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Hotels, motels and where to sleep

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Cultural (and not so cultural) events

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Description of Vologda

Vologda is a city in Russia, administrative, cultural, transport and scientific center of the Vologda region, the center of the Vologda region, which is not included, having the status of a city of regional importance and forming the city district municipal formation "City of Vologda".

Vologda is located 450 km from Moscow and 650 km from St. Petersburg. The population of the city - 312 420 people. (2018). Together with the subordinate rural settlement of Molochnoe, within the boundaries of the urban district, the population is 320,702 people. (2017). The area is 116 km2. In terms of area and population, it is slightly smaller than Cherepovets, located 126 km to the west.

It is one of the cities with particularly valuable historical heritage: 224 monuments of history, architecture, and culture have been identified in the city; 128 of them are taken under state protection. Vologda is one of the largest cities in the north of Russia.

The date of foundation is unknown, the first mention in the annals falls on the year 1147.




Travel Destinations in Vologda

Vologda has an interesting historical and architectural heritage. The historical appearance of the city has formed a harmonious combination of monuments of stone and wooden architecture. With the exception of temples and rebuilt squares destroyed during the Soviet era, the historical buildings of the city center have been preserved relatively well.

In Vologda, there are 193 monuments of architecture and history of federal significance. Among them: “Vologda Kremlin” (Bishop's Court) with expositions of the Vologda Museum-Reserve, Saint Sophia Cathedral with frescoes and a viewing platform on the bell tower, Regional Art Gallery with the museum of V.T. Shalamov and an exhibition hall in the former Resurrection Cathedral, architectural ensembles of the Stone Bridge and Revolution Square, silhouette and panorama of buildings along the Vologda River, preserved compact wooden buildings in the area of ​​Zasodimsky Street around the churches of Barlaam Khutynsky and Elijah the Prophet, a 17th century church with frescoes - John the Baptist in Roschene, Dimitri Prilutsky on Navolok and Intercession on Kozlone.

Among the historical cities of Russia, Vologda holds a special place in the number and significance of wooden architecture monuments. In Vologda, all the main architectural styles of the end of the 18th — beginning of the 20th centuries — from classicism and Empire style to modern and rationalism — are represented in the tree; the main types of mansions are noblemen, merchants and petty-bourgeois, a large number of tenement houses and wooden Soviet public buildings.

The Savior Prilutsky Monastery is a functioning monastery, from 1993 entered the line of the city of Vologda, is a complex of architectural monuments of the 16th — 18th centuries, among which the Savior Cathedral (1537–1542) and the Assumption Church transferred from the Alexander-Kushtsk Monastery are the oldest wooden hip church in Russia (1st quarter of the XVI century). The monastery houses the relics of its founder, St. Dimitry Prilutsky. The poet Konstantin Batyushkov is also buried on its territory.

In 2010, the Center for Folk Art Crafts and Crafts "Carved Palisade" was opened, a place where Vologda masters gather, various cultural events are held, and an exposition of Vologda crafts is located. The craft house is located in the historical part of the city on Zasodimsky Street in a building built in 1862.

The center of culture “Red Corner” opened in Vologda. The cultural center is located on Kozlenskaya Street, 2. On September 4, 2013, leading cultural figures of Vologda, representatives of city authorities and the public solemnly opened it.


Vologda Kremlin
Savior Prilutsky Monastery
Gorne-Uspensky Convent
Resurrection Cathedral
Sophia Cathedral
Church of John the Baptist in Roshchenie



History of Vologda

Two conflicting theories exist as to the date of Vologda's foundation.

