Kostroma Oblast: Kostroma

Kostroma is the next down along the Golden Circle route of central Russia, this one dating back to 1152. The Ipatiev Monastery here on the bank of the Kostroma River is a massive walled compound with onion dome cathedrals and bell tower. The Trinity Cathedral was built in 14th century and rebuilt in the 17th. The future Russian tzar Mikhail Romanov lives here at the monastery when he was offered the Russian crown in the 17th century and the Romanov dynasty began. The tzars regraded Kostrama with special devotion ever since and the city was often viewed as a place of retreat from Moscow. On the other side of the river lies the geometrically planned old town of Kostroma, with streets radiating like sun rays from the central square where the iconic fire tower stands. There are a lot of centuries-old grand mansions here as Kostroma was a major trading point east to west, the nearby Gostiniy Dvor trading rows also attest to the town’s trading heritage.