5 Cities of the Russian North You Must Visit

Our list, of course, does not claim to be complete. In addition to the northern cities named in it, it is worth visiting Kargopol, and Belozersk, and Kologriv, and Cherepovets, and Kirillov, and many other amazingly beautiful cities of the Russian North. We are talking about several places from which you can begin your acquaintance with this extraordinary land.


1. Veliky Ustyug

450 km north-east of Vologda, the Sukhona and Yug rivers merge to form the Malaya Severnaya Dvina. The places are attractive, strategically advantageous: you have taken control of the river - and you keep the entire trade route in your fist! It is not without reason that it was here, on the right bank of the Sukhona, at the mouth of the Yug River on a hill that Prince Vladimir Vsevolod the Big Nest founded the city of Gleden. Ustyug arose a little later, four miles from Gleden, which was mercilessly washed away by the river. The other bank of the Sukhona has already been chosen for the new city.

And Ustyug became Great only in the 16th century, during its heyday. According to the popular version, Ivan the Terrible, seeing how the northern city blossomed, hastened to include it in his oprichnina, and now Veliky Ustyug began to allocate funds from his earned money for the sovereign's everyday life.

The history of Veliky Ustyug is so confused and eventful that you cannot immediately figure out where to start the story. There are also numerous wars and civil strife: Novgorodians, Dvinyans, Kargopolians, Volga Bulgars, Kazan Tatars and various other troops, tribes and peoples over the centuries clashed with the Ustyuzhans in this place, tried to recapture the city, take control of it, besieged, stormed, surrendered back and again came under its walls - a very convenient place in a strategic sense. Here are the fate of the brave Ustyug merchants who made campaigns to Siberia, traded with England, Holland, Persia, and even China. Here are the spiritual exploits of the great Ustyug saints, for example, Procopius of Ustyug and Cyprian of Ustyug.

But what about the "patrimony of Santa Claus"? We remember this main brand of Veliky Ustyug today, but we go to the city to see not only the New Year's tower, but also the Cathedral Courtyard, the Cathedral of Procopius Ustyug, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sukhona embankment, the Mikhailo-Arkhangelsk Monastery, the Spaso ensemble -Preobrazhenskaya and Sretenskaya-Transfiguration churches, Trinity-Gledensky monastery and many more churches, museums and monuments ...

We read about Veliky Ustyug without Santa Claus - which many people in vain do not know about the extraordinary northern city.

2. Vologda

For those who have not been here, Vologda seems to be a quiet northern province: a carved palisade, bobbin cups with white lace ... But all this, as they say, is on the surface. In fact, this city is not so simple. It is enough to remember that during the time of Ivan the Terrible Vologda almost became ... the capital of Russia!

Yes, yes, Ivan Vasilyevich, fearing the capital's traitors and troublemakers, was thinking of moving to a successful, rich, actively trading with Europe Vologda and even started a grandiose construction here: the Vologda Kremlin is twice the size of Moscow, the Assumption Cathedral of St. Sophia modeled on the Moscow Assumption Cathedral, and so on. more ... Not completed. Either there was not enough money, or the pestilence prevented, or the Poles could not agree with the British ...

Vologda did not become the oprichnina capital. But the cathedral was completed! The Vologda Kremlin, however, was burned during the Troubles, then ours were rebuilt again, and again - a fire, nothing remained of the wooden fortress ... And yet Vologda is full of sights! Judge for yourself: the Kremlin (St. Sophia Cathedral, the Bishop's Court, the bell tower), the Lace Museum, the House-Museum of Peter I, the Zasetsky House, many churches, including the Alexander Nevsky Church, the Church of Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Temple of the Presentation of the Lord, the Church of Dimitri Prilutsky, the Church of Constantine and Helena, the Nativity Cathedral, the Resurrection Cathedral, the Church of St. John Chrysostom, monuments, the embankment ...

In general, the list turns out to be so long that we simply recommend you our separate material about what to see in the Vologda region (yes, not only the city itself, but the entire Vologda land is a treasure trove for a traveler).

We also advise you to learn more about the legendary carved palisade, blackened silver and three more interesting features of the Vologda region.

3. Totma

This old town with a population of only 10 thousand people is a real pearl of the Russian North. Totma is one of the twelve most beautiful distinctive historical Russian cities outside the Golden Ring!

The old layout and buildings have been preserved here. Here, on the banks of the Sukhona River, there are unique landscapes. Here you can admire the unique airy, patterned style of cathedrals-"ships" and visit the museum of totem sailors - and this is in a city from which hundreds of kilometers to the sea!

All in all, if you haven't already convinced you to go there, here is a complete list of good reasons to do it.

By the way, on the coat of arms of Totma there is an American black fox, which is ... not found in Russian forests! How did it end up on the coat of arms? Explained here.

4. Arkhangelsk

Everyone knows that the Russian navy was created by Peter I. But where did the reformer tsar recruit the craftsmen who assembled the first Russian combat sailing ships? Where did you find carpenters-shipbuilders? Where long before Peter there were shipyards and wharves for strong, reliable merchant and fishing vessels? .. In Arkhangelsk! The city, which was called the northern sea gate of Russia.

In 1584, at the Mikhailo-Arkhangelsk monastery, founded by the Novgorodians near the mouth of the Northern Dvina, a large fortress and a pier was built by the order of Ivan the Terrible, at first called Novokholmogory, and later - the Arkhangelsk city. Foreign merchants quickly appreciated the convenient location of the new port of the Muscovite kingdom, and moved from Western Europe to the new city of Arkhangelsk, trading caravans of ships. And our merchant ships moved along the Russian rivers here, to Arkhangelsk. They brought us their "thalers" - silver, and we sold them timber and bread, blubber and honey, wax and bacon, tar and hemp ... Well, furs, of course.

This is how the history of the glorious northern city began, in which there will later be many more heroic and tragic episodes. We advise you to find out about the main ones in our material.

What to see in Arkhangelsk today? Novodvinskaya fortress of the 18th century. Monuments to Lomonosov and Peter the Great. Church of the Assumption, St. Elias Cathedral, All Saints Church .. Visit Russia's oldest Regional Museum of Local Lore and the Literary Museum. And of course, the unique museum of wooden architecture "Malye Korely" is a must-see.

5. Vyatka

Khlynov, Vyatka, Kirov - this city changed its names and inhabitants. On these hilly banks of the Vyatka River, pagan Meryan tribes once lived, then the Novgorod river pirates-ushkuiniks settled, then they were dispersed and the city was settled with peaceful traders. Representatives of many peoples peacefully coexist here - Mari, Tatars, Udmurts, Russians ... There were great battles and great holidays, tragedies and discoveries on this land ... Disgraced nobles, poets and writers were exiled to Vyatka ... In general, life here in all ages boiled.

Today in Vyatka there is something to see. And here are at least 7 reasons to walk in and around the ravines of Vyatka.

Source: foma.ru (Russian)

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