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// GENERAL INFORMATION
Yaroslavl (pop. 650 000) is the administrative center and largest city of Yaroslavl Region. It is conveniently located 280 km from Moscow and 750 km from St. Petersburg. Today, a modern transportation network connects Yaroslavl with Central Europe, Northern Russia, Siberia, the Far East, China, and Mongolia. Yaroslavl's river port on the Volga receives ships from the Caspian, Black, and White seas, the Sea of Azov, and the Baltic countries.
Yaroslavl Region was formed on March 11, 1936. It has an area of 36 400 km2 and a population of 1 451 400 people (80.6% urban). The region is divided into 16 districts and includes 11 cities, 17 towns, and 227 rural administrations. There are more than 700 km of operating railway lines, 251 km of shipping routes along the Volga River and Rybinskoe Reservoir, and 789 km of inland waterways, as well as three modern river ports and two airports.
Yaroslavl Region is located in the center of the Russian Plain and is part of the Central economic district. The region has a temperate continental climate with an average January temperature of -10 °C and an average July temperature of +18 °C. Average annual precipitation is 600 mm.
The soils are mainly of the sod-podzolic type. Most of the region is situated in the forest zone, with coniferous and mixed forests predominating. Forests and berry bushes grow on the banks of the region's 2500 large and small rivers. Bountiful nature, clean pine-scented air, and an abundance of berries and mushrooms are just what are needed for recreation and tourism.
Yaroslavl is a city of scientists and students and a center of the engineering, chemical, textile, and processing industries. Yaroslavl companies are the country's main suppliers of diesel engines for heavy trucks and tractors. Products with the Yaroslavl trademark are known in 60 countries. From the early days, the city was known for its substantial merchant families, and this tradition of entrepreneurship continues today. Hundreds of successful state, private, and joint-stock companies are registered in Yaroslavl, and there are excellent development prospects for companies in the diesel engineering and tourist industries.
Masterpieces of Old Russian architecture, modern high-precision industries, a unique historical heritage, and high scientific and industrial potential are all part of Yaroslavl Region today.
Yaroslavl is one of Russia's most beautiful cities. With its wonderful and inimitable architecture, it is truly the jewel of the Golden Ring of Old Russian cities east and north of Moscow.
Yaroslavl was founded around 1010 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise (Yaroslav Mudry) of Kiev as a fortress on the site of the ancient settlement of Medvezhy Ugol at the confluence of the Korostel and Volga rivers. The chronicles first mention it in 1071.
The choice of location was extremely advantageous from the military point of view. The high steep banks of the Volga and Korostel rivers and the deep Medveditsky Ravine with a stream flowing through it formed a natural defense. Approaching merchant ship convoys and enemy forces were clearly visible for many kilometers.
With the breakup of the Old Russian state in the 12th century, Yaroslavl became a guard post on the troubled border of the isolated Rostov-Suzdal princedom.
In 1218, the log city became the capital of the Yaroslavl princedom. The prince's palace was located there, and other wooden palaces, churches and houses were built around it.
The first stone buildings to appear were the imposing churches in the Kremlin and the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery outside the city. Owing to its location on an important Volga River trade route, Yaroslavl flourished in the 12th and early 13th centuries; but the Mongol-Tatar invasions in the mid-13th century put an end to this burst of prosperity for many long years. Like many other Russian cities, Yaroslavl was burned to the ground in 1238, but did not bow to the enemy.
In 1463, the Yaroslavl princedom became part of the unified Muscovite princedom. In 1612, during the struggle against Polish intervention, the Popular Militia under the leadership of Kusma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky was stationed in Yaroslavl. The all-Russian government body known as the Council of the Land was also established here. As a reward for its active part in uniting Russian forces during the Time of Troubles, Yaroslavl received the right to cut and transport stone and building timber duty-free.
