Hotels, motels and where to sleep
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Interesting information and useful tips
Description of Veliky Ustyug
Veliky Ustyug is located in the north-eastern part
of the Vologda region. It is the ancient Russian city that lies at
the confluence of the Sukhona and Yug (the South in Russian),
because of which he received his initial name (Ustyug - Ustye Yuga
or mouth of Yug river). The prefix "Great" was given to the city by
the royal command for its role in history and commercial
significance. Ustyug lay on the important path of development of the
Komi-Permyak lands, the Urals, and then Siberia, and was home to
many Russian explorers. Later, the value of the city decreased
significantly. Destructive, for churches and cathedrals, the years
of Soviet power Ustyug survived, retaining its wealth of temple
architecture of the XVIII century in the style of northern baroque.
Despite the sufficient transport inaccessibility, in the last
ten to fifteen years, the city has experienced a real tourist boom,
which, incidentally, is seasonal. Veliky Ustyug is positioned as a place of
residence for Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost, pagad symbol of winter
that brings presents to kids and less Christian version of Santa Claus), which makes it attractive for family
tourism in the winter. Lovers of history and architecture, as well
as the harsh, but beautiful northern nature, it is better to come
here in the summer, it will be a very interesting, informative and
Veliky Ustyug is
located on the bank of the Sukhona River at the confluence of the
South tributary, 30 kilometers from the border with the Arkhangelsk
Region and 60 kilometers from Kotlas.
Travel Destinations in Veliky Ustyug
Veliky Ustyug preserves much of its architectural heritage and
has one of the best preserved architectural ensembles in Russia. The
town contains 152 objects classified as cultural and historical
heritage by the Russian Federal law and 25 objects classified as
cultural and historical heritage of local importance. It is
classified as a historical town by the Ministry of Culture of
Russian Federation, which implies certain restrictions on
construction in the historical center.
Most of the
architectural monuments are on the left bank of the Sukhona, and
many of these are the living houses. The exceptions are
Troitsko-Gledensky Monastery and the Dymkovo Sloboda, on the right
bank of the Sukhona. Troitsko-Gledensky Monastery is in the village
of Morozovitsa, in Velikoustyugsky District.
architectural ensembles of Veliky Ustyg are:
The old Sobornoye
Dvorishche (Cathedral Square), with the ensemble of Assumption
Cathedral (1619–1659), the St. Prokopius Cathedral (1668, Prokopius
is the local saint who lived in Ustyug), the Cathedral of St. John
the Righteous (1656—1663), and the Epiphany Church (1689)
Mikhaylo-Arkhangelsky Monastery with the Cathedral of Archangel
Michael (1653—1656), the Presentation Church (1653), the Gate Church
of St. Vladimir (1682), and the Church of Mid-Pentecost (1710), the
wall with towers and the cells
Former transfiguration monastery:
The Transfiguration Church, the Presentation Church (1725–1739), and
the St. George Church (1696–1704)
The St. Nicholas Church with
the bell-tower (17th century)
The Ascension Church (1648)
Church of Women Bearing Myrrh (1714–1722)
The Church of St.
Simeon the Stylite (18th century)
The monuments of civil
architecture are mostly concentrated along the Sukkhona, along
Sovetsky Avenue and Krasnaya Street.
Some of these buildings
belong to the Velikoustyugsky Museum of History, Art, and
Architecture. The museum was open in 1909 in the premises of
Mikhaylo-Arkhangelsky Monastery. In 1918 it was transformed into the
Museum of the Northern Dvina Culture. Between 1924 and 1938 the
museum director was Nikolay Bekryashev, an artist, who devoted his
energy to extending the museum to the old buildings, mostly
churches, of the town, which thus were saved from destruction. In
particular, a big collection of icons and objects of applied arts
survived. Despite the efforts of Bekryashev and other museum
employees, some of the buildings were destroyed by the authorities.
The museum currently serves as an umbrella institution that
organizes permanent and temporary exhibits in the former church
History of Veliky Ustyug
The town of Veliky Ustyug was first mentioned in a chronicle in
1207. In 1212, Mikhaylo-Arkhangelsky Monastery was founded. It was a
part of the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality (in contrast to the
neighboring lands, most notably Totma, colonized by Novgorod). Thus
Veliky Ustyug created the only obstacle to Novgorod's trade with the
north, as the Sukhona and the Northern Dvina were the main waterways
connecting Novgorod with the White Sea. Clashes between Novgorod and
Ustyug became regular, especially throughout the whole 14th century.
