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    Yaroslavl Region

History

The current borders of the Yaroslavl Region were created in 1936 and now the region includes a number of towns famous for their history and architectural ensembles (Rostov, Rybinsk, Uglich, Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, etc).

Yaroslavl was founded as a fortress-town at the beginning of the 11th century by the Prince of Kiev Yaroslavl the Wise. According to the legend he subdued the pagans by killing the sacred bear. The legend of this fight was reflected in the coat-of-arms of the city. Yaroslavl was the centre of an independent principality by the time the Tatars came. The town developed in the 16th and 17th centuries as the Volgas first port, and later grew into Russias second-biggest city of the time.

The city prospered due to its trade with the Middle East and Europe as Yaroslavl was located on the crossing of important commercial ways used by vessels loaded with goods from India and Persia sailing up the river west to the Europe. Merchants competed to build churches as big and magnificent as those of Moscow with bright decoration and frescoes on contemporary themes. In those days such masterpieces as the church of the Prophet Elijah, church of the St. John the Baptist in Tolchkovo, the majestic ensemble in Korovniki having unique frescoes were created by Yaroslavl masters of that time and got world-wide fame.

At present, Yaroslavl is an administrative centre and the largest city of the region (with the population of 650 thousand). It has an advantages geographical situation being 280 km away from Moscow and 750 km away from St. Petersburg.

Another town of the Yaroslavl region is Rostov, one of Russias oldest cities that was first chronicled in 862. Today, its a calm pretty place, 57km towards Moscow from Yaroslavl, with some magnificent old buildings magically sited by a shimmering lake. Rostov Veliky (Rostov the Great) has a much more Old Russian provincial feel than other towns of the Golden Ring. The town got its name in the 12th century when Yuri Dolgoruky established his Rostov-Suzdal principality. It became the capital and the spiritual center of the North-East Russia. A settlement called Moscow was founded on the lands of Great Rostov in 1147... By the early 13th century, the Rostov region split first from Suzdal and then into smaller pieces. The town suffered much from the Tatars invasion, and in the 16th century it was almost utterly cleared by an ambitious Orthodox Metropolitan, Iona Sysoevich, for a wonderful private Kremlin on the shore of the lake Nero.

Uglich, one more pearl of the Golden Ring, is located on the Volga River, 90km north-west of Rostov-Veliky. It was here that Ivan the Terribles son Dmitry later to be impersonated in the string of False Dmitrys in the Time of Troubles- was murdered in 1591, probably on Boris Godunovs order. At present, this a small provincial town actively visited by both Russian and foreign tourists.

Pereyaslavl-Zalessky is certainly a good place to visit if you want to get a piece of atmosphere of the old Russian village. The name of the town may be translated as Pereyaslavl Beyond the Woods, which reminds of the towns beautiful nature and peaceful pace of life. Pereyaslavl was made a town in 1152 by Yury Dolgoruky. The town survived the Tatar-Mongol York and local princes wars. Today it preserves not only its architectural heritage, but also its old atmosphere as well.

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