Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

In the ancient northern city, the eyes are asking for hours to look at wooden houses with rich carvings and platbands, the legs are going for the next portion of delicious dairy products, and the soul is asking to linger longer in the cozy historical center and be imbued with provincial tranquility.

We prepared a guide from local resident Yana Sergeeva and collected all the most interesting city locations in it: monuments of wooden architecture, unusual art objects and museums, cozy restaurants and coffee shops.

How to get there

By plane, train or car from Moscow. By car from the capital to Vologda, travel 480 km (about six hours on the road) along the M8 Kholmogory highway (via Sergiev Posad and Yaroslavl).

The cost of plane tickets from Moscow starts from 9,500 rubles* in both directions. Flight time is about 1.5 hours.

Round-trip train tickets in a reserved seat carriage start from 1,000 rubles*. The journey takes approximately eight hours one way.

Where to stay

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

In the three-star Palisade hotel (rating 8.8), which is located in a quiet location a two-minute walk from the Kremlin. The building looks like a small wooden tower, decorated with beautiful white carvings. The hotel has cozy rooms and also has a restaurant that serves buffet breakfast. You can book a room from 2,800 rubles* per day.

In the intimate hotel “Library Boutique” (rating 9.3), the interiors of which are decorated based on the classics of world literature. There are rooms stylized, for example, after the works “The Count of Monte Cristo”, “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”. There is also a sauna with a swimming pool and a gastrobar. The cost of accommodation starts from 4,000 rubles* per night.

At the five-star Aria Spa Hotel (rating 9.0) with spacious rooms and cozy suites. Here you can relax in the spa area with a swimming pool and sauna or in the restaurant with a lobby bar on the ground floor. A night for two will cost from 5,500 rubles*.

When to go

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

To make your trip comfortable, come to Vologda from April to September – or in the winter months from December to February. In summer, the streets become green and the sights look very attractive against the backdrop of dense tree edges. For evening walks in parks and on the embankment, stock up on mosquito and midge repellents. In winter, the city turns into a real fairy tale: the streets are decorated with garlands, and the buildings are decorated with New Year’s decor.

In early spring and late autumn, the city is cloudy and damp, but if you decide to go at this time of year, take waterproof shoes, an umbrella or a raincoat with you. In any case, you can warm up and wait out the bad weather in a cafe or museum.

What to see in Vologda

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

Vologda was founded in the same year as Moscow (1147) and even had every chance of becoming the second capital of the state. Ivan the Terrible made big plans for the northern city, which was conveniently located at the intersection of major trade routes, and wanted to locate his northern residence here. But one trip of the tsar to Vologda changed the whole story. According to one version, during the next inspection of the Kremlin construction, a brick fell on the Tsar’s head (probably from the scaffolding). The angry sovereign regarded this incident as a bad sign and left the city forever.

Monuments of wooden architecture

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

In the historical center you will find dozens of wooden houses. The city has developed a characteristic type of such buildings – mainly two floors, loggias above the front porch, tracery windows, cornices and an abundance of carved decorations. To see as many monuments as possible, go for a walk along the central streets – Blagoveshchenskaya, Maltseva, Herzen, Zasodimsky, Pobedy Avenue, the beginning of Chernyshevsky and Leningradskaya streets.

To appreciate the interior decoration, take a look at Chernoglazov’s house (Chernyshevsky St., building 17), Izvoshchikov(Chernyshevsky St., building 55) or Druzhinina (Maltseva St., building 18).

You can admire the ancient merchant houses and learn more about their architecture and history on the two-hour excursion “Meet Vologda!”.

Vologda Kremlin

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

Address: st. Sergeya Orlova, house 15.

The Kremlin in Vologda is an ensemble of ancient buildings in the historical center – it includes a bell tower with an observation deck, the Bishop’s Courtyard with the chambers of former archbishops, the oldest white-stone St. Sophia Cathedral in the city and the wooden Summer House of Bishops. The Kremlin itself did not survive and was destroyed back in 1670 due to a strong spring flood. Only some sections of the high white walls that now surround the ensemble have been preserved.

The buildings are open Vologda Museum-Reserve – a local history corner of the city, where you can learn more about the history, culture and nature of the entire region. It is especially interesting to look into the largest in the Vologda region St. Sophia Cathedral. Inside, look at ancient paintings, monumental frescoes and a baroque iconostasis. To enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city, go up to the observation deck of the bell tower. Here you will see the main Vologda chimes – a huge clock made in 1871 at the Butenop brothers factory in Moscow.

Lace Museum

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

Address: Kremlin Square, building 12.

