As the legend goes, this town founded in the early 11th century by Prince Yaroslav the Wise, stands exactly at the spot where the Prince killed a bear, on the promontory at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl, its tributary.
Yaroslavl’s history can be traced in its architecture monuments. It was then that the architectural ensembles went up to make Yaroslavl one of the most beautiful cities of old Russia with churches rich in frescoes and ceramic ornamentation.
Among them mention should be made of the Spassky Monastery ensemble (the 13th century) and the group of the 17th century cathedrals, each of them majestic and colourful, as well as the onetime administrative buildings, the mansions of Sorokin, Matvievsky and Vakhromeyev, the Metropolitan’s See, the elegant rotunda and the remnants of Gostiny Dvor (old-time trading center) in Pervomayskaya street, all of them built in the epoch of classicism. Among its most treasured assets are the Drama Theatre, Russia’s first national theatre founded in the mid-18th century by Fyodor Volkov and now bearing his name, and the Art Museum, which possesses nearly 8,000 works of Russian painting, sculpture and graphic art.
The oldest part of the city includes the architectural ensemble of the Strelka (the place where the Kotorosl river flows into the Volga), built in 1658-68, two-story Metropolitan's Chambers (1680s), the Church of Elijah and Tikhon (1825-31), Church of the Savior -na-Gorodu (1672), and Church of St. Nickols Rublenny (of-the-logs),built in 1695. As most of the ancient Russian towns Yaroslavl was originally a wooden fortress.