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Great Ustyug

If one looks at the map , the north east of Vologda region seems far far nook, cut off from the large civilization. But in remote areas of Russia there are also many places, capable to surprise even worldly-wise travelers. On the bank of the river Sukhona at its junction with the Yug river, by radiant whiteness, as if the holiday of centuries, the Great Ustyug a miracle-city, a fairy tale and a song of the northern Russia, is seen.
The surrounding area represents a gently rolling plain. The right bank of the Sukhona river is low, flat, with a flood-lands terrace, width of which is up to three kilometers. The left bank is high, steep.

The climate of Ustyug

Climate of Great Ustyug is moderate continental. Winters are long and cold, and summers is moderate warm. The average annual temperature makes up +1.4ºC. The coldest month is January (the fixed minimum is -49ºC), the warmest one is July.
Winter in the native land of the Grandfather Frost lasts for a long time. Winter season begins, as a rule, on November, 10, when the ground is covered by steady snow cover. Last "winter" month in Great Ustyug is March. Duration of the steady snow cover on the average makes up 161 day per a year. The highest snowdrifts here can be seen at the end of February - the beginning of March.

If spring is early, snowdrifts, warmed up by its heat, start to sink before eyes already in the third decade of March. And if the spring is long and cold, destruction of the snow cover happens not earlier than at the end of April, and even at the beginning of May. And still, usually by April, 10 a mercury column of the thermometer steps over a zero mark, and by April, 20 only memoirs are left about once snowy snowdrifts.

In Great Ustyug even in the beginning of summer frosts may happen. The nature can present such surprises up to the middle of June. As a rule, cold snaps are connected with the anticyclones coming to Great Ustyug from Greenland and the Kara sea.

Warm air weights of the Atlantic frequently come into the city in autumn, that is why autumn is, as a rule, quiet (if not taking into consideration "violence" of paints in the surrounding nature). Alas, this wonderful period last for a short period of time - already to the middle of November the ground is covered with the snow carpet. Much earlier, in the beginning of September first ground frosts happen, in the middle of September - frosts in the air.

The history of the city

The emblem of Great Ustyug symbolically emphasizes the favourable geographical location due to which in olden time the city was a trading center of Russia. Stretching on the river bank in horseshoe form, white stone cathedrals, belfries, private residences looked at oneself in the water mirror of the slow beauty Sukhona river, as if coming from a fairy tale.

Today Geat Ustyug has the population about 36 thousand people, a quay and port in the Sukhon river, the tourist center and a unique city-museum in the open-air. It is famous for niello products of the world famous factory Northern niello, products of factory Great Ustyug patterns, kept national craft of XVIII century wood and elm engraving, production of weavers and Great Ustyug brush factories goes far beyond Russia, and Ustyug milled boots called by people "valenki", warm inhabitants of the Far North and the middle belt of Russia.

The first mention about this town was in 1207 year, where it was part of Rostov princedom. Any mighty princedom is always aimed to broaden its ownership. Rostov Suzdal tasrs decided to join their ownerships the place in conjunction of two rivers Sukhona and Yug. This new village was called Ustyug. It was built in high bank, fenced in one side by river, from another side deep ravine. By nature itself this place was adapted for creating a stronghold, the ditches' existence more strengthened its defensive possibilities.
In 1328 year under the governing of Ivan Kalita, Great  Ustyug was included in the part of Moskow princedom. Later Ivan the terrible maintained the town a title Great. In 1613 year the town was laid siege to Poles, but backed the enemy's attack. In XVI century this town was part of Arkhangelsk region, in 1780 year became the regional town, in 1796 year Great Ustyug turned to uyezd town of Vologda region.

Sights of monuments of the nature

Interesting feature of Great Ustyug is full absence of any ancient wooden constructions. In the middle of XVII century there were no other building materials as trees, but in the second part of XVII century it became a period of stone developing. The stone building was connected with the rich merchant class people and churches. Wooden constructions turned into stone, and after the fire in 1772 year a lot of stone building were erected. City walls have never been and after the Vague time have never been updated and used.

Cathedral yard is the main temple ensemble of Great Ustyug. Includes in itself the Uspensky cathedral (1652-63) with bell tower, the cathedral of Prokopy Pravdenny (1668), the cathedral of Ioann Ustyuzhkov (XVII -m XIX cent.) and also several churches and buildings.

The church of Ascension (1648) with side-altars, galleries and a tent belfry were kept. It is the earliest one of the kept monuments of Ustyug stone architecture.

The Michailo-Arkhangelsky monastery based in 1212, it is the second important temple, the main stone buildings were built in the second part of XVII century. In the center of the monastery the monumental five-domed Michailo-Arkhangelsky cathedral with a tent belfry adjoining to it rises. Near the cathedral there is a one-pillared refectory with a small church of introduction and a two-storied corps of brothers cells in baroque style. Wall paintings (XVII XIX cent.) are kept for present time.

