After a three hour drive from Suzdal we arrive at the outskirts of Kostroma and a first glimpse of the mighty Volga, already over 1Km wide at this point. There is only one road bridge across the river and this has been under renovation for the last couple of years. They have just managed to keep two lanes of traffic open but this has to cope with the construction site as well. And needless to say we had to cross it ! 2 1/2 hours later we make it onto the bridge and get to where we are going, And yes there is a Kremlin and a set of churches but then its time to head back over the bridge and onto Yaroslavl.
Kostroma is a large city which used to have a thriving textile industry but no longer and so is now a city in decline and unless they build a new bridge or at least finish the old one, is likely to decline further !! As totally inept construction projects go (and I have seen a few !) this one definitely qualifies for the Gold Medal. Another 1 1/2 hours to get back on the bridge and off we go to Yaroslavl……..
A much better vibe and situated at the confluence of the mighty Volga and Kotorosi rivers. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible he did a deal with English merchants to allow them duty free access to the Volga (remember no roads!) in exchange for armaments etc so some lovely old merchants house and palaces etc. An inevitable Kremlin, several monasteries, cathedrals and churches including the 17th Century Church of Elijah the Prophet (the earlier one was torched by the Mongol Tartar hoards and has been rebuilt and restored on numerous occasions:-
A jaw dropping iconostasis and frescoes everywhere !!!
A night in Yaroslavl, Dinner in an Irish Pub – a couple of pints of Guinness and one of the best steaks ever and off to bed.
Up early for the last two stops on the Golden Ring – Rostov the Great and Peroslavl-Zalessky before heading back into Moscow and more roof terrace McMafia………in preparation for the Volga Dream experience and Cruise.
Rostov The Great
Rostov was founded in 11th Century and at one stage was the seat of a Grand Duke, and cities such as Vladimir, Yaroslavl , Uglich and even Moscow, were subordinate to it. So needless to say it has its own Kremlin and associated Monasteries and Churches. Situated on the banks of Lake Nero its bells can be heard across the lake and surrounding countryside.
Founded in 1152 by the extremely energetic Yury Dolgoruky who had already founded Moscow. Peroslavl was ruled between 1238 & 1263 by the legendary Alexander Nevsky whose main claim to fame was his victories over the Swedes and The Teutonic Nights (think Germans with dustbins on their heads). Immortalised in Sergie Eisensteins movie called surprise surprise Alexander Nevsky !
It boasts another very ancient limestone Cathedral within the remains of the Kremlin and a beautiful monastery on the shores of Lake Pleshchayevo
So now its back to Moscow for a three day list of excursions before boarding the Volga Dream for the cruise up the Volga.