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
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
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
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
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
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
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, lady’s 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
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 “Basil’s 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. “Basil’s 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 Maiden’s image is a symbol of
About 400 thousand letters from Russia, near and far
abroad (For 2005406126 letters) come to address of the Grandfather Frost. Alas,
many people don’t 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 Granfather’s 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.