WHS: City of Yaroslavl

Just another hour up the road from Rostov, we come to the end of this Russia visit, at another Golden Ring city, and this one a collective World Heritage Site:

Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl

Eternal Flame WWII Monument


The city of Yaroslavl is situated on the Volga River at its confluence with the Kotorosl River, some 250 km northeast of Moscow. It was founded by the Prince of Kievan Russia Yaroslav-the-Wise (988-1010) and consisted of a small wooden fortress. Until the 13th century, it had belonged to the territory of Rostov Principality and in 1218 it became the capital of Yaroslavl Principality. The city of Yaroslavl started developing in 1463 when Yaroslavl Principality joined the powerful Moscow state. After several fires, and starting from the 16th century, the original wooden town was gradually rebuilt in stone.

The Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl is the oldest part and the kernel of development of one of the most ancient, rich, and well preserved Russian cities. The historic centre is a representative example of the development of the planning structures of ancient Russian cities, which was subject to regular urban re-development as a part of unique town-planning reform pursued by Empress Catherine the Great at the end of 18th century. Solutions developed and implemented in Yaroslavl ensured preservation of the historical environment and spatial integrity in the central part of the city. The Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl became a recognised model in the art of town planning during the Neoclassical Age, which has organically incorporated ancient elements of the city’s historical structure…

Just stroll your way into the old quarter of the city, and you’ll find directions posted on the major boulevards — basically everything around you has significant history attached!

Historical Centre of Yaroslavl

The intro picture above is of the Eternal Flame monument to World War II — the “Great Patriotic War” in Russia — and in the distance is the Cathedral of the Assumption

Cathedral of the Assumption

which has an interesting history in that it’s actually a modern reconstruction. The original church was built around 1215 and burned down a couple centuries later; then a stone one was built, but was destroyed by the Soviets soon after the Revolution; and then the one you see here was built in 2010 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Yaroslavl’s founding.

So whilst it may not have that much history of its own yet, 1000 years is quite the tradition to uphold; and it’s interesting to see the modern take on what these traditional churches would have looked like when they were new, we think.

Cathedral of the Assumption

But if ersatz reconstructions aren’t your thing, rest assured that more authentic churches are pretty much literally around every corner of the old town! Here’s The Church of Ilya the Prophet;

The Church of Ilya the Prophet

and here’s Saint Michael the Archangel Church;

Saint Michael the Archangel Church

and here’s Epiphany Church;

Epiphany Church

and … and, well, we could go on here for quite a while indeed, but we trust you get the idea; if you want to see an authentic medieval Russian city, this is the place you want to go!


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