Yaroslavl experienced a construction boom in the early 16th century. A new Assumption Cathedral was built in the Kremlin to replace the ruined 13th-century prince's church, and work began on a set of beautiful stone buildings decorated with frescoes at the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery. The trading quarter was expanded in the mid-16th century, and the trade and craft villages of Korovniki, Tolchkovo, Streletskaya, and Yamskaya sprang up outside the boundaries of the Fortress City. In the 17th century, Yaroslavl was an important trading (grain, flax, fish, and other goods) and craft center and the second-largest city after Moscow. Yaroslavl stonemasons, carpenters, tanners, and blacksmiths were renowned. Stone construction continued to expand (nearly all the wooden buildings had been destroyed by fire in 1658); and by the mid-17th century, distinctive schools of stone architecture and fresco painting had formed in Yaroslavl. The famous churches of Ilya the Prophet, John the Baptist in Tolchkovo, and a set of buildings in Korovniki with unique frescoes were built during this period. The 17th century was truly the "golden age" of Yaroslavl art, which added one of the most vivid pages to the history of Old Russian culture.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Yaroslavl was an important point on the trade routes between the centralized Russian state and countries of the East (via the Volga) and Europe (through Arkhangelsk, Russia's only seaport at the time). Foreign merchants had their own "town house" in the city from which they sent goods to Moscow, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, and farther on to Persia.
Construction of the Great Yaroslavl Linen Mill, one of the largest of its time, began in 1722 by decree of Peter the Great.
The city became a major industrial center in the 18th century. It became part of St. Petersburg Province in 1708, became the capital of the same province in 1719, then was made part of Moscow Province in 1727, and finally became the capital of the Yaroslavl governorship (Yaroslavl Province as of 1796). A unique work of Old Russian literature, The Song of Igor's Campaign, was discovered in the manuscript collection of Spassky Monastery in 1788.
Many Russian cities that became provincial capitals underwent redevelopment in the latter half of the 18th century, changing their appearance considerably. Yaroslavl received its regular layout in 1778. A new city center was built, in which the dominant features were three squares [Ilinskaya, Platsparadnaya (now Demidovsky Square), and Sobornaya (Strelka)] that led from one to the other. New houses and public buildings in the classicist style were constructed, and the Volga embankment was developed (1825-1835). In 1805, nobleman P.G. Demidov initiated and funded the establishment of the Demidov School of Higher Sciences (reorganized into a lycee in 1833 and into a university between 1918 and 1924). Between 1870 and 1898, Yaroslavl was connected by rail to Moscow, Vologda, Kostroma, and St. Petersburg. A railway bridge was built across the Volga in 1903. By 1897, there were 2755 wooden and 1099 stone houses in Yaroslavl, which was considered one of the most beautiful cities of the Upper Volga. There were 77 churches, and branches of the State, Farmer's Land, Moscow International, and City Public banks, offices, and docks were operating. A city theater, a provincial hospital, and other institutions were opened. There were annual trade fairs, where the main items of trade were glass, porcelain, and glazed earthenware dishes. The most notable industrial enterprises among the 57 operating factories were mills producing cotton and linen thread and fabrics, a tobacco factory, chemical and match factories, and sawmills.
Modern-day Yaroslavl is a versatile city with a large, diversified industrial base and time-honored theatrical traditions. It was in Yaroslavl that F.G. Volkov founded the first professional Russian theater in 1750. The first provincial magazine, The Country Bumpkin, appeared in 1786; and one of the first major provincial newspapers, Northern Territory, whose popularity extended well beyond Yaroslavl Province, began publishing in the late 19th century.
During the planned reconstruction carried out in 1936-1937 and 1965, construction work went on mainly in the east and south in order to preserve the historic part of the city. New streets, parks, and squares were built and monuments were improved and restored.
The oldest part of Yaroslavl is located on a high point called the Arrow (Strelka) at the confluence of the Kotorosl and Volga rivers. The central part of the city preserves the radial-ring structure that formed spontaneously in the 17th century along with the regular development according to the plan of 1778; thus, the main streets fan out from the central square towards the former gates in the city wall.
No other Russian city has so many beautiful works of medieval fresco painting. Yaroslavl artists enriched traditional Christian themes with details of national life, reflecting a new attitude in their work that was understandable to ordinary people.