The year 1147 is the official date first fixed in 1780 by Alexey Zasetsky in his book "Stories about miracles of Gerasimus of Vologda". The story mentions that in 1147 the Trinity Monastery was founded close to the Vologda River. The date of the foundation of the monastery is then taken as the date of the foundation of the city of Vologda and is mentioned in official city documents. This date, which would make Vologda to be of the same age as Moscow, is, however, not supported by any scientific data and is considered by authoritative sources to be fictional. The story was only written in 1666 by a certain Foma, who got a request from Archbishop Markel to produce the vita of Gerasimus. Foma himself admitted that he had no sufficient data on the biography. The story contains many contradicting details. Besides, the monastic life in the Russian north was not known in the 12th century: the first monastery in Vladimir was founded in 1152, in Rostov in 1212, in the Belozersk area in 1251. Archeological excavations do not confirm this date either. Instead, they demonstrate that the city of Vologda was founded in the 13th century.

The year 1264 was the first mention of Vologda when it was included in the list of possessions of the Novgorod Republic in the agreement between the Republic and the Grand Prince of Vladimir. This date is also supported by archaeological data.

The nucleus of Vologda in the 13th century was not located in the area which is now the city center, but rather the area known now as "Lazy ground" (Ленивая площадка), close to the Resurrection church. This area was the center of Vologda up to 1565. Until that year, no stone constructions existed in Vologda: all of the city fortifications, bridges, houses, churches, and industrial enterprises were made of wood.


Before the 16th century
The unique position of Vologda on important waterways connecting Moscow, Novgorod, and the White Sea (via the Northern Dvina) made it attractive for the Novgorod Republic, as well as for the princes of Tver and Moscow, who fought numerous wars between the 13th and the 15th centuries.

In 1371, Dmitry Prilutsky, a monk from the Nikolsky Monastery in Pereslavl-Zalessky, founded Nikolsky Monastery, now known as Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery, close to the city. Dmitry Donskoy, the Grand Prince of Moscow, was the chief benefactor of the monastery and viewed it as a stronghold of the influence of the Grand Duchy of Moscow in the Northern lands in competition with Novgorod.

In 1397, during the reign of Vasily I, Vologda was added to the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Subsequently, the city was several times attacked by Novgorod forces. During the Muscovite Civil War, Vologda played a key role. After Vasily II the Blind, the Grand Prince of Moscow, was defeated by Dmitry Shemyaka in 1447, he swore to never start a war against Shemyaka, was exiled to Vologda, and got the city as a personal possession. From there Vasily traveled to the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery where the hegumen released him from the oath. The civil war continued, and in 1450, Vologda was besieged by the troops of Dmitry Shemyaka; however, they did not manage to occupy the town.

After the death of Vasily in 1462, Vologda passed to the possession of his son Andrey Menshoy and became the center of the Principality of Vologda. In 1481, after the death of Andrey who had no successors, Vologda passed to Ivan III, the Grand Duke of Moscow, and was included to the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Times of Ivan the Terrible
During the reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, Vologda became one of the major transit centers of Russia's trade. The foreign trade was conducted mostly with England, Holland, and other western countries via the White Sea. Arkhangelsk was the major foreign trade haven, and Vologda stood on the waterway connecting Moscow with Arkhangelsk. The trade with Siberia was conducted via the Sukhona and the Vychegda Rivers, and Vologda also played an important role as a transit center. The state courtyard was built in the city on the bank of the Vologda River. In 1553, Vologda was visited by the English seafarer Richard Chancellor who officially established diplomatic relations between the Tsardom of Russia and England. In 1554, trading agent John Gass described Vologda to English merchants as a city with an abundance of bread where the goods were twice as cheap as in Moscow and Novgorod, and that there was no city in Russia that would not trade with Vologda. Following the reports of John Gass, in 1555 England opened a trading office in the city, and the first Russian ambassador sent to England for negotiations became Osip Nepeya, a native of Vologda.