Trinity Gledensky cloister is situated at the distance of 4 km from the town on the opposite bank of River Sukhona. This cloister was created in XII century. The residence is surrounded by not high fence with gates (XVIII). At the centre there is the five domed Troizky cathedtarl with gallery and hipped bell tower. Ornamented tiles are decorated cathedral's facades. In the temples interior is kept carved wooden five   tiers iconostasis of XVIII century with sculptural decor in baroque style. This museum is opened in summer.
The bast shoe monument. In Great Ustyug there is a  monument devoted to the bast shoe. Such unusual sight attracts tourist to the town. The monument represents itself the bast shoe in height 2,5 metres, engrave from aspen log.

Strelnensky forest. The territory occupies the area of 6627 ha. It is located in two landscape areas, about in 70 kilometers to the south-west from Great Ustyug in the Lower and Middle current along the left bank of the Strelna river. Here there are trees of 160 years old. For example, Siberian fir. Shrub layer is rarefied and submitted by mountain ash, bird cherry, blueberry, honeysuckle, red currant, dogrose. In herb-shrubby layer usual are: bilberry, beadruby, oxalis, stone berry, starflower, bottlebrush. Rare and subject to protection in the area are: fir Siberian, sweet-berry honesuckle, buckler fern, Atragene sibirica, daphne, ladys slipper, etc. There are many animals: lamb, wild boar, hare. According to hunters, fox, bear, wolf, lynx, marten, ermine, fiber, chipmunk are found.
In flora coniferous woods prevail: pine forests, fir groves. Small-leaved woods (birch forests, grey alder groves) occupy 3,2 % of the natural boundary area. In shrub layer mountain ash prevails, in herb-shrubby layer - cowberry, bilberry, wood rush, beadruby, starflower, moss. The pine forest is rich in mushrooms. On its territory are plants, rare in the region, are registered: love-in-winter, larch Siberian.

Great Ustyug zoological reserve

Its area is 34,6 thousand ha. It is located in the basin of the Luzhenga river and its confluents the Sebra, Kortyuga, Perovka. The reserve has played its role in restoration of beaver in the region (as a specific reserve) and now serves the purposes of support of other kinds of the hunting animals population. In 1989 it was declared a zoological state. In the reserve pine woods prevail.
The fauna is typical for taiga zone: wolf, lynx. On its territory lambs, weasel, ermine, marten, squirrel, mountain hare, upland fowl.

Silica clays (Opoki)

The biggest river of Vologda region is Sukhona, famous its sands spits and rapids, picturesque banks, but the most amazing places on this river are silica clays.
From Great Ustyug to silica clays is more than 70 km. This Silica clays - the name of steep bend and most dangerous rapids on the river. Here is the most race (speed reaches 5m/sec). In ancient Russian language the word Opoka meant a rock.
On the river's sand bars one can find fossils, geode with quarts and amethyst, many coloured flints
They were brought from Karelia's ice and Kolsky peninsula. To the beginning of navigation in 1947 year works were finished. However, in time of first flood, the river broke the most part of dam.
In 1963 year Opoki were included in the part of state monument of nature. In XXI Opoki got a status of landscape wildlife preserve.

Waterfall Basils Spring

It located in the left bank of the Sukhona river opposite the mouth of the Chernushka brook. The area of it is 50 ha. Basils Spring is a descending spring in waterfall form, height of which is 10 m above water edge in the Sukhona river. There is a legend about a Basil who became angry about something and by a hand blow split a cliff from which a spring gushed. The spring begins at the bottom of very deep Pike (Chertov) lake. About for five kilometers it flows under the ground and upper village Lower Tozma Opokskaya becomes exposed. Water in the spring fresh, pure. Temperature of water is 5ºC. The waterfall exists already for several centuries.

Visiting Grandfather Frost

Not far from the town a magic grove with wooden sculptures of fantastic characters, a wonderful track and entertainments for children stretches near the city. In the middle of it there is a palace-tower. Here Grandfather Frost with his grand daughter Snow Maiden live. Snow Maidens image is a symbol of stiffened waters. 
About 400 thousand letters from Russia, near and far abroad (For 2005406126 letters) come to address of the Grandfather Frost. Alas, many people dont know still the post address of the Grandfather Frost, but letters reaches the addressee address line to Grandfather Frost, personally. On a visit to Grandfather Frost not only children, and not only in the winter come: even weddings are conducted in his ancestral lands! Small villages extremely with cold names Studenaya (Ice cold), Morozovitsa (from word frost), etc. - surround Granfathers estate.

In Great Ustyug by all means you should try local dishes: gingerbreads, fragrant tinctures and, certainly, open pies with wood berries - shangi. And the best memory about the city is, undoubtedly, niello: utensils, cups, caskets, ornaments, and also souvenirs from Grandfather Frost.

It`s interesting

The hot spring is the only place in Russia, combining medicinal properties of mineral waters of Essuntuky type and hydrosulfide baths of Sochi-Modest type.


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