Yaroslavl Region's greatest natural resources are water and forests. This part of Russia has enormous water reserves; Yaroslavl Region alone has 4327 rivers with a total length of nearly 20 000 km. There are also 83 lakes with total area of nearly 5 000 km2. The largest lakes are Nero Lake in Rostovsky District and Pleshcheevo Lake in Pereslavsky District. Pleshcheevo, Somino, Vashutinskoe, Chashnikovskoe, Ryumnikovskoe, and Lovetskoe lakes are located in the State Natural History Park. These lakes were formed from melting glaciers about 70 000 years ago.
The Volga River (Mother Volga) flows for 340 km through Yaroslavl Region. Many dams have been built on the Volga, forming the Uglichskoe, Rybinskoe, and Gorkovskoe reservoirs. The Rybinskoe Reservoir, with an area of 4500 km2, is one of the largest artificial lakes in Russia. In addition to being a source of drinking water, local residents like to come here to relax, take part in water sports, and fish.
Surface water reserves amount to 254 km3, and underground water reserves are also substantial. In addition, large reserves of various kinds of mineral waters have been explored, and more than 30 wells have been drilled to recover them. The Bolshie Soli and Stroitel health centers and a hospital offering therapeutic bathing treatments have been built around mineral springs in the region. Uglich mineral water is the best known medicinal table water.
There is great emphasis on protecting water resources in Yaroslavl Region. Thus, 55 water bodies, including 23 rivers, 16 lakes, and a number of freshwater springs, ponds, and mineral springs have been classified as natural monuments.
There are more than 1000 bogs covering an area of 95 600 hectares in this part of Russia. Twenty-one of these have been declared natural monuments. Bogs play a major role in nature by soaking up water, retaining it, and feeding it into rivers uniformly throughout the year. Rare plants listed in the Red Book grow in the bogs. Local residents gather cranberries, cloudberries, and bilberries, which are considered valuable medicinal plants. The largest nesting colony of black-headed gulls on the left bank of the Volga is located in the Tarakan bog.
More than 40% of Yaroslavl Region (about 1 807 300 hectares) is covered with forest, mainly coniferous and mixed forests. About 1130 different plant species, many of them rare (9 are listed in the Red Book of the RF), grow in the forests. There are also about 230 kinds of medicinal herbs, more than 20 of which are collected. Forests are not only a habitat for animals and birds; they are also recreational areas for people and a source of raw materials for industry and construction.
The region's forests are the habitat of a wide variety of wildlife, including 5 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibians, more than 230 species of birds, and about 50 species of mammals. Most of the fish inhabiting local rivers are members of the carp family.
Some of the animals inhabiting the region are listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. They include the muskrat, black crane, osprey, peregrine falcon, golden eagle, white-tailed sea eagle, and common bullhead. The Darwin Preserve and 20 game reserves have been established in the region to protect wildlife, especially rare animals. Beaver preserves are located on the Lakhost and Obnora rivers.
The region's mineral resource base includes brick clay and clay aggregate, gravel and sand-gravel mix, peat, and sapropel [aquatic ooze]. Gravel and sand-gravel mix are found mainly in Rostovsky, Yaroslavsky, and Rybinsky districts, where 28 sand-gravel gravel deposits with total reserves of 238 553 000 m3 have been explored. Nineteen deposits of building materials are being worked. There are 13 recorded sand deposits, including 2 in government reserves. Total reserves in the deposits equal 55 598 000 m3.
Sapropel reserves estimated at 250-270 million tons have been discovered in Yaroslavl Region, most of them concentrated in Nero Lake. Sapropel is used is raw form as fertilizer, and in processed form as a component in manufacturing rubber and paints and in the oil refining industry.
A total of 973 peat deposits with total reserves of 443.6 million tons have been discovered in the region, but only 38 are operating. Several large peat deposits have been declared natural monuments and will not be developed.
Oil accumulations have been discovered, and there are prospects for detecting gas fields as well. The region has no other large explored mineral reserves; however, exploration work is being carried out.
