District of Veliky Ustyug


Veliky Ustyug is a northern town that retains in its historical part features of the 17th-18th century architecture and lay-out. It is in fact a unique open-air museum. It is an ancient Russian city, a contemporary of Moscow and Vologda.

A group of old churches, prominent in the panorama opening from the Sukhona River, form the nucleus of the historical centre. This part of Veliky Ustyug abounds with buildings of civic and ecclesiastic use which were designed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Much of its charm and originality the old town owes to an ingenious system of spacial correlations on which the lay-out of its streets and squares is based. Dwelling houses of baroque and classical design alternate with buildings of religious purpose: the monastery of the Archangel Mikhail, the group of churches that once belonged to the Saviour Monastery, the Church of the Ascension which is the oldest in the town (1648).

No account of the artistic development of the town would be complete without mentioning decorative, applied and fine arts. The productions of Veliky Ustyug's folk artists are original and distinctive. The local traditions of decorative and applied arts have their roots in the hoary past. The Severnaya Chern workshop perpetuates a remnant of the town's former exotic trading connections. There, craftsmen produce fine niello silverwork of a kind not seen anywhere else in northern Europe - delicate black alloy inlaid on engraved silver.

The town offers an unforgettable journey to Father Frost, who lives in his wooden palace in the forests at Votchina a few miles outside Veliky Ustyug. Father Frost, the Snow Maiden and their helpers operate a year round business, but naturally things are at their most feverish in the run-up to the New Year. Father Frost and the Snow Maiden also travel outside Russia.

In additions to walking tours through the town's picturesque streets and to its most prestigious architectural monuments, Veliky Ustyug offers vacations for active, inquisitive travellers who are looking for unique adventures. These adventures focus on activities such as hiking, river rafting, fishing and hunting.

The peculiarity of the district consists in the vicinity of the wildlife which is unique in its beauty, with the ancient monuments of history and architecture. Forests contain an abundance of wilderness, wildlife and spectacular beauty.

The Veliky Ustyug State Museum-Preserve tells the story of the development of the region paying attention to people's way of life in the preceding centuries.