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Vologda ( ) is a city in Russiamarker and the administrative center of Vologda Oblastmarker. Population: 293,700 (2008 est.); Vologda takes its name, of likely Finno-Ugrian origin, from the Vologda River which flows through the city.

The city is served by Vologda Airportmarker and is host to Fedotovomarker, a major Russian Navy air base 44 km to the west.


Vologda was first mentioned in Novgorodmarker chronicles for 1147, when Saint Gerasimus found a church and village already standing there. Surrounded by impassable woods, the settlement was inhabited by Novgorodians who pulled the ships from a tributary of the Volga to a tributary of the Northern Dvina, thus making possible navigation from the White Seamarker to the Caspianmarker. In 1273 the city was ravaged by a Mongol raid.

It was not until 1412, when the area was ceded by Novgorod Republic to Muscovy, that the town acquired any measure of importance. The princes of Muscovy made Vologda their outpost in the North. By the end of the century, Vologda eclipsed the ancient centre of that region, Belozerskmarker. Its commercial importance further increased when the Muscovy Company started its operations in Russia.

Main sights


Vologda's Saint Sophia, consecrated in 1570 and named after Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorodmarker, was one of the largest cathedrals built in Russia up to that time. It had been ordered by Ivan the Terrible to be rebuilt in stone in the 15th century. Its superb frescoes were painted in 1686–1688 by Dmitry Plekhanov from Yaroslavlmarker. A lofty octagonal belltower was added in 1654–1659 and built up in the nineteenth century. A local museum occupies the neighbouring Treasury chambers (1659). The main points of interest outside Kremlin walls are the eighteenth century baroque churches and the 19 century Neoclassical mansions.

Just two kilometers from the historic centre of Vologda stands the Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery, founded in 1371 by one of Sergii Radonezhsky's disciples. With Dmitry Donskoy as its patron, the monastery quickly developed into the richest landowner in the neighbourhood. Its five-domed cathedral was erected in 1537–1542. Almost all other structures—a refectory, a winter church, holy gates with a barbican—were also constructed prior to the Time of Troubles, when the cloister was occasionally besieged by the Polish units and gangs of brigands. The time of anarchy over, the monastery's thick walls and towers were renovated. Sovietmarker authorities banished the monks and turned the cloister into a museum. Some remarkable specimens of early wooden architecture were transported here from distant villages of the Vologda region.


Vologda is known all over Russia for its cheese and butter, reputedly the best in Russia. The Romantic poet Konstantin Batyushkov was born and died in Vologda. There is also a small museum of Peter the Great.

Balanovsky 2008 published genetic research data on Vologda and found results connecting it, along with Krasnoborsk, to a genetic grouping otherwise most common in Scandinavia which would be in common with settlements or migrations from that area (i.e. Viking or Varangian) or simply represent an ancient genetic relatedness. According to 11.6% of a sampling of 121 tested at Vologda belong to the I1a haplogroup (12.1% of 91 tested belonged to said group in Krasnoborsk) these frequencies are higher than elsewhere in Russia and even higher than in Polandmarker.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Vologda is twinned with:
Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery in the early 19th century.


External links

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