Land reserves amount to 3 617 800 hectares, including 1 151 700 hectares of agricultural land (32% of the region's total area). The agricultural land is divided into cultivated land (801 100 hectares), pasture (225 000 hectares), and hayfields (109 400 hectares).
Local residents care deeply about the natural resources. Construction is carried out under special projects so as not to spoil the region's natural beauty.
Yaroslavl Region's favorable location at the intersection of water and land routes ensures stable domestic and foreign economic ties. The region's figures for GDP, value of fixed capital assets, number of industrial production personnel, and scientific and technical potential are excellent. A highly effective system of market relations is forming: there is a well-developed financial system; a market infrastructure is developing; there has been success in attracting Russian and foreign investments; and joint ventures between industrial enterprises and foreign partners are being set up, creating new jobs and keeping unemployment levels low. The region has developed a diversified economic complex, in which the engineering, fuel, chemical and petrochemical, woodworking, light, food, and construction industries play a leading role.
The engineering and metalworking industry is the region's primary industrial sector, which supplies Russia with a wide variety of products. This industry is actively involved in foreign economic relations with CIS and other foreign countries.
The chemical and petrochemical industry, made up of 17 companies, is one of the region's oldest and most important industrial sectors. This sector accounts for 19% of commercial output. The chemical industry in Yaroslavl Region currently produces more than 73% of all tires, more than 50% of all synthetic rubber, and more than 38% of all paints and varnishes.
The oil refining sector is represented by three companies: AO Yaroslavnefteorgsintez, the Mendeleev Oil Refinery (Yaroslavsky NPZ im. Mendeleeva) in Yaroslavl, and a pilot plant of the All-Russian Petroleum Technology Research Institute (VNIINT). These companies refine 6% of the country's oil and produce 5.7% of the gasoline, 5.7% of the diesel fuel, and 7.1% of the commercial fuel oil. They are also contributing to the development of Russia's foreign economic relations.
Light industry is one of the region's main producers of nonindustrial consumer goods. Clothing, fur and leather goods, and shoes make up 20% of production, and textiles, 79%.
The forest and woodworking industry of Yaroslavl Region generates about 2.5% of all industrial output and employs 3.5% of all industrial workers. Most of the companies in this sector (96%) are auxiliary enterprises that produce goods used by the parent companies. Auxiliary enterprises output 18% of all products and employ 29% of the workers in this sector.
The food and processing industries are implementing some interesting new programs directly related to ecological improvement, for which sizable investments have been allocated. The region's research institutes have placed particular emphasis on these programs.
Agriculture in Yaroslavl Region is mainly concerned with growing potatoes, vegetables, and flax; raising beef and dairy cattle, pigs, and sheep; and fishing (on the Rybinskoe Reservoir).
The region's infrastructure consists of an extensive rail and road network, a modern airport, a river port, and well-developed, modern communication systems.
The presence of a broad network of banks and insurance companies promotes the development of market relations in the regional economy and the expansion of foreign economic activity.
Capital construction in the region is in a critical state due to lack of investment, although gas pipeline construction is proceeding fairly well despite the overall slump. The region is also a leader in highway construction.
Small and private business is well developed in the region and makes a sizable contribution to the regional economy. Trade, purchasing, and transportation services and industrial production account for most of the activity in this sector.
Identifying the most effective projects and lines of activity and utilizing the region's economic resources are the main objectives for economic success. Attracting extrabudgetary investment resources to the regional economy plays an important role in this respect. Yaroslavl Region is one of 16 regions included in the first implementation phase of this project.
Yaroslavl Region has a Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is an independent, nongovernmental, noncommercial public organization. It promotes the creation of favorable conditions for business and the development of economic and scientific ties with foreign organizations and companies. Since the region is quite attractive for both Russian and foreign investors, the development and implementation of investment projects is a priority.
Yaroslavl Region's financial situation is directly dependent on the country's economy; however, on the level of other regions, it is reasonably attractive.