The most famous Vologda museum dedicated to lace craft. It occupies the halls of an equally attractive stone mansion from the mid-19th century – the building of the former State Bank, built in the spirit of St. Petersburg classical architecture. Here you can see European lace-making works of the 18th century made from gold and silver threads, lace decorations in peasant costumes and original works by craftswomen from the Vologda company “Snezhinka”.

Unusual art objects

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

In the park on Cathedral Hill behind the Kremlin, two art objects are installed that are dedicated to the speech feature of Vologda residents – okan. These are forged monument to the letter “O” and bench «Let’s sit and relax» with a small accordion and a volume of poems by the Vologda writer Nikolai Rubtsov.

Prechistenskaya embankment

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

Landscaped pedestrian area along the bank of the Vologda River. Only low-rise buildings are allowed here and ancient wooden and stone houses of the 18th-19th centuries have been preserved. Look at the architecture of the Governor’s House (Lenina St., building 19A) and the building of the Vologda State University (Lenin St., building 15), built in the style of classicism. Near the bridge over the river you will see an unusual monument – a tall lantern, next to which a dog relieves itself. Its opening was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the city’s electric lighting.

Center for Folk Arts and Crafts “Carved Palisade”

Address: st. Zasodimsky, house 5.

The center is located in an old wooden house, and on the street area the same white carved palisade, traditional for Vologda of the 19th century, has been preserved. Here, as part of excursions and master classes, they introduce traditional northern crafts: painting and carving on wood and birch bark, pottery and blacksmithing, embroidery and weaving.

Spaso-Prilutsky Dmitriev Monastery

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

Address: st. Monastyrskaya, building 2.

One of the largest monasteries in the Russian North is located on the outskirts of the city, in the Priluki district. It was founded on the banks of the Vologda River back in 1371, and the territory was completely completed only by the end of the 19th century. Look at the stone churches and chambers, monumental fortress walls and the wooden Assumption Church, which is considered the oldest (1519) of the tented religious buildings preserved in Russia.

To delve into the history of the monastery and learn more about its architecture, go there on the tour “Savior-Prilutsky Monastery with a Historian and Theologian.”

Where to eat and drink coffee

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

Gastrobar «Library»(Chernyshevsky St., building 24) – located in a wooden house with beautiful historical facades, and the interiors are stylized based on the classics of world literature. The menu includes dishes from all over the world, such as carpaccio, fettuccine and juicy steaks.

Family restaurant «Parovozov» (Lenin St., building 4) – will appeal to families with children, because all the tables are connected to each other by a small railway network through which the train delivers beverages. The carriage atmosphere is maintained by waiters in conductor uniforms, and tea is served in glass holders.

Resto-bar Shabby (82 Mira St.) – loft interior, exquisite cuisine, interesting presentation of dishes, large selection of cocktails and guilt. The establishment is located on the top floor of the shopping center, and from the hall there is a panoramic view of the center of Vologda. They serve delicious desserts: try fluffy mille-feuille with cream or banoffee pie with banana.

Coffee shop «Optimist» (Predtechenskaya str., building 85) – a cozy loft space where you can choose a book on open shelves or watch a mini-exhibition of black and white photo. The menu includes not only coffee, but also a large selection of good wine, hot dishes and various snacks.

What to bring from Vologda

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

Dairy products and condensed milk

The top three brands in the Vologda region include dairy products, primarily butter. Here it is produced using a special technology that was developed by Nikolai Vereshchagin. The oil has a delicate texture and a nutty flavor, and only seven enterprises in the Vologda region can produce it using this technology. And the local factory produces thick, tasty condensed milk. You can buy these edible souvenirs in any supermarket in the city; choose dairy products from the brands “Reznoy Palisad”, “From Vologda” and “Northern Milk”, and condensed milk from the Sukhonsky Dairy Plant.

Jewelry and items made of 925 silver

At the Veliky Ustyug plant “Northern Chern” they produce products using the ancient Russian technology of blackening silver from the 17th century. Products are presented in many souvenir shops in Vologda. As a gift you can buy silver earrings at a price of 2,000 rubles, tea and dessert spoons (from 3,500 rubles), key rings and coins (from 1,500 rubles).

Lace items

Take a closer look, for example, at a Christmas tree napkin (from 1,500 rubles) or a bookmark (about 2,000 rubles). Full-fledged lace products are much more expensive: collars – from 15,000 rubles, jackets and capes – from 80,000 rubles, tablecloths – from 100,000 rubles.

Sweets and liqueurs from northern berries

Vologda: architecture, crafts and delicious butter

The city produces good alcoholic liqueurs under the Vologzhanka brand and natural sweets from cranberries, lingonberries, blueberries, cloudberries and bird cherry – jam, marshmallows, marmalade and cranberries in sugar. You can buy local products in city supermarkets or at the Vologda Souvenirs trading house (Chekhova St., building 12).

*Prices are current at the time of publication.

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