Founded by Yaroslav the Wise at the spot where the rivers Volga and Kotorosl meet, Yaroslavl grew quickly to become a thriving trading town, with the Volga delivering Persian, Indian, Ottoman and European traders. It still thrives, although now commerce is of the industrial variety. This has not obscured the historic nature of this Golden Ring city - there are so many churches here it would be hard to, even without the protection its UNESCO World Heritage status provides.
So the skyline remains one of steeples and domes, and there is much to marvel at. As the Russian poet Apollon Grigoryev once said ‘Yaroslav is a town of unsurpassed beauty; everywhere is the Volga and everywhere is history.'
From the neoclassical historical centre to the onion cupolas around every corner and monasteries with valuable mural paintings, Yaroslavl remains an outstanding example of the interchange of cultural and architectural influences between Western Europe and the Russian Empire, making it a must-stop-at destination on the Golden Ring route.