The ancient and picturesque city of Yaroslavl dates back to 1010 and contains a treasure trove of historical sites and hidden gems. The largest of Russia's "Golden Ring" cities, set at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosl rivers, it's a fixture on river cruise itineraries running between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Yaroslavl's most famous sights and monuments span its thousand years of history, including the icons- and frescoes-filled Church of Elijah the Prophet. The city center, filled with centuries-old onion-domed churches, buildings, and monuments displaying distinctly Russian flair, is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What We Love
Museum of Music and Time: This private collection (amassed by magician John Mostoslavsky) of old musical instruments, bells, gramophones, and antique clocks is a delight to uncover.
Farmers Market: Some shore excursions include a tour through a local covered market to shop for souvenirs and to sample fresh produce; it's an authentic way to brush elbows with locals making their rounds.
Best Known For
Church of Elijah the Prophet: Set in the city center, this 17th-century church is Yaroslavl's star attraction, thanks to its photogenic green domes, ornamental belfry, and interiors filled with impressive, centuries-old religious frescoes.
Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior: This fortified monastery, founded in the 1100s, houses several churches and a bell tower that were constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries, marking some of the oldest architecture in the city.
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Who It's Best For
History Buffs: With a millennium of history to cover, and a well-preserved old town that will have you feeling like a time traveler, Yaroslavl promises generous glimpses into the past.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
No Time to Make Curtain: The Volkov Theatre, with roots dating to 1750, is a cultural icon for the city and Russia; catching a performance here proposes a great treat, though most ships will be long gone before the evening show begins.
Elissa Garay is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.