Location: 450 km to the north of Moscow, 600 km to the south-east of St.Petersburg
Geographic coordinates: latitude 59° 13", longitude 39° 53"
Vologda is the largest in the oblast and one of the most important in the North of Russia junctions of railways, automobile roads and airways. Vologda is a river port which stands on the river with the same name.
River communication: an access to the White Sea via the Vologda river, the Sukhona and the Northern Dvina; an access to the Caspian, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean via the Northern Dvina Channel and the Volga-Baltic water system.
Vologda is a major transportation hub, located at the intersection of highways, railways and waterways.
The public transport network is well developed in the city: There are both bus and trolleybus lines. The city has four big automobile bridges: two automobile bridges across the Vologda River and two bridges across railways. There is one pedestrian bridge (the Red bridge) in the city center.
Vologda is not only a city of historical and cultural importance. It is a major industrial town with numerous enterprises many of which are known for unique technologies and products having no analogues abroad.
Vologda takes the first place in the region in terms of production and distribution of electricity, gas, water and retail sales.
The largest enterprises in the city are the Vologda Bearing Factory, Vologda Optical and Mechanical Plant, Vologda Dairy Plant.
All in all there are 57 medium-sized and large industrial enterprises producing a large variety of products. Vologda is a machine building and metal processing centre of the oblast.
Every year Vologda becomes home to an International Fair and Exhibition “Russian Flax”, the “Russian Wood”, an international exhibition for innovation technologies to be applied in the timber industry, “Gates to the North”, an inter-regional event, show and exhibition for the tourism industry and others.
Attractions and tourism
Vologda is one of the cities that preserve the heritage of the North Russian school of architecture. Many visitors to the city admire the unique architecture of the ancient buildings of Vologda.
In Vologda, 224 monuments of architecture and history are designated as cultural monuments of federal significance. The city is put on the list of 116 Russian cities of priceless historic heritage.
In the panorama of its historical centre the dominant feature is presented by the city's oldest building - the St. Sophia Cathedral (16th century).
The St.Sophia Cathedral with its gigantic Bell Tower became the symbol of Vologda. Built under the order of Ivan the Terrible, five – domed St.Sophia cathedral is the first stone temple of the town. It is modelled on the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin. A bell-tower next to the cathedral rises to a height of over 78 metres (256 feet).
Majestic St. Sophia cathedral was built in the pure Byzantine style, while the church tower nearby was built by a European architect in the Gothic style. It is topped not with the Gothic steeple, but with the Orthodox "onion" cupola. The two architectural styles, Byzantine and Gothic, co-existed and were apprehended as the signs of the times.
The Vologda Kremlin
The Vologda Kremlin is the main pride of Vologda. Now it houses the Vologda State Museum-Preserve of History, Architecture and Decorative Arts. It is one of the largest museums of Russia's North. The ensemble of monuments was built during four centuries (XVI- XIX).
The Vologda State museum-preserve is a scientific - exploring and educational organisation, state storage of artistic, historical, architectural memorials of material and spiritual culture and as well as memorials of nature. The Vologda Kremlin has an area of more than 10,000 square metres (2.5 acres), and it contains natural-science, historical, and art museums, as well as other exhibition halls, which contain more than 400,000 pieces of art, including ancient icons, manuscripts, early printed books, and articles crafted by Vologda silversmiths. The most valuable collections are the collection of Russian Ancient Art (icons), sculpture, numismatics, Old Russian books and others.
The museum is annually visited by 200 thousand people. More than 30 expositions on various topics are created every year; international and all-Russian scientific conferences, practical seminars are held in the museum.
Memorial Museum of Peter I
Memorial Museum of Peter the Great is located in a one-storeyed building which stands on the Vologda River. The house is a historical and architectural monument of the late 17th century.
Peter I visited Vologda on several occasions in 1692-1724 and he always stayed in this house. The house was restored and turned into a museum by the emperor's decree in 1895.
Now the museum is a one-room display that is divided into several sections. On display in the first section are potraits of renowned statesmen of the time and Peter I's bronze bust. In the second section one can see oil potraits of Peter the Great and Catherine I. In the glass showcase there are Peter's clothes - an everyday coat and a festive one. Other historic relics present Peter I's manifold activities and include an old map of Russia, a book about Russia published in France and books about Peter's glorious deeds.
The exhibits in the third section display Peter I's contribution into the Russian development. There are engravings showing Peter I's war victories. Other exhibits feature the emperor's activities in reforming the Russian Army - the Military Rules, cannons and cannon-balls of the time, soldiers' military outfit.
Batyushkov Memorial Flat
In the heart of Vologda there is a house where Konstantin Batyushkov, the famous Russian poet, lived from 1833 to 1855. The inscription on a commemorative marble plaque on its round corner reads: "Konstantin Nikolayevich Batyushkov lived and passed away in this house on July 7, 1855."
The interior in the Batyushkov Memorial Flat was restored thanks to the poet's contemporaries. The room looks the same as it was decribed in the reminicences. Two potraits of Batyushkov (one painted by an anonimous artist, another by O.Kiprensky) attract the visitor's attention.
