The Golden Ring

by Jorge Sanchez - 4 years, 10 months ago

The first visit that I made in Yaroslavl, a Golden Ring city of about 600.000 persons, included in the UNESCO list under Patrimonies of the Humankind, was to the Kremlin, in the centre of the town. It was not free of charge and therefore I bought a ticket (it was very cheap: less than one euro) in a kiosk at he entrance. Then I went inside to admire the religious buildings and the architecture. In its premises there were several wooden miniatures representing the building within the Kremlin premises. That visit was a good introduction to the many wonders that shelters Yaroslavl. Once inside I walked following the perimeter of the Kremlin and saw a sign saying that Yaroslavl was founded in the year 1010 by the Tsar Yaroslavl the Wise, and they are preparing great celebrations for the millennium in the year 2010. Yaroslavl is located at the intersection of the rivers Kotorosi and Volga, which I visited, and discovered new churches and monasteries close to the river. Indeed, Yaroslavl is deservedly compared with Florence, in Italy. At every step you find a nice church, in the next corner you see a monastery, then pretty old buildings, etc. Yaroslavl is rich in culture and beauty. When I was hungry I went to the pedestrian street to eat Russian homemade food in a stolovaya (local restaurant), which was cheap and delicious (I ordered “pelmenie”, or a kind of Russian ravioli, and a drink called “medovukha”) and then I visited the tourist attraction numero uno: the incredible Church devoted to the Prophet Elias, the first church constructed in Yaroslavl in the XVII century, when it was the capital of Russia during the Polish invasion of the country. The entrance was not terrific; it was just another nice religious building like many others in Yaroslavl. But once inside….. Madre mía! Inside, the frescoes and paintings of its walls, ceilings and columns was no less interesting that the Cappella Sistina in Rome. That was really a marvel among marvels that captivated me for a couple of hours that I spent inside, completely delighted, exulted, admiring one by one the delicacy and exquisite details of each fresco. It is a miracle that the criminal Bolsheviks did not destroy the churches and monasteries in Yaroslavl (in especial that startling Church of the Prophet Elias), as they had done in most of the other Russian cities. Local people with whom I made friendship inside the Kremlin, told me that in the list of the destruction of religious buildings, the Bolsheviks had a list of the places in alphabetical order, and since Yaroslavl start with the letter “Ya” (Ia in Russian) and that letter is the last one in Russian alphabet, they had so many churches to demolish that they never arrived until the end, and in that way Yaroslavl religious wonders were saved.

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