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About the city

About the city

Vologda is one of the most ancient cities of Russia and a contemporary of Moscow. It is a historical and a modern city. Vologda is an administrative, industrial and cultural centre of the Vologda Oblast. It maintains Russian traditions and is the homeland of unique handicrafts and trades. Many outstanding Russian people - poets and composers, industrialists and statesmen - were born in Vologda. They improved and strengthened the country with their work making their small native land famous all over the world. Vologda is the city where memory of the past helps to create the future.

The foundation date of Vologda is considered to be 1147. It was exactly in that year that the monk Gerasimus came to the Vologda River from Kiev and founded a monastery near a small settlement which already existed there. However the historians don’t admit this version of the city foundation. The date 1147 was first recorded in the 18th century by Alexey Zasetsky in the “Life of St. Gerasimus”. But it was written approximately in the middle of the 17th century by a certain Foma under the decree of archbishop Markel on the basis on unknown sources.

The first documentary evidence of Vologda dates back to 1264. The city was mentioned in the agreement between Novgorod and the Prince of Tver Yaroslav Yaroslavich as the territory of Novgorod.

Nobody knows for sure what the name of city means, but there is an opinion that it is connected with the word “volok” (portage). According to another version, the city is named after the Vologda River on the banks of which it is located (Vologda means “pure water” in the Finno-Ugric language).

Vologda always preserved its spiritual and cultural significance. Wonderful religious and civil buildings were constructed there. The Vologda Kremlin and the St. Sophia Cathedral remind of the importance and even greatness of the city history. Unique monuments of the past still decorate Vologda. But everything changes, and a modern city where everyday life is in full swing has grown around the historical centre.

At present Vologda is a large transport junction in the European part of Russia situated between “two capitals” – 460 kilometres to the north-west of Moscow and 630 kilometres far from St. Petersburg. The population of Vologda is about three hundred thousand people.

The government bodies of the region are located in Vologda. The municipality creates favourable investment climate of the city. One can easily find experienced workers there: more than a half of local inhabitants have higher education. Good labour potential makes the regional centre attractive for investors.

Vologda is the city with developed diversified economy. Economic prosperity of the regