The pearl of «the Gold ring of Russia» is the city Yaroslavl located on the bank of the river Volga where the small river Kotorosl falls into it. The city was founded in 1010 by prince Yaroslav the Wise and named in his honour. The ancient legend tells that an ancient pagan settlement replaced modern Yaroslavl. Yaroslav with his army conquered it, split the pagan image of a bear and founded the city-fortress. Another legend tells that prince killed alive bear on this place. Anyway, one can see the image of a bear at the city’s emblem nowadays.
Capital of apanage princedom
Hundred years later after being founded, Yaroslavl became the capital of apanage princedom. It quickly expanded and became popular as one of the leading cultural centers of Ancient Russia. During this period Spasskiy Monastery with one of the first in Russia stone temples - the Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral, was founded. Its walls replaced fortifications of the Kremlin to inhabitants of Yaroslavl for a long time.
Nobody knows what power would have been reached by Yaroslavl but for the Tatar-Mongolian invasion. Brave town-dwellers fought to aggressors on the opposite bank of the river Kotorosl, but were defeated and the city was destroyed and burnt down in 1238. Survived people started gradually to restore fortifications and the houses. In 1380 the Yaroslavl soldiers fought for the native land in the Kulikovskaya Battle; in 1463 the Yaroslavl princedom was added to Moscow.
The economic and cultural development
In the 16th century the important trading road passed through the city. It connected Moscow and Arkhangelsk where the trading ships from the Western Europe came to. Yaroslavl became the terminal point. The goods initially were delivered to Yaroslavl, and then were carried to Moscow by overland or to Nizhni Novgorod across the Volga River. Due to such favourable position, Yaroslavl became large trading and craft city. It was situated on the second place concerning of the size and the number of population in Russia. The stone construction began throughout the city and the own architectural schools and directions appeared.
At the beginning of the 17th century the inhabitants of Yaroslavl took part in levy en masse and set free Moscow from the Polish-Lithuanian aggressors. During this period Yaroslavl for a short time became the capital of the Russian state. «Council of all the land», namely the all-Russian government, was gathered here.
The seventeenth century became the time of cultural and arts development in Yaroslavl. During this period in the city remarkable monuments of architecture, history and painting were created. Among them it is interesting to note Church of St. Nicolas "Nadein", the Nativity church, The Church of Elijah the Prophet, The church of St. John Chrysostom and many others. The majority of cathedrals were covered inside by a skilful painting; iconostases are decorated by carved motifs, and facades – by irrigated tiles which were very popular in the 17th century.
Yaroslavl within the 18th-20th centuries
After St.-Petersburg’s being founded the economic and cultural role of Yaroslavl in a life of the country noticeably decreased. He ceased to play a role of the important terminal point on a way from Moscow to Arkhangelsk because the West-European ships began to come into harbors of new ports - Kronshtadt and Petersburg. In the 18th century Yaroslavl, as well as many other cities, received the regular plan of building. Central Elijnskaya Square and wide straight diverging from it in all directions streets appeared here.
In the middle of the 18th century in Yaroslavl the well-known theatre which became the first all over Russia public theatre was opened. It was founded by talented actor Feodor Volkov. In the 19th century Yaroslavl turned into a usual provincial city, one of the majorities all over Russia, with the population of no more than hundred thousand people. Within this period in the city there was a unique atmosphere of patriarchal character and olden time.
Socio-political disturbances of the 20th century’s beginning reflected also on a quite Yaroslavl. In 1918 there was White Guard mutiny which was scotched by the Soviet Power. Next decades the city became the large industrial centre. The synthetic rubber works, automobile factory, oil refinery, asbestine, tyre works and many other factories opened here.
Now Yaroslavl is an administrative centre of the Yaroslavl region. It is located at the distance of less than three hundred kilometers from Moscow. About 613 thousand people live in the territory of 143 square kilometers. The city is the large transport centre. The city has two railway stations, road service station, the airport, river station. Machine-building, petrochemical, oil refining, building, light and the food-processing industries develop here. In the city ten Institutes of Higher Education operate. The Yaroslavl quay is one of the most beautiful quays of the river Volga. The attractive view opens from this place, that’s why it is one of favourite places of walks of the citizens.
Yaroslavl retains historical and cultural traditions of the old past. In 80-90th years of the 20th century many remarkable monuments of architecture and history, creating in the city the unique atmosphere, were restored. Numerous museums acquaint with the history of the Yaroslavl edge, the best patterns of decorative national-applied art, collections of the most ancient hand-written books, icons, fine plastic arts and even candy wrappers of the Yaroslavl confectionery factories are kept here.
But the main value of Yaroslavl is a unique calm and benevolent atmosphere and the unique architecture created by monuments of the 17th-19th centuries.