Vologda City. St. Sophia Cathedral and the Bell-tower
Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery
Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery
Churches of Veliky Ustyug
Ferapontov Monastery
Bryanchaninov's estate. District of Gryazovets
Museum of Architecture and Ethnography in the village of Semenkovo
Vologda Picture Gallery
Vologda Lace Museum
Vologda Lace Museum
International Lace Festival VITA LACE
Vologda lace
Northern niello
Vologda Regional Acedemic Library
Vologda Regional Acedemic Library
Oblast's Drama Theatre
Oblast's Drama Theatre
Theatre for Children and Youth
Theatre for Children and Youth
Puppet Theatre
Puppet Theatre
International Drama Festival "Voices of History"
International Drama Festival "Voices of History"
Project “Summer in the Kremlin”
Vologda Philharmonic Society
Vologda Philharmonic Society
International music competition named after Valery Gavrilin
International competition for performers on wind and percussion instruments "Northern Rhapsody"
Folklore festival "Village-soul of Russia"
Ded Moroz
Picture by Vladimir Korbakov
Picture by Dzhanna Tutundzhan


The Vologda Oblast is a land of an original art noted for unique and various historical and cultural heritage. The Vologda Oblast developed historically over hundreds of years. Its history has roots in the hoary past. The region made a tangible contribution to the national as well as the world culture. It is famous for the number and significance of its monuments of architecture and archaeology, museums and libraries, all the diversity of handicraft products. Belozersk, Veliky Ustyug, Vologda, Ustyuzhna, Tot'ma and other cities are in fact unique open-air museums.

The ensembles of Spaso-Prilutsky, Kirillo-Belozersky monasteries, the Ferapontov monastery and the Gleden Monastery of the Trinity are of point of interest historically. The monastery of St.Ferapont has won an international renown owing to an artistic work of exceptional value - frescoes belonging to the brush of Moscow-born Dionisy and his sons. The cycle of frescoes devoted to the Virgin (1502) remains a unique monument of medieval painting having national as well as European importance. The iconostasis of the Gleden Monastery located in the District of Veliky Ustyug is considered to be a world masterpiece.

In the 15-17th centuries the monasteries of the Vologda Oblast were involved in the political, economic, religious and cultural life of Russia. The monasteries embodied the rise of Moscow art and Russian national characteristics. According to the chronicle of the Russian Orthodox Church, two thirds of Russian saints were born and lived on the territory of the Vologda Oblast.

There are many monuments of national significance in the region. The most prominent museums are state museum-preserves of Vologda, Kirillov, Veliky Ustyug, museums of Tot'ma and Cherepovets.

On the territory of the Vologda Region there are 746 objects of cultural heritage included in the unified state register of objects of cultural heritage. 216 monuments, archaeological monuments among them, have the status of objects of cultural heritage of federal significance. Dionisy’s frescoes brought international recognition to the Ferapontov monastery, which was included by UNESCO on its World Heritage List in 2000. The UNESCO citation recognized that the wall paintings "are the highest expression of Russian mural art in the 15th-16th centuries."

There are many monuments of national significance in the region. The most prominent museums are state museum-preserves of Vologda, Kirillov, Veliky Ustyug, museums of Tot'ma and Cherepovets.

The region boasts a large collection of archaeological monuments, icons, paintings and sculptures, productions of jewellers and folk artists, books published in Russia before the 18th century and hand-written editions (1 000 000) exhibits all in all).

First-ever Russian Lace Museum started its work in Vologda on November 3rd, 2010 in a two-storeyed building situated along the embankment of the Vologda River, right in the heart of Vologda.

The mission of the Lace Museum is to preserve lace and the art of lace making, to exhibit lace and its historical use and to offer instruction in all facets of lace making.

Put together throughout several years, the museum features domestic needle and bobbin lace from the 17th century onward, along with a display of lace of Austrian, French, German, Polish and Belgian origin, costumes and accessories of the same eras, photos and other materials covering the history of lace. The Lace Museum also provides on-going lace making classes with experienced instructors.

The Vologda Oblast has always been a centre for handicrafts. Even in the heathen times it achieved renown of a region of skilled craftsmen. No account of the artistic development of the region would be complete without mentioning decorative, applied and fine arts.

