Yaroslavl Travel Guide

Yaroslavl Travel Guide



Yaroslavl is one of the most beautiful cities in the Golden Ring with a thousand-year history. It attracts visitors with its lovely embankment on the Volga River, numerous churches and cosy small-town atmosphere. The city’s historical centre features in the UNESCO world heritage list, and in 2010, Yaroslavl celebrated its 1000 th anniversary.

Historical Overview

The town was first mentioned in 1071. However, it was actually founded a little earlier, when Yaroslav the Wise began to construct a new fortress. The town began to grow quickly. In the 13th century, the town became the capital of the Yaroslavl Principality.

During the Mongol-Tatar invasion of 1238, the town was nearly burnt down. The Yaroslavl army took part in the victorious Kulikovo battle. In 1463, the city was annexed to the Moscow Principality, and in the 17th century, it became one the region’s largest economic and political centres. While Moscow was occupied by Polish and Lithuanian interventionists, Yaroslavl was the capital of the country for six months.
The 17th century became the golden age of Yaroslavl. After Peter the Great’s reforms, Yaroslavl lost its importance, but remained a major trade centre. Its first theatre was opened in 1750. During the reign of Catherine II, Yaroslavl became the centre of the province. At the same time, a new city development plan was approved. During the Patriotic War of 1812, Yaroslavl supported Moscow, and the main military hospital opened there. A railway linking Yaroslavl with Moscow opened in 1883.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Yaroslavl was considered one of the largest towns in Central Russia, and the Volga Shipping Company was located there. It became one of the most attractive cities in the Volga region, with a beautiful promenade and boulevard.
In 1918, Yaroslavl became a place of rebellions against Soviet power. During the mutiny, the centre of the town was extensively damaged. Some buildings, including the Demidov Lyceum, were destroyed. Many of the churches were demolished in the 1930s.
After the Revolution, Yaroslavl became a major industrial centre, specialising in the chemical industry. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII), the entire industry of Yaroslavl was reorganised to produce military products which played an important role in the defence of the country. Over half a million inhabitants of the town and the whole region were sent to the front, almost half of whom were killed. Later, the town was included in the Golden Ring, the most ambitious tourist project of the Soviet period. Every year, about 320 000 tourists visit Yaroslavl. In 2003, the city was awarded the EU flag for the contribution it made to the development of international relations. In 2010, Yaroslavl celebrated its millennium. A zoo was opened, and many cultural monuments and buildings were restored and renovated.

Where to Stay

The best place for accommodation is the Volga embankment, not far from a lovely promenade. Have a look at the Parus Hotel, Baccara, Yubileinaya Hotel or Parade Hotel near the Gubernatorsky Garden. In the city centre, the prices are the same: Boutique Hotel Modern, Hostel Cherdak or Ibis Yaroslavl Centre. Most hotels offer free breakfasts and parking, good availability and great rates.

Bars and Restaurants

In Yaroslavl, you can try Russian and international cuisine. For example, Buffet No 1 with its art nouveau exterior offers a wide selection of salads, meat dishes and even Asian noodles. In Podbelka, they serve traditional vareniki and pelmeni, dumplings with vegetables or meat, along with some Georgian dishes like khachapuri or khinkali. In Ioann Vasilyevich, you can try Russian favourites, from Olivier salad to pelmeni and shchi (cabbage soup). Both tourists and locals also recommend Family Café Anderson, the Restaurant on the Seafront, Dudkibar, Penaty and Vanilnoe Nebo. You can even visit the all-vegan café, Oatmeal Organic, which serves tofu omelettes, vegan burgers and smoothies.

What to See


  • The Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour is one of the main sights of Yaroslavl, which was built in the 12-13th centuries to protect the Yaroslavl Kremlin on the west side. The exact date of its construction is unknown, but the first mention of the monastery appears in the historical documents and dates back to 1186. Initially, the Monastery was made of wood. It’s a spiritual and cultural centre and has a large library containing Russian and Greek manuscripts.
  • The Music and Time Museum has a wide collection of clocks, bells and gramophones, most of which are in working condition.
  • The Epiphany Church is a splendid example of 17th-century architecture built of red bricks. Here you will see colourful ceramic tiles, magnificent frescoes and a six-tier iconostasis.
  • The city’s Art Museum showcases items of 18-20th-century Russian art.
  • The Annunciation Cathedral was destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1937, but today you can see its modern replica with a stone monument and Strelka Park nearby.
  • Yaroslavl Millennium Park located on Kotoroslnaya Embankment is a very pleasant place for a stroll. Its construction began in 2009 on the site of the former race track, and it was finally opened in 2010 to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Yaroslavl. There are playgrounds, facilities for skateboarders, roller skaters and an entertainment zone for children.
  • The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded in 1215 by order of Rostov Prince Constantine. It was the most ancient stone building in Yaroslavl and existed in its original form until 1501, when a fire broke out and destroyed the building.
  • Kotoroslnaya Embankment and Volzhskaya Embankment are pleasant places to walk along and visit the various museums and churches located nearby.
  • The colourful Archangel Michael’s Church was built in the 17th century, and is a red-stone building with five green domes. Here, you will find a tall bell tower and rich interior decorated with frescoes.
  • Our Lady of Kazan Chapel is an elegant white monument in honour of Minin and Pozharsky, who protected Moscow from the Poles.
  • The construction of the white Dormition Eparchial Cathedral with its numerous golden domes was started in 1215 for the Bishop of Yaroslavl. It was destroyed by fire in 1501 and again in 1658. The fifth version of the Cathedral was started in 2004 and completed in 2010, before the millennium celebrations. The interior works are still continuing.


Yaroslavl is about 300 km from Moscow, and the fastest way to get there (3-4 hours) is by train, which comes into Glavny Train Station. You can also travel by bus from Moscow Central bus station, but this will take you 5 hours or more, depending on traffic jams. The city’s public transport includes trolleybuses, buses, taxis and marshrutkas (fixed-route taxis). The city has good transport connections with other cities and towns. Don’t forget to take a short cruise along the Volga from Yaroslavl River Port, which is located near the city centre. Tunoshna Airport is located 18 km from the city, but the only destination served is St Petersburg.