In 1565, Ivan the Terrible introduced the policy of Oprichnina and included Vologda into the structure of Oprichnina lands. That year, he visited the city for the first time and decided to make it the center of Oprichnina and consequently the capital of the country. The Tsar ordered to build a new fortress. It was decided to build it not in the former town center, but rather in another part of the town, limited on the one side by the river, and on the other side by what are now Leningradskaya, Oktyabrskaya, and Mira Streets. The fortress was surrounded by a moat. Ivan the Terrible traveled to Vologda in person to supervise the foundation of the fortress on April 28, 1566, which was the day to celebrate the memory of Saint Jason (Nason in Russian tradition) and Saint Sosipater. Therefore, the territory of the fortress located in the new part of Vologda was named the "Nason-gorod" (Nason-town). The other name of the Nason-gorod was the Vologda Kremlin (currently the name is sometimes referred only to the Bishop's courtyard).

Between 1568 and 1570, a new cathedral was built in the new fortress. The Saint Sophia Cathedral became the first stone building in Vologda. The design of the cathedral copied the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. This was the idea of Ivan the Terrible who wanted to make his new capital similar to Moscow. He personally supervised the construction, headed by the architect Razmysl Petrov. In 1571, Vologda became the center of the Diocese of Vologda and Perm that was formed in 1492 and previously had its main church in the distant settlement of Ust-Vym in Perm lands. Thereby, Vologda was strengthened not only in trading, military and political influence, but also in ecclesiastical affairs.


However, in 1571 Ivan the Terrible unexpectedly stopped the construction work in Vologda and left the city for good. Presumably, this was connected with his decision to abolish Oprichnina, and Vologda was not needed as the second capital any longer. According to the legend, when Ivan visited the Saint Sophia Cathedral, a little stone fell from the roof on his head. The superstitious Tsar who received a serious head injury took it as an sign of misfortune and decided to leave the city. In any case, it is known that the Tsar wanted even to demolish the cathedral, and that the cathedral was never consecrated during his lifetime. The consecration took place only during the reign his son Feodor I in 1587. Parts of the incomplete fortress which were later in the 17th century strengthened with wooden walls stayed up to the 19th century when they were disassembled by the city authorities and local residents and used as a material for stone building.

Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles for Vologda began with a plague epidemic in 1605. In 1608, when Russia was split into areas controlled by Tsar Vasily Shuysky and areas controlled by the pretender False Dmitry II supported by Polish troops, the people of Vologda made an oath to False Dmitry. By gaining Vologda not only did he get control over Russian and English trading warehouses, but he also positioned himself to gain control over northern Russia. However, abuses and property seizures by he new administration sent to Vologda caused extreme discontent among the population. As a result, Vologda denounced False Dmitry II and supported Shuysky. Moreover, in February 1609 a national home guard headed by Nikita Vysheslavtsev was formed in Vologda and went to fight against False Dmitry II.

In 1612, people of Vologda rendered sizable food and military help to the home guard organized by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, which eventually defeated Polish troops. However, after the city sent huge military forces to support the second home guard, it remained without sufficient protection, and on September 22, 1612 one of the Lithuanian extortionate groups seized Vologda without resistance, later burning down the city and killing and imprisoning many of its inhabitants.

Under the Romanovs
After 1613, Vologda quickly recovered due to its convenient location and once again became an important center of foreign trade. During the reign of Peter the Great, Vologda became one of the main military bases of Russia. Military and technical equipment for fortresses and military ships under construction was stored there. Vessels which delivered food supplies to Arkhangelsk were constructed in Vologda. Peter intended to hold them on Lake Kubenskoye, 30 kilometers (19 mi) north of Vologda. However, after personally inspecting the lake in 1692, he abandoned the idea deciding that the lake is improper for that purpose.

Peter the Great visited Vologda on no less than ten occasions, on six of which (in 1692, 1693, 1694, 1702, 1722, and 1724) he stayed in the city for extended time. He always stayed in a small house of the Dutch merchant Goutman, which in 1872 was bought by the city authorities, and in 1885 was transformed into the memorial museum of Peter the Great and became the first museum of Vologda.