Among the popular specialties are lace making, the Northern niello, coloured enamels with gold and silver veneer, carving on birch bark, the original technique of "tinplate frosting", woodcuts, production of polychrone tiles and the art of wooden statuary.

Since 2011 Vologda City has become home to the International Lace Festival VITA LACE. The festival is organized by the Vologda Oblast Government with an active backing of the RF President and the RF Ministry of Culture.

The program of the festival includes lace making competitions and exhibitions, thematic lace making workshops, round-table discussions, fashion shows and numerous accompanying events of a creative and cultural nature. The Festival collected everything related to the world of linen industry: fabrics, clothes, textile, souvenirs, as well as looms, spinning machines and accessories.

In 2011 a large open-air master class was held as part of the VITA LACE festival. 570 lace-makers from different regions of Russia and foreign countries gave a master class in the art of lace-making in the city's central square. The members of 10 countries - Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Ireland, Canada, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia as well as representatives from 24 Russian regions took part in this campaign. The lace-makers were set in a special way - in the form of a snowflake, the main lace element. The record-setting was registered by a representative of the Russian Book of Records in the presence of the wife of the Russian president.

The region boasts a highly-developed network of cultural and artistic establishments - libraries, museums, theatres, concert halls, palaces of culture and clubs.

The Vologda Regional Acedemic Library is in charge of the oblast's oldest and largest collection of literature. There are about 1,3 mln volumes in the collection. New materials are constantly acquired. It currently subscribes to periodicals, holds monographs and represents literature of specialized fields. The library aims to become a leading research and information centre in the region using all available means of information technology. Web-access is available to users through the library's local network. The library collection contains CD-ROMs, tapes, discs, videocassettes and language books.

At present there are professional repertory theatres in Vologda - the Oblast's Drama Theatre, the Theatre for Children and Youth, the Chamber Thearte and the Puppet Theatre. They tour the cities and towns of the region and keep Russian stage traditions alive.

Since 1991 Vologda has been home to the International Drama Festival "Voices of History". The success of it has been conditioned by the professionalism of the participants and serious experience, and the ability to combine these qualities with Russian national characteristics. The performances are shown in the open air, in the historical setting of the Vologda Kremlin, which is a point of interest itself. Holding such a festival near the Kremlin is hardly a matter of chance.

The project “Summer in the Kremlin” covering different genres and styles of music was launched in 2002. It alternates with the International Drama Festival “Voices of History”. Every two years the festival welcomes Vologda’s citizens and guests of the city with a special atmosphere.

On summer evenings, concerts and performances during the festival take place in the open air in the unique historical-architectural environment of the Vologda Kremlin.

A twenty-two hour train ride north-east of Moscow brings you to the town of Veliky Ustyug. In 1998 it became home to Ded Moroz, the main holiday-season miracle-maker. The project "Veliky Ustyug - Hometown of the Russian Ded Moroz" was initiated by Administration of Moscow and the Vologda Oblast Government. The main objective of the project is to acquaint the younger generation with the Russian national traditions and the culture of the Russian North as well as to attract Russian and foreign tourists to Veliky Ustyug.

Ded Moroz lives in a wooden palace in the pine forests at Votchina 15 km off the town of Veliky Ustyug on a cliff above the Sukhona River. His estate with its whimsical chambers hosts many festivals, competitions and New Year’s celebrations. This is also where Russian kids address their letters when they write to share their New Year’s wishes with Ded Moroz.

Music competitions held in the Vologda Region have gained worldwide fame - the International music competition named after Valery Gavrilin and the International competition for performers on wind and percussion instruments "Northern Rhapsody".

The cultural life of the cities and towns on the territory of the Vologda Oblast is very diverse - musical festivals, folk events, open-air merrymaking and others.

The Vologda Oblast is a powerhouse of literature and reading the works of Vologda’s authors is a great way to get an insight into the oblast and the country. For proof, have a look at the work of poets Nikolai Rubtsov, Alexander Yashin, Olga Fokina, novelists Vasily Belov and Sergey Vikulov.

Among the greatest artists are Platon Tyurin,, Genrietta Burmagina and Nikolai Burmagin, Vasily Vereshchagin, Dzhanna Tutundzhan, Vladimir Korbakov, Valery Strakhov, Yury Voronov, Alexander Panteleev and many others.

Photos: cultinfo.ru