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Side Trips from Moscow Travel Guide


Yaroslavl has a very storied history, beginning with an apocryphal founding. It's said that local inhabitants set loose a bear to chase away Prince Yaroslav the Wise (978–1054). Yaroslav wrestled and killed the bear and founded the town on the spot. It's historical fact that Yaroslav decreed the town's founding as a fortress on the Volga in 1010. About 600 years later, in 1612, during

the Time of Troubles, the town was the center of national resistance against the invading Poles, under the leadership of Kuzma Minin and Dmitri Pozharsky.

The town rests at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosl rivers, which made it a major commercial center from the 13th century until 1937, when the Moscow–Volga canal was completed, allowing river traffic to proceed directly to the capital. This commercial heritage bequeathed the city a rich legacy that offers a glimpse of some of the finest church architecture in Russia. The center of Yaroslavl, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, has 21st-century additions including a 3-meter tall metal statue of a bear on the banks of the Kotorosl River and a statue of Yarslovai, staring off in the direction of Moscow, on ulitsa Nakhimsona.

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