Yaroslavl: A World Heritage Site


Yaroslavl is a city in Russia, the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, located 250 km north-east of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. As of the 2002 Census, its population was 613,088.

Preceded by Viking sites such as Timerevo from the 8th or 9th centuries, the city is said to have been founded in 1010 as an outpost of the Principality of Rostov Veliky, and was first mentioned in 1071. Capital of an independent principality from 1218, it was incorporated into Muscovy in 1463. In the 17th century it was Russia's second largest city, and for a time (during the Polish occupation of Moscow in 1612), the country's actual capital. Today, Yaroslavl is an important industrial center (petrochemical plant, tire manufacturing plant, diesel engines plant and many others).

Apart from the Spaso-Preobrazhensky (Transfiguration of the Saviour) Monastery the oldest churches in the city date back to the 17th century and belong to the so called Yaroslavl type (built of red brick, with bright tiled exteriors). Those of St. Nicholas Nadein and Elijah the Prophet have some of the Golden ring's most impressive frescoes. Military institutions include the High Military Financial School and the High Anti-aircraft Missile School.

Yaroslav - Church of Elijah

Yaroslavl is divided into six city districts. The center is located on the northern bank of the Kotorosl where it converges with the Volga, on the Volga's western bank. The Center is the economic and political center of the city. The center is also the oldest district in the city, where the city was first settled. The center contains the majority of landmarks and attraction in the city, including the Volkov theater, the Church of Elijah the prophet, the soccer stadium, the Volga embankment and the monastery, often mistakenly called the Kremlin. Across the Kotorosl lie Frunzensky and Krasnoperekopsky city districts, which are divided by Moskovsky Prospect. Frunzensky is a relatively new district, constructed in the post-war era and offers little of particular interest. Perhaps Frunzensky district's greatest attraction is the Yarpivo brewery.

Yaroslav - Church of Saint John the Baptist

Krasnoperekopsky city district is one of the oldest parts in Yaroslavl. During pre-revolution days, it was home to the bulk of Yaroslavl's industry, and a good deal of industry remains today. Krasnoperekopsky district is divided into two micro-districts, one of which is Neftestroy, a relatively pleasant up-and-coming region, named for its proximity to Yaroslavl's oil refinery. Neftestroy is home to the newly-built hockey arena, and there are plans to build an indoor soccer stadium there by the millennial anniversary of Yaroslavl's founding. By contrast, on the other side of the railway tracks that run through Krasnopereposk district lies the Perekop proper. Today, the Perekop is known as one of the most dangerous areas of Yaroslavl. It consists largely of run-down, pre-Soviet wooden huts, and decaying factory buildings. There are plans to pump life into this depressed district, but at the time of writing it remains extremely impoverished and dangerous. The Perekop offers some of Yaroslavl's most beautiful parks and churches, most notably the Church of Saint John the Baptist, which is located right next to a paint factory on the Kotorosl embankment; and Peter and Paul's Cathedral, a peculiar Protestant-looking Orthodox church.

North of the center there is a small industrial region, which is home to the tire factory, the sponsor of Yaroslavl's soccer team, and the engine plant, as well as many other smaller factories. On the other bank of the Volga lies Zavolzhsky city district (lit. one behind the Volga). Zavolzhsky district is Yaroslavl's quietest and most rural area. In Zavolzhsky, blocks of pre-fabricated Soviet apartment blocks are broken up by beautiful birch and evergreen forests. The region is largely residential and has little to offer aside from its forests.

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