The largest trade and cultural centers of the Old Rus’ grew along the banks of the Volga River. This was always the case, not only because waterways were once the safest and least expensive. The generosity of our main river also played an important role. The Volga always readily shared its riches with men; an avid fisherman can fully appreciate them. A good catch is not a rarity – it is a rule in these parts. There is also a lot to see. The Volga landscapes are astonishing in their primordially Russian, picturesque beauty. You can easily see this for yourself – for example, if you meet the dawn on a sandy beach. The water here is perfectly clean, by the way. And warm throughout almost the whole summer. We can guarantee that you will have something to reminisce about when you are back in the familiar bustle of the big city.
If Russia’s Golden Ring was really a ring scattered with gems, Kostroma would be included as a pearl – a jewel that is unpretentious yet noble and expensive. The city was founded in the 12th century; since those ancient times and until the end of the 19th century, each new generation of Kostroma’s residents built its own precious layer onto the foundation laid by the ancestors. The territory of present-day Kostroma is about ten times smaller than that of Moscow. However, there are so many architectural monuments concentrated in this relatively tiny patch of the Central Russian Upland that Moscow might simply have to humbly bow its golden head. Since the times of Ivan Susanin, no wars reached the city, so it was never attacked or bombed. Thus, the traditional Russian architecture was preserved in the way it was originally designed to be.
Some of the local sights and places of interest deserve special attention. For example, the white-stone Ipatiev monastery. Historians are very vague when it comes to the age of this monastery; it was founded either in the 14th century or much earlier. According to the most popular version of its history, it was founded by a Tatar prince. He had come from the Golden Horde to see the Kostroma prince on some important state business, but ended up staying for the rest of his life. Here, on the banks of the Volga, he had a vision: Virgin Mary, together with the martyr St. Hypatius, told the Tatar prince to convert to Orthodox Christianity, for which he was promised to be cured of a grave ailment that he had been suffering from for many years. The prince did as the vision told him, and the ailment abated. According to legend, it was on the location of this vision that the monastery was soon erected; later it would play a rather important role in Russia’s history. Boris Godunov buried his parents here; next to their grave is the resting place of semi-mythical popular hero Ivan Susanin. Within the walls of the monastery, the very first tsar of the Romanov dynasty was blessed to start his reign. And it was also here that the last Russian emperor lived and prayed five years before his tragic death.
The Ipatiev monastery is only one of Kostroma’s many monuments – if you browse the “Guided Tours” section of this website, you can find out more about all the local attractions that we would be happy to show you.