Bryanchaninov's estate. District of Gryazovets

Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery

Museum of Architecture and Ethnography in the village of Semenkovo

Veliky Ustyug - an open air museum

Opening of Lace Museum

Theatrical festival Voices of History

Festival Voices of History

VOICES Festival. Krzysztof Zanussi, an outstanding Polish producer and film director

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 and the Ferapont monastery are of point of interest historically. The monastery of St.Ferapont has won an international renown owing to an artistic work of exceptional value - frescos belonging to the brush of Moscow-born Dionisius and his sons. The cycle of frescos devoted to the Virgin (1502) remains a unique monument of medieval painting having national as well as European importance.

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 2/3 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.

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. Inspired by Vologda's legacy of lace making that goes back centuries, Vologda Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Pozgalyov took the initiative to open a lace museum. His idea was supported by Russia's President Dmitri Medvedev and RF Government.

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.

From June 23rd through 25th, 2011 Vologda hosted the 1st International Lace Festival VITA LACE. The festival was organized by the Vologda Oblast Government with an active backing of the RF President, the RF Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Agriculture.

The program of the festival included lace making competitions and exhibitions, thematic lace making workshops, round-table discussions, fashion shows and numerous accompanying events of a creative and cultural nature.

Trade visitors from 36 Russian regions and 17 countries attended it. Foreign companies from Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Australia and Ukraine displayed their products, equipment and achievements in flax cultivation and processing.

In general, the Festival collected everything related to the world of linen industry: fabrics, clothes, textile, souvenirs, as well as looms, spinning machines and accessories.

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 oblast 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 (900 000 exhibits all in all).

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 specialities 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.

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

Here the continuity of the old cultural traditions has been kept up to a great degree. The Vologda Regional Acedemic Library is in charge of the oblast's oldest and largest collection of literature. There are about 1,2 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 five professional repertory theatres in Vologda - the Oblast's Drama Theatre, the Theatre for Children and Youth, the Chamber Thearte, the Puppet Theatre and the Cabaret-Theatre "Art Reprise". They tour the cities and towns of the oblast and keep Russian stage traditions alive.

Since 1991 Vologda has been home to the Russian theatrical festival "Voices of History". In summer 2010 Vologda hosted the festival for the 10th time. 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. In 2010 the "Voices of History" attracted the most skilful actors and repertory theatres from Russia, Greece, Ukraine and the USA.

From July 5 through 10, 2011 Vologda hosted the II International festival of Young European Cinema VOICES (Vologda Independent Cinema from European Screens Festival). The Festival combines both competition and directors' workshops. The competition includes a selection of first and second full-length fictions by European directors. In 2011 the festival was included in the calendar of the Year of Russian culture and Russian language in Italy and Year of Italian culture and Italian language in Russia. Representatives of the Italian cinematography were among the honored guests.

The VOICES are organised by the RF Ministry of Culture, the Vologda Oblast Government, the Administration of Cherepovets and the Administration of the Vologda City with an active support of ID-reel, a French company that runs the festival. Diverse activities were opened to the public such as open-air screenings, exhibitions, and free concerts - not to forget the ceremonies of Opening and Closure.

Surrounded by wooden houses, authentic Russian churches and a breathtaking local Kremlin, VOICES gave the opportunity to the people of Vologda to take part in the festival's activities and discover European cinema by attending daily screenings including a competition composed of 10 European first and second full-length movies, and the out-of-competition presenting three panoramas: European, Russian and Italian.

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 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 N.Rubtsov, A.Yashin, O.Fokina, novelists V.Belov and S.Vikulov. Among the greatists artists are A.Panteleev, G.Burmagin and N.Burmagin, D.Tutundzhan, V.Korbakov and many others.