However, after St. Petersburg was founded and foreign trade was rerouted to the Baltic Sea, the importance of Vologda as a center of foreign trade decayed. In 1722, Peter issued the decree restricting trade through Arkhangelsk, which damaged Vologda even further. In the course of the administrative reform carried out in 1708, Vologda lost its functions as an administrative center and was included as a town of Archangelgorod Governorate.

The revival began only during the reign of Catherine the Great who in 1780 made Vologda the center of Vologda Viceroyalty, a successor of Archangelgorod Governorate. In 1796, the viceroyalty, administered by a governor-general, was transformed into Vologda Governorate, the borders of which stretched up to the Ural mountains in the east. The center of Vologda was rebuilt according to the plan of a provincial city issued in 1781. The street network is still in use now.

A new economic lifting of the city was connected with a steamship movement across the Sukhona River and with the building of a new railroad line connecting Vologda with Yaroslavl and Moscow (1872), with Arkhangelsk (1898), with St. Petersburg and Vyatka (1905).


In 1871, the Danish merchant Friedrich Buman opened a specialized butter factory in the manor of Fominskoye, 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) from Vologda. It was the first butter factory both in Vologda Governorate and in Russia. Since then Vologda became the center of the butter industry, and the Vologda butter, a special type of butter with the taste of nuts invented by Nikolay Vereschagin and Buman, became a world trademark. In 1911, the manor of Fominskoye together with the Buman's creamery was given to the state and became the base for the Vologda dairy institute. Thereby Vologda turned to one of the largest dairy centers of Russia.

Since the 15th century, Vologda was a political exile destination and was even known as "Siberia close to the capital". In the 19th–20th centuries, such persons as Joseph Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov (later the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Nikolai Berdyaev (the famous Russian philosopher), Boris Savinkov (later known as a successful terrorist), Mariya Ulyanova, and Alexander Bogdanov were sent to Vologda. Anatoly Lunacharsky chose to go there to join Bogdanov, and to marry Anna Alexandrovna Malinovskaya, Bogdanov's sister.

Soviet period
Soviet power was established in Vologda in December 1917, and up to the summer of 1918 co-existed with the zemstvo and municipal administration. In February 1918, Vologda became the "diplomatic capital of Russia" for several months. Embassies located in Saint Petersburg were threatened by the German army, so Western powers, led by American Ambassador David R. Francis, relocated them to Vologda. However, pressured by the Bolsheviks, on July 24, 1918 the diplomats were compelled to leave Vologda and repatriate via Arkhangelsk.

During the Russian Civil War, Vologda was the location of the headquarters of the 6th Red Army. The army opposed the White Army under command of Evgeny Miller and the military forces of Entente in northern Russia.

In 1929, the Vologda Governorate was abolished and included into the structure of a new formation, Northern Krai, which also included former Arkhangelsk and Northern Dvina Governorates, as well as the Komi-Zyryan Autonomous Oblast. The administrative center of Northern Krai was located in Arkhangelsk. In December 1936, Northern Krai was abolished and divided into the Komi ASSR and Northern Oblast, with the administrative center still located in Arkhangelsk. On September 23, 1937, Northern Oblast was divided into Arkhangelsk Oblast and Vologda Oblast by the decision of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union. According to the same decision, districts of former Cherepovets Okrug of Leningrad Oblast were attached to Vologda Oblast. These districts currently make for the western part of Vologda Oblast. Thereby the current borders of Vologda Oblast were determined.

In the 1930s, a flax factory, a coach-repair factory, and a sawmill, "Northern Communard," were constructed.

During World War II, martial law was declared in Vologda, and its industrial enterprises shifted to military production. In the fall of 1941, Finnish troops crossed the borders of Vologda Oblast, and Vologda thus became a front city. The inhabitants were mobilized to dig trenches. In the city, bomb-proof shelters and elementary shelters were under construction, systems of air defense which protected the railway junction and the military-industrial enterprises were developed. As a result, though attempts of bombardments were numerous, no bombs fell on the city. To commemorate these events, a monument to the air defense forces was later erected on Zosimovskaya Street in Vologda. The monument has the shape of an anti-aircraft gun. In addition, Vologda was a railway hub used to supply the army and to evacuate equipment. It also served as a large hospital center. Residents of Vologda donated blood, money, and jewellery. The tank detachment "Vologda Collective Farmer" was funded by these donations. To commemorate these events the monument to the tank T-34 was built on Mira Street.

