskaya ulitsa, past the 19th century Trading Arcades (Gostiny
Dvor), is the Znamenskaya Watchtower (Znamenskaya bashnya), built in
1658 on what was then the edge of the city.
- Church of Elijah the Prophet. This church (Tserkov Ilyi Proroka),
on Sovietskaya ploshchad in the center of the old town, has some of the
Golden Ring's brightest frescoes, by the ubiquitous Gury Nikitin of
Kostroma and his school. Dating, like the church, from the 17th century,
they depict religious and secular scenes in realistic style.
- River Embankments. The Volga and Kotorosi embankments from the
Church of Elijah the Prophet back to the Transfiguration Monastery make an
enjoyable 1.5km walk. A pedestrian promenade runs along the bank of the
Volga below the level of the street, Volzhskaya naberezhnaya.
From the Church of Elijah the Prophet, head towards the river on Narodny
pereulok. Here, the Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Worker (Tserkov Nikoly
Nadeina) was the first of Yaroslavl's stone merchant churches, built in
1622. It has a sparkling baroque iconostasis and frescoes showing the life
and works of this St Nicholas, who's highly popular among Russians.
Just south at Volzhskaya naberezhnaya 23, facing the Volga, is the old
Governor's Mansion that now houses the Yaroslavl Art Museum (Yaroslavsky
Khudozhestvenny Muzey), with 18th to 20th century Russian art. The House of
Matveev (Dom Matveeva) on Sovietsky pereulok, built in the late 18th
century, is one of several merchants' town houses still standing in the
blocks near the embankment. A little farther along the embankment are the
Volga Bastion (Volzhskaya bashnya), built as a watchtower in the 1660s,
a fine early 19th century church, and the 17th century former Metropolitan's
Chambers (Mitropolyichyi Palaty) housing the old Yaroslavl art section of
the Art Museum, with icons and other work from the 13th to 19th
In the leafy park behind the museum is a stone-slab monument marking
the spot where Yaroslav founded the city in 1010. The park stretches right
out onto the tip of land between the Volga and the Kotorosi. Above the
Kotorosi you can discern raised embankments indicating the site of
Yaroslavl's old kremlin. Also along here are three more 17th century
- South of the Kotorosi. Two 17th century churches south of the
Kotorosi River are well worth searching out. In the settlement of Korovniki,
picturesquely Placed on the south side of the mouth of the Kotorosi, is the
summer Church of St John Chrysostom (Tserkov loanna Zlatousta), an elegant
conglomeration of domes, brick towers and dazzling tilework. Next to it are
a winter church, and a bell tower called 'the Candle of Yaroslavl'.
Also south of the Kotorosi is the unique, 15-domed Church of St John the
Baptist (Tserkov loanna Predtechi), with intricate brick and tile work.
PAGES OF OUR PICTURE ALBUM