The Charming Historical Town of Uglich

The charming town of Uglich, situated on the Volga River in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, has a history dating back to 937 A.D. It was first documented as “Ugliche Pole” ("Corner Field") in 1148. The current population is less than 40,000.

Uglich had been the centre of a small princedom from 1218 until the ruling princes sold their rights to the Moscow's great prince in 1328. As a town situated on the border of Muscovy, Uglich regularly came under attack from Tartars and Lithuanians and as a result the town was burned a number of times. In 1462 the grand duke of Moscow, Ivan III gave the town to his younger brother Andrei Bolshoi. During his reign the town achieved a measure of prosperity and the first stone buildings were constructed. Of these, some are still standing, notably the red-brick palace of the prince which was completed in 1481.

During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, ownership of Uglich was passed to his only brother, Yuriy. The town prospered economically and politically throughout the 16th century, but later went into a decline. After the death of Ivan the Terrible, his youngest son Dmitry Ivanovich was exiled to Uglich in 1584. On 15th May 1591, Ivan’s ten-year old son was found dead in the palace courtyard – his throat had been cut. Boris Godunov, the tsar’s chief advisor was the main suspect, but official investigators gave their verdict of accidental death. Dmitry Ivanovich was the last link of the Rurik dynasty and his death resulted in the dynastic and political crisis that came to be known as the 'Time of Troubles'. The Romanov tsars turned Uglich into a place of pilgrimage. In 1690 the church of St. Demetrios on the Blood was built on the spot where Dmitry had been murdered and the prince’s palace was turned into a museum.

Uglich boasts many beautiful and historic landmarks which epitomise ancient Russian architecture. Included in these are the Alexeievsky Monastery and the Assumption three-tented church built in 1628, as well as the Resurrection Monastery with its refectory, cathedral, belfry and church which date back to 1674-1677. Opposite the Resurrection Monastery a local merchant built the charming church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist in 1690 as a commemoration of the place where his son had drowned.

Visitors to the quaint town of Uglich in Russia are sure to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and the rich historical and cultural heritage that this town is known for.

 



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