According to Beautyphoon, Yaroslavl is one of the pearls of the Golden Ring. The city is located on the banks of the Volga River, 282 km northeast of Moscow.
It is believed that Yaroslavl was founded in 1010 by the Kiev prince Yaroslav the Wise as a fortress to protect the Rostov land from the north. To this day, local residents tell a legend how in these places the prince hacked to death with an ax a bear – a sacred beast of the descendants of the Finno-Ugric tribes living there. Now the bear is depicted on the coat of arms of the city. Along with the development of the Volga trade route, Yaroslavl also developed in the 12th and 13th centuries. Since 1218, it has become the center of an independent principality, and its princes have received the status of the Great. In 1238, the city was ravaged and burned by the Tatar-Mongols. In 1463 Yaroslavl was annexed to the Moscow principality and became its trading center on the way to Western Europe and the East. During the Time of Troubles, when Moscow was occupied by the Poles, Yaroslavl briefly became the de facto capital of the Russian state. After the defeat of the Polish-Lithuanian interventionists, rapid construction began in the city. In the middle of the 17th century, Yaroslavl began to yield only to Moscow in terms of the occupied area and the number of inhabitants. Masons, carpenters, tanners and blacksmiths, well-known throughout the state, worked here. In 1777, during the reign of Catherine II, Yaroslavl became the center of the Yaroslavl governorship.
Today Yaroslavl – a large regional center with an extensive architectural heritage of different times.
The oldest building in the city is the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Spassky Monastery. The first mention of the Spassky Monastery dates back to 1186. It was the main city fortress and the tomb of the Yaroslavl princes. In 1609, the monastery even withstood the siege of the Polish-Lithuanian interventionists, and it was from here that in the 17th century the militia went to liberate Moscow. The original Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral was erected in 1216-1224, and the modern version of the building appeared in 1506-1516. It was a truly grand structure that could withstand any siege. There was a book depository in the Cathedral, where in the 18th century the famous manuscript “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” was discovered. The current cathedral combines elements of original Russian creativity and Western European trends. Here is the tomb of the Yaroslavl specific princes and their descendants, the monumental painting of the temple, which was carried out in the 16th century by Moscow and Yaroslavl masters by order of Ivan the Terrible, is well preserved. The frescoes of the Transfiguration Cathedral are a real work of art, they depict the Last Judgment, biblical and gospel stories, seven Ecumenical Councils, John the Baptist,
Among the buildings of the Spassky Monastery, the belfry, which was added in 1617-1619, the Holy Gates (1516), the rector’s cells (17th century) and the Church of the Yaroslavl Wonderworkers (1827-1831) made in the spirit of provincial classicism, also stand out.
Opposite the Spassky Monastery, in the place where the posad yards were once located, stands the Church of the Epiphany. It was built in 1684-1693 at the expense of the merchant Zubchaninov. The five-domed church is made of red brick. The main decoration of the temple is the murals. They were made by Yaroslavl craftsmen led by Dmitry Plekhanov and Fyodor Ignatiev. The walls of the church are covered with frescoes depicting gospel events, scenes of miraculous healings and resurrections, as well as sermons of Jesus Christ. The vaults of the temple are occupied by four huge compositions: on the eastern vault – the New Testament Trinity, on the south – the Resurrection and Descent into Hell, on the west – the Assumption of the Virgin, on the north – the Ascension.
Very beautiful church of Elijah the Prophet, which was built in the 17th century with the money of the merchants Skripins. The five-domed temple is famous for its interior decoration – all its free space is filled with murals of the late 17th century, which were carried out under the guidance of Gury Nikitin and Sila Slavin. Gospel stories, the deeds of the apostles, the life and miracles of the prophet Elijah, as well as his disciple Elisha, are considered the best mural ensemble of the 17th century. The gilded carved iconostasis of the temple is a collection of ancient icons.
Be sure to go to the ensemble of churches of St. John Chrysostom and the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God in Korovniki. It was created by Yaroslavl architects gradually in the 17-18 centuries. Church of St. John Chrysostom is the oldest of the two churches. It was built in the middle of the 17th century. In the 1680s, the facades of the church were decorated. In the decoration, rich, multi-colored architraves stand out most of all, each of which has a special pattern. At the beginning of the 18th century, under the direction of Alexei Soplyakov, frescoes were made inside the church and a baroque iconostasis was erected. The idea of creating an ensemble of churches was embodied in 1669, when the Church of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God appeared. Both temples are connected by a hipped bell tower, which stands at an equal distance from both buildings. For her height and slenderness, she was nicknamed the “Yaroslavl Candle”. Another connecting link of the ensemble is the Holy Gates, made in the Naryshkin baroque style.
Yaroslavl is the Church of John the Baptist. It was built by the inhabitants of the Tolchkovskaya settlement in the west of Yaroslavl in 1671-1687. After stone construction began in Yaroslavl in the 17th century, the Tolchkovites decided to create something extraordinary – a temple that would be different from other temples in Yaroslavl. The five-domed church of John the Baptist adjoins two symmetrical aisles, of equal height, which end with bunches of small five-domed domes. Thus, this is the only fifteen-domed cathedral in ancient Russian architecture. The painting of the temple was carried out in the 90s of the 17th century with the participation of Fyodor Ignatiev and Dmitry Plekhanov. In the interiors of the church, they captured more than 500 different subjects. The ensemble of the temple also includes a tiered baroque bell tower and the Holy Gate.
Other Yaroslavl churches are of no less interest – the temple ensemble of the Church of the Nativity of Christ (17th century), with the first church in Yaroslavl, where the heads were covered with tiled tiles, and with the Holy Gates connected into one structure, the gate church and the bell tower crowning it, the church of St. Nicholas Nadein (1620-1622) with the temple icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the church of St. Nicholas the Chopped and the ensemble of the Church of the Presentation (19th century).
Most of the buildings of Yaroslavl are under the jurisdiction of the Yaroslavl Historical, Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve, which was established in 1959. The total number of museum storage units is about 314,000. Its expositions are located in the Spassky Monastery, the Church of Elijah the Prophet, the Church of St. Nicholas Nadein, the Church of John the Baptist, the Church of the Nativity of Christ and the Church of the Epiphany.
6 km northwest of Yaroslavl in the village of Tolga above Yaroslavl along the Volga stands the Tolgsky Holy Vvedensky Monastery. It was founded in 1314 on the site of the appearance of the icon of the Mother of God. Initially, the monastery was male, later and to this day it is female. At the beginning of the 17th century, the monastery was burnt down by the Poles, and its restoration began at the end of the 17th century. The architectural center of the ensemble is the Vvedensky Cathedral (1681-1688), to the south is the Exaltation of the Cross Church with a refectory and nearby is the Church of the Savior with hospital wards. On the territory of the ensemble there is one of the oldest monuments of domestic landscape gardening art – a cedar garden, which was equipped at the end of the 17th century.
38 km northwest of Yaroslavl is the city of Tutaev, whose history begins around the 14th century. Here is one of the most ancient shrines of the Yaroslavl region – Church of the Resurrection of Christ. In this huge temple of the mid-17th century, a three-meter miraculous icon of the All-Merciful Savior is stored, as well as frescoes of the late 17th century, among which the image of the construction of the Tower of Babel stands out.