Vologda with a population of 1,300,000 is the administrative center of the region and favourite city for tourists. It stands on the Vologda River, a tributary of the Sukhona River. The city is one of the pearls of the Golden Ring of Russia and an important rail junction with connections to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk and Kirov.
The first reference to Vologda dates back to 1147, the year the Russian capital was founded. The legend says that the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible was going to make Vologda the capital of Russia in the XVIth century. The Tsar launched the construction of a “brick town” in Vologda in 1566 and the Vologda Kremlin, built at that time was originally meant to become Tsars Residence. However, later Ivan decided to move to Moscow.
Peter the Great also paid much attention to Vologda, but only before St. Petersburg was founded. With upraise of Petersburg Vologda’s significance as a major transport junction considerably reduced. At the same time Peter the Great looked forward to the industrial development of Russia, and that’s why a number of industrial enterprises were established in Vologda. In 1997 the city celebrated the 850th anniversary. Till today, the city is famous for it’s old Russian architectural style and traditional crafts.
The climate in Vologda is moderate continental — cold snowy winter followed by a short hot summer. The average temperature in July is +23oC. In summer, it often rains. The coldest month is January — the average temperature is about -16oC. The best time to go to Vologda is summer, June through August.
Vologda is a major industrial town with numerous enterprises many of which are known for the unique technologies and products.
The leading agricultural branch is stock-breeding, which takes 70% of the regional agriculture and provides the population of Vologda with milk, meat and eggs. The Vologda Bakery, the Vologda Dairy and greenhouses represent the food industry. Butter making is popular in the region. Vologda butter, as well as Vologda lace, is nowadays known worldwide. The Vologda lace firm "Snezhinka" (‘Snowflake’) is the biggest in Russia. The firm produces lace items woven from flax threads.
Vast territory, natural resources, skilled and cheap labour, big scientific and technical potential and advantageous geographical location make Vologda suitable for profitable investments.
Vologda is one of the largest and most important transport hubs in Northern Russia. Overnight trains connect Vologda with Moscow, St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk and Vyatka. Journey time to Moscow is 8 h 30 minutes.
Places to See
Vologda is famous for its historical and cultural monuments: the Vologda Kremlin, Spaso-Prilutsky, Kirillo-Belozersky, St. Ferapont, St. Michael and Archangel Monasteries.
Dionisy’s frescos in the Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral of St. Ferapont monastery are real treasure. Ancient Kirillo-Belozersky and Ferapontov Monasteries built in 1297 are included in the UNESCO list of architectural monuments.
Among the places of interest there is very famous St. Sophia Cathedral - the place where the unfortunate brick fell on Ivan the Terrible’s head, because of which he decided to leave Vologda and move to Moscow; but even apart from this legend the cathedral is worth seeing because of the wonderful frescoes dating back to the XV-XVII centuries. St. Sophia cathedral was built in the pure Byzantine style, while the church tower nearby was built in the Gothic style. The largest museums in Vologda are the Art Museum and the Picture Gallery.