Between 1961 and 1985, Anatoly Drygin was the first secretary of the CPSU Vologda Oblast Committee and the head of the oblast. During this period, notable changes in many aspects of economy both of the city and of the oblast occurred. In particular, a bearing plant, a mechanical plant, and an optical-mechanical factory were built in Vologda. A polytechnical university was opened. A large-scale poultry farm was established. A major construction initiative was carried out, and, in particular, the first buildings higher than five floors were constructed. The city expanded, with new residential areas built; in particular, Byvalovo, GPZ, the 5th and the 6th Microdistricts. In 1976, the Vologda trolleybus system opened.


Post-Soviet period

In November 1991, the city administration was formed and the reform of local governments began. In October 1993, the Soviets of People's Deputies of all levels were abolished. After the dissolution of the Vologda Soviet, the City Duma was established. The first Duma elections took place on March 20, 1994. This first Duma only had six seats, but in 1995, after the next elections, it was expanded to thirty deputies.

On July 25, 1996, the City Duma adopted the main city document: the Charter of Vologda. On October 6, 1996, the first mayoral elections in the history of Vologda took place. Alexey Yakunichev was elected and became the head of the city. His term ended in 2008.

In 2003, the construction of a ring road started. Before that, the М8 highway connecting Moscow and Arkhangelsk run through the city center causing congestion. After the completion, the ring road connects the highways А114 (Vologda – Novaya Ladoga), Р5 (Vologda – Medvezhyegorsk), and М8 (Moscow – Arkhangelsk). On August 25, 2005, the City Duma approved the new Charter of Vologda. Even though the deputies introduced more than four hundred amendments and the document increased more than twice in volume as compared with the Charter of 1996, the changes were relatively minor. On October 12, 2008, Yevgeny Shulepov was elected to be the City Head.






Get in
By plane
VGD airport is not busy at all. There are only 2 flights a week from Vnukovo (Moscow) 8pm and 2 flights return to Vnukovo 8am, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Vologda Airport is situated 8 km north from city center, easily reachable by bus or taxi.

By train
Multiple daily overnight trains to/from Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Arkhangelsk.

By car
Vologda is 470 km to the north by the M8 road from Moscow. It takes 5-7 hours drive to reach the city depending on traffic. Road conditions are generally good for Russia, excluding the total mess with street navigation when passing Yaroslavl. So, using GPS navigator is recommended.


Hotels, motels and where to sleep

1 Atrium Hotel, ul. Gertsena, 27, ☎ +7 8172 78-78-25, fax: +7 (8172) 75-33-13, e-mail: This business-class hotel is centrally located, easily found while driving, and newly built. Rooms are comfortable, 4 stars are claimed, at least 3 stars are really delivered. Free wi-fi in rooms and lobby. single 3,400 - 4,600 RUR, double 3,800 - 5,000 RUR dependig on room class.

2 Angliter, ul. Lermontova, 23, ☎ +7 8172 76-24-36. The most expensive and probably the only deluxe hotel in the city of Vologda 3,100 - 8,900 RUR depending on room.


Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

There's a nice coffee shop near the Tourist Information centre.

On Mira street (улица Мира), fast food and restaurants are not hard to find.


Cultural (and not so cultural) events

Annual festivals
The following annual theater festivals are held in Vologda:

"Voices of History" (the beginning of July, every year)
Valery Gavrilin international music festival (every year, from October till December)
«Summer in the Kremlin» (every even year, from June till July)
The annual open international festival of multimedia art "Multimatograf


Interesting information and useful tips