The State Duma of Yaroslavl Region is the region's legislative body. The Duma passes regional laws in the course of exercising the authority of a government body of Yaroslavl Region as a subject of the Russian Federation, unless otherwise specified by law. The Administration of Yaroslavl Region headed by the Governor is the region's executive body.
CULTURE AND ART
When Yaroslav the Wise was building and fortifying his appanage princedom in the early 11th century, he did not forget about the beauty and grandeur of his capital city. Houses and wooden palaces decorated with carved fretwork and other architectural details were built on the grounds of the prince's residence, and many-domed churches with high belfries, galleries, and passages were constructed.
Much later, when Yaroslavl was being redeveloped according to the plan of 1778, a new city center with three new squares was built, while at the same time preserving Epiphany (Bogoyavlenskaya) Square, one of the oldest in the city. The square is the site of a unique work of 17th-century Yaroslavl architecture, the five-domed Epiphany Church, with two rows of decorative curved gables, richly carved brick, and bright tiled friezes. Construction began on houses and public buildings in the classicist style, and cast-iron openwork trellises ornamented the Volga embankment.
The architectural complex known as the Strelka is made up a stone fortress wall (1658-1668) looking out onto the Volga, part of the old city fortifications, a tower, and a two-story metropolitan's palace (1680). Tikhon's Church (1825-1831), the five-domed Church of the Saviour in the City (1672), and Nikola's Church, all facing the Korostel River, and the "Log City" (1695) with a refectory and hipped bell tower are also part of the complex.
A tour of the city's historical sites starts at the former Transfiguration of Christ Monastery (next to Bogoyavlenaya Square), which is now the Yaroslavl Historical and Architectural Museum Preserve. The walls and towers, cathedral and churches, private buildings and palaces, and the monastery's tallest building, the belfry appear in all their splendor before the wonderstruck visitor. These outstanding architectural monuments of the 16th to 19th centuries have witnessed many historic events. Moscow masters built Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral between 1506 and 1516 on the site of a 13th-century church that had burned down in 1501.
The Arcade (Gostiny dvor), one of the most beautiful buildings in the classicist style, stands on Pervomaiskaya Street on the way to the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery. It was built between 1813 and 1818 on the site of the demolished ramparts of the old Fortress City. Another building, the former Pastukhov Hotel (1847-1850), is built in the late classicist style; it is located on the north side of Bogoyavlenskaya Square. The front of this building is covered with a multitude of forms and continuously repeated architectural details. The first floor is designed with arched windows with thin bands of molding, and rectangular head moldings are sculptured above the windows on the second floor. A simple cornice with a low attic completes the building.
Nikola Nadeina Church (1620-1621) stands on the site of the former trade quarter in a circle of two-tiered galleries; Nativity Church (1644) stands out with its elegant gateway bell tower; and Ilya the Prophet Church (1647-1650) delights connoisseurs of antiquity.
Another five-domed church, Nikolai Mokry (1665-1672), with a vestibule of colored tiles, rises in the city center not far from Epiphany Church. Two churches are part of the ensemble in Korovniki: the large five-domed Church of St. John Chrysostom (1649-1654), with galleries and hipped ends, and the miniature five-domed Church of Our Lady of Vladimir (1669), which connect their town with the "Holy Gates". There are many other churches and monuments of the bank of the Volga and within the city limits; many are in the process of being restored.
Yaroslavl's parks and squares are embellished with monuments to actor and playwright F.V. Volkov, poets N.A. Nekrasov and L.E. Trefolev, Marshal of the Soviet Union F.I. Tolbukhin, and a memorial honoring the deeds of Yaroslavl residents during the Second World War.
Karabikha, the estate (now a museum) where Nekrasov lived from 1862 to 1875, is located 15 km from Yaroslavl. A branch of the Yaroslavl Historical and Architectural Museum Preserve in the village of Bolshoe Nikulskoe has an exhibit called "Cosmos" dedicated to the world's first woman cosmonaut. Valentina Tereshkova.
Official Site of the Administration of Yaroslavl Region: