Kostroma region: the legends of Russian crafts

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Main facts:

  • Administrative center: Kostroma

  • Federal District: Central

  • Language(s): Russian

  • Population: 637 296

  • Timezone: UTC+3

  • Main religion: Orthodoxy, Islam

Top 10 attractions:

Sights map of Kostroma region

Travel around Kostroma region

Woe to the traveler who does not know about the region as much as possible before gets there. It is not just about transport logistics, local sights and folk crafts, but in many ways about the ancient history of the region. No matter what place a traveler takes, he can be sure - it hides in itself deep antiquity, full of mysterious and large-scale events that created it in its current form. In pursuit of sights and fast rush in an attempt to “embrace the immense”, many tourists lose sight of the history of the place they see, although it fills the place with a deep meaning and content that makes up the strongest impression. Over time, when the trip will be only in photos and in a set of fragmentary scenes, it is strong impressions that will create the tales, which can be told again and again.

It so happened that my trip to Kostroma was largely spontaneous. Sunny warm weather, which in the near future will turn into rains and cold, beckoned to get out of the stifling metropolis into a fresh nature. And my endless curiosity and desire to see new places showed me the direction - to Kostroma. I have already been to the neighboring Yaroslavl and Ivanovo regions, and therefore Kostroma became the goal of my small trip. Small, because there was an opportunity to get out only for the weekend, and the Kostroma region is not so far from Moscow, which made it possible not to spend a lot of time and money on the way there. Quickly collecting a backpack and buying a train ticket, I went to explore the land "on the other side of the Volga" (from Moscow, of course).

Arriving in Kostroma, my first impression was as follows: "how clean it is here!" Indeed, Kostroma impresses with its purity and tidiness. It can be seen that the city is well looked after, and the locals follow the order of no less than the city authorities. This concerns not only wide streets and boulevards, lined with green trees and flowers, but also ancient wooden and stone buildings, many of which are examples of ancient Russian art. Walking along Sovetskaya Street (and this is almost the very center of the city), it is impossible not to draw attention to single-storied houses standing close to each other, painted in pastel colors. Sometimes they are interspersed with creative Soviet buildings (see the Philharmonic building) and modern shopping centers, but most of them still carry the spirit of an old merchant city. The streets of Tchaikovsky, Dzerzhinsky and Sovetskaya Square are examples of Russian architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries, which are perfectly preserved to this day.

Moving closer to the center of Kostroma, you will surely meet the Central Park along the way. Once in its place stood a huge Kremlin, which served to protect the entire Kostroma principality from robberies and raids of enemies from neighboring principalities. It was repeatedly burned and rebuilt, but was remained in a single ensemble of walls and churches until 1934, when the continued struggle of Soviet officials against religion led to the complete destruction of the Kremlin. Today, only small cores of the walls remind of the once large fortress over Kostroma; there are also attempts to restore the historic cathedral. And the history of Kostroma itself goes into deep antiquity, when Yuri Dolgorukyi mastered his possessions in the north of Russia. According to legend, it was he who in 1152 laid the foundations of the future city. Throughout history, the Rurik family was closely associated with Kostroma, thanks in large part to the redistribution of disputed territories and military actions with neighboring Vladimir-Suzdal and Rostov principalities. The ancient city of Galich, which according to some sources is even older than Kostroma, was another stronghold of the Russian people in these wild wooded lands and at one time had its own specific principality, but failed during the struggle with the Moscow principality. Since then, both the Kostroma and Galich principalities were annexed to Moscow and existed under its administration until the collapse of the Russian Empire.

Beginning from the 13th and 14th centuries, several Orthodox monasteries were erected in the environs of Kostroma, among which the Ipatievsky Monastery stands out. Huge fortress walls with a high cathedral inside, which repeatedly participated in the battles and played a significant role during the events of the Time of Troubles. The attack of the Polish-Lithuanian interventionists under the leadership of Pan Lisowsky strongly ruined these lands, but it was the local people who rebelled against them and triumphantly captured the Ipatievsky Monastery where the enemies was sat. Local resident Ivan Susanin saved Tsar Mikhail Romanov from the Polish-Lithuanian detachment during the Russo-Polish War here. It was in the Ipatievsky Monastery in 1613 that Tsar Mikhail Romanov was crowned, and thus Kostroma became the “cradle” of the royal and imperial Romanov dynasty. And Ivan Susanin became a national hero, to whom the most beautiful square of Kostroma is dedicated (not to Lenin, not to the Soviet people, but to Susanin!). Since then, the rapid development and prosperity of this region began.

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By the middle of the 17th century, Kostroma became the third handicraft city of Russia after Moscow and Yaroslavl in its economic development and the number of inhabitants. Here there were many industrial enterprises, among which were textile, leather, soap-making, silver and icon-painting production. Kostroma craftsmen were known far outside the country, and their jewelry, linen textiles and iconography became the basis of the region’s cultural heritage. For these Russian crafts, tourists come from all over the country!

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After the reforms of Peter the Great, Kostroma literally changed. When the wooden city once again burned down in 1779, it was decided to rebuild it according to the general plan, as a result Kostroma acquired the current look. From the central Susaninskaya Square, where the royal palace, the fire tower, the garrison of soldiers and the provincial administration were located, the main alleys and streets diverged in rays. On the banks of the Volga, a pier was built and the Moscow outpost, which in 1767 hosted by Catherine the Great. She arrived in Kostroma on her gallery “Tver” and established the coat of arms of Kostroma with its image, which still here today. At the same time, one of the largest linen manufactories in Russia was founded in Kostroma, which continues to operate to this day. All the royal personages continued to visit Kostroma over the next two centuries, paying tribute to the memory of ancestors and the feat of Ivan Susanin. No wonder that this became a stumbling block for the Bolsheviks, who sought to destroy all the memory of the country's royal heritage. What they began to do after the establishment of their power in the new country.

In the 1930s, the Stone Kremlin was destroyed in Kostroma along with an ensemble of Orthodox churches. Earlier, a monument to Ivan Susanin was demolished, and the square was renamed to the Revolution Square. The Ipatievsky Monastery, which played such a significant role in the history of the city and the Romanov dynasty, has survived in a surprising way, although it has also suffered greatly. However, linen manufacture and many other factories continued to operate here, the city was gradually built up with stone buildings, and trade and craftsmanship did not stop for a minute. The Eastern Front did not affect the city, and therefore it has perfectly preserved its ancient merchant look, which you can admire today. Large-scale shopping arcades, a complex of buildings on Susaninskaya Square, the palaces of the Romanov Tsars and old wooden tower-rooms...for this, it is worth visiting Kostroma.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said about other cities and settlements in the Kostroma region. Mainly supported by the efforts of local residents, the ancient cities of Galich, Chukhloma and Sharya are a bit old, but soulful sincerity. There are practically no architectural sights and cultural heritage that could be admired here. Most people are leaving to work in Kostroma, and residents of distant villages lead their own lives. However, the Kostroma land has always been famous for craftsmen who are willing to spend their lives on the work that brings them inspiration. They are the salt of the land of Kostroma who decorates it and creates a basis for admiration. If you visit the wooden terems in Astashovo and Pogorelovo, if you see the stone walls of the Gorodetsky and Galichsky monasteries or stroll through the places of the feat of Ivan Susanin, then you will feel the whole atmosphere of these places.

Woe to the traveler who does not know about the region as much as possible before gets there. History, attractions and folk traditions - now you know enough to see the most beautiful and interesting places in the region. Kostroma region is about the conquest of wildlife, the art of folk crafts and the legendary Russian wooden architecture. For this it is worth coming here!

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