The list of books Batyushkov was interested in was impressive. Here are some of them by Montel, Volter, Goethe, ancient poets and philosophers.
Among the exhibits at the memorial flat is a Symbolic Window through which we can see a peculiar poet's corner which embodies the world of the poet's dreams and inspirations.
The classical interior, twinkling light, various articles, the shadow of the muse seem to be unreal and fantastic. But that is what K.Batyushkov poetry was like.
The only modern piece of furniture here is a grand-piano. It has become customary to organize concerts of chamber music in the sitting-room of the Memorial Flat.
The name of the city - Vologda - is in the language of one of the Ugro-Finnish tribes which populated the North means clear. There can be no doubt that the word described the river and was later used for the city.
Vologda is one of the few northern cities whose history goes back to the pre-Mongol period.
Foundation of the city of Vologda - 1147.
Foundation of an administrative centre - September 23, 1937.
The history of the city of Vologda begins with the Trinity Monastery raised by the monk Gerasim. This fact was first mentioned in 1147 in the life description of Reverend Gerasim. And the year 1147 is considered to be the foundation date of Vologda. Vologda takes its name from the Vologda River which flows through the city. Its name means "the pure one" in the language of indigenous Finno-Ugric population.
The advantageous geographical location at the intersection of waterways made the city of Vologda an apple of discord in the 13th and 15th centuries. Late in the 14th century Moscow's grand prince Vasily Dmitrievich annexed Vologda to his possessions. Since then Vologda became an appanage of Moscow's princes.
Many princes came to Vologda at that time. And the purpose of their visits was different. Some of them visited the city with good intentions, others robbed, burnt and ravaged the city. But Vologda stood all the adversities and rebuilt the damaged territory. Fortifications, bridges, houses, churches, trade and industrial premises were originally built of wood. Throughout five centuries the Resurrection Church situated on Lenivaya Square was the centre of the city. Stone buildings were erected in the 16th and 17th centuries. The oldest among them is the St.Sophia Cathedral that was founded under Tsar Ivan the Terrible in 1565-1570.
The reign of Ivan the Terrible led to the rapid expansion of Vologda. Vologda grew and quickly became one of the most important trade centres of Russia. At that time the city dealt with Siberia via the Sukhona river and the Vychegda, with England, Holland and other countries where the navy routes were laid through the White Sea.
In the 16th century Vologda witnessed a trade boon. Some foreign merchants opened their offices in Vologda. This is what a British trade agent wrote about Vologda in 1554: "This is a big city in the heart of Russia, surrounded by many good cities and towns. There is an abundance of bread here. Nearly every Russian city trades with Vologda."
Ivan the Terrible visited Vologda on several occasions. He wanted to set up a new residence in the city. A wooden palace and a church were built for the tsar family. The construction of a "brick town" in Vologda was launched by Ivan the Terrible in 1566. The Vologda Kremlin was originally meant to become a Tsar Residence since Ivan IV wanted to secure himself from a probable rebellion. Unfortunately the Mongolian invasion in 1571-1572 into Moscow damaged the construction of the Vologda Kremlin that could compare well with the Moscow Kremlin. A legend says that the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible was eager to include Vologda in his private domain or oprichnina (special administrative élite). But something ill-omened occurred: a piece of brick accidentally fell onto the Tsar's head, and he made his getaway to Moscow.
During the interregnum known as the Time of Troubles at the beginning of the 17th century the city and the outskirts of it were devastated.
The reign of Michael, first tsar of the Romanov Dynasty was a good time for Vologda. With the return to prosperous trade with Western Europe in the 17th century, the Vologda Kremlin was rebuilt.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the city of Vologda was situated on the both banks of the Vologda River including the Kremlin and 3 posads (craftsmen's districts). The Kremlin was an administrative and trade centre of the city. It also became a military outpost. And it was from the Vologda Kremlin that Peter I started his war compaigns against Sweden which were crowned by glorious victories of the Russian Army and the foundation of St.Peterdburg. The warehouses of Vologda stored military outfit and technical equipment which were brought from Moscow to be transferred to Arkhangelsk where Peter the Great planned to built new fortresses and shipbuilding yards for the Russian navy.
Peter I contributed greatly to the city's heritage. By the middle of the 17th century, Vologda was enjoying great prosperity. It boasted highly developed flax and wood processing, tanning industry and blacksmith's work.
Under the decree of Catherine II Vologda became a centre of the Vologda gubernia (province).
Though over the following centuries the city has been modified and renovated, the administrative buildings, stone and wooden mansions raised in the 19th century are restored to their original appearance. Construction of a railway line connecting Vologda and Yaroslavl in 1872 boosted the city's development.
Early in the 20th century Vologda became an industrial centre of Russia's North-West. It focused on tanning industry, cloth, sugar and rope production. A locomotive depot, water supply system, telephone office, electric power station were built in the city. Vologda achieved renown of a city of skilled craftsmen. Original and distinctive is lace making.