Yaroslal is considered the most important stop on the so-called 'Golden Ring' tourist route. From ancient times, its location at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosl Rivers made it a rich and powerful trading centre. Modern Yaroslavl has a population of over 600,000 people. The historic centre of Yaroslavl is protected by UNESCO World Cultural Heritage listings.

Fascinating facts

  • Yaroslavl is named after its ancient founder, Russian Grand-Prince Yaroslav the Wise. The city sights are depicted on modern 1000-rouble banknotes.
  • Yaroslavl counts its nightingales, in an annual census. In 2010 the count totalled 900 pairs of these songbirds.
  • Yaroslavl is the birthplace of Russian theatre. The Fyodor Volkov Drama Theatre was founded in 1750 – by Russia's first professional comic actor.
  • Russia's oldest jazz festival, 'Jazz On The Volga', has been held in Yaroslavl for several decades.
  • During the succession crisis in the early 17th century, the 'Time Of Troubles', Yaroslavl acted as the nation's capital.
  • During the Soviet era, the world's first synthetic rubber was produced here.

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City History

Yaroslavl's history goes back at least one thousand years. Legend claims that pagan tribes sent Yaroslav the Wise a bear, as a challenge – and when the Grand Prince defeated the bear, it was decided to found a city here. River and road transport both led to Yaroslavl, making it a prosperous medieval city. All trade between east and west came through the hands of the local merchants. Yaroslavl's status and wealth was eroded during the reign of Tsar Peter the Great – but the railway era of the 19th century restored its former prestige.

By the 20th century, Yaroslavl's image had moved to being an industrial centre – with more than fifty new producers opening in the city, in spheres such as food, textile production, and industrial chemicals.

Today, Yaroslavl attracts tourists from all over the world. The city's architecture now embraces work by leading designers – including retail developments, trade centres, and emerald-domed churches with filigree golden crosses.

Yaroslavl's river port is one of the largest on the Volga, with connections to the Caspian, the Black Sea, the White Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Baltic. Despite its ancient origins, Yaroslavl looks to the future – with a whole series of scientific, research, and educational centres. The city has modern research institutes and state universities.

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