In 1328, Ustyug was annexed by the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
town was not immediately affected by the Mongol invasion of Rus' in
the 13th century; however, its rapid growth in the second half of
the century was due to influx of refugees from Central Russia.
In the 15th century, Veliky Ustyug became notable for the war
between Vasily II of Moscow and his cousin Dmitry Shemyaka, which
left northern Russia deserted. Shemyaka took Veliky Ustyug in 1450,
drowned in the Sukhona those citizens who refused to accept him as a
prince, and made the town his residence for two years, until he was
driven off by the forces of Vasily. In the 15th century, the town
had a great military importance and became the base for the
operations against the Finno-Ugric peoples.
In 1613, during
the Time of Troubles, Veliky Ustyug was besieged by Polish troops
but never taken. At the junction of important trade routes, the town
turned into a significant commercial and industrial center in the
16th and 17th centuries. Veliky Ustyug area was the birthplace of
the explorers Semyon Dezhnyov, Yerofey Khabarov, Vladimir Atlasov,
and of St. Stephen of Perm. Veliky Ustyug lost its key role as a
river port with the diminishing importance of the Sukhona River
route for trade between China and western Europe, which started with
the foundation of Saint-Petersburg in 1703, whereby the trade was
diverted to the Baltic Sea.
The 16th and 17th centuries were
the time of the highest rise of the culture in Veliky Ustyug, in
which it acquired a national-wide significance. The town is known
for its remarkable handicrafts, such as silver filigree, birch bark
fretwork, decorative copper binding, and niello. The town developed
a distinct manner of icon painting — Ustyug icon painting. In the
17th century, Veliky Ustyug was a major producer of tiles, which are
visible on many Ustyug churches and were sold to neighboring towns
of the Russian North. On January 25, 1613, the town was
unsuccessfully besieged by Polish-Lithuanian vagabonds (see
Lisowczycy) led by Jakub Jacki.
In the course of the
administrative reform carried out in 1708 by Peter the Great, Veliky
Ustyug was explicitly mentioned as one of the 20 towns included into
the Archangelgorod Governorate. From 1719, it was the center of
Ustyug Province, one of the four provinces of the Governorate. In
1780, the governorate was abolished and transformed into Vologda
Viceroyalty. The latter was abolished in 1796, and Veliky Ustyug
became the center of Velikoustyugsky Uyezd of Vologda Governorate.
In 1918, the town became the administrative center of the newly
established Northern Dvina Governorate. In 1924, the uyezds were
abolished in favor of the new divisions, the districts (raions).
In 1929, Northern Dvina Governorate was merged into Northern
Krai. The krai consisted of five okrugs, one of which, Northern
Dvina Okrug, had its administrative center in Veliky Ustyug. In July
1930, the okrugs were abolished, and the districts were directly
subordinated to Northern Krai. In 1936, Northern Krai was
transformed into Northern Oblast, and in 1937, Northern Oblast was
split into Arkhangelsk Oblast and Vologda Oblast. Veliky Ustyug
remained in Vologda Oblast ever since.
Veliky Ustyug, in
contrast to the majority of historical Russian towns, managed to
preserve almost all of its architectural and cultural monuments.
This was in a great part due to the efforts of the local
intellectuals grouped around the Regional Museum, and most notably
of Nikolay Bekryashev, the museum director from 1924 to 1938. This
group managed to convince the authorities that the churches and old
buildings have a historical significance and must be handed in the
museum rather than demolished.
Roads connect Veliky Ustyug with other towns. The road to the
north runs to Krasavino and further to Kotlas. The one to the south
runs to Nikolsk and further to Manturovo, where it connects to the
road to Kostroma. The road to the southwest connects Veliky Ustyug
with Vologda via Totma. It was built in the beginning of the 21st
century; before this road was opened, the only way to get from
Veliky Ustyug to Vologda was via Nikolsk and Totma. All these roads
An unpaved road, originating from Kuzino (which is
connected with Veliky Ustyug by a ferry crossing) runs to Luza and
continues to Lalsk and further to the Komi Republic.
railroad connects Veliky Ustyug with Yadrikha railway station on the
railroad connecting Konosha and Kotlas. The passenger service to
Veliky Ustyug was discontinued in 2005.
The Sukhona, the Yug,
and the Northern Dvina are all navigable in Veliky Ustyug, but there
is no passenger navigation except for ferry crossings.
Ustyug is served by the Veliky Ustyug Airport with occasional
passenger service to Vologda.