Yaroslavl

  Yaroslavl is the largest and the most prosperous of the ancient Russian cities of the Golden Ring (in you do not count Moscow in, of course). Nowadays it\'s still an important industrial and administrative centre as well as a big transport hub. It is also major tourist destination and a \'must do it\' stop on the Volga river cruise route.

The city is said to have been founded in 1010 as an outpost of the Principality of Rostov Veliky, and was first mentioned in 1071. Capital of an independent Principality of Yaroslavl from 1218, it was incorporated into Muscovy in 1463. In the 17th century it was Russia\'s second largest city, and for a time (during the Polish occupation of Moscow in 1612), the country\'s de facto capital. The streets of Yaroslavl give you the best idea of the last five centuries of development of the Russian architecture. The most ancient building in the city is the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral of the Spassky (St Saviour) Monastery constructed in 1506—1516 on the foundations of the original edifice dating back to 13 century. It is from this monastery that an army of volunteers led by Minin and Prince Pozharsky set out to liberate Moscow from Polish invaders. In 1787, the monastery was closed and converted into a residence of the Yaroslavl and Rostov bishops.

Actually the whole skyline of Yaroslavl is dotted with church domes of various shapes and colors. One of the central streets of Yaroslavl is turned into promenade with the city musicians and artists performing here on the sunny days. Another nice walk is along the long Volga embankment where you can enjoy the view of the old churches across the great Russian river as well as see decorated mansions of rich 19 century merchants. The historical part of the city was listed by UNESCO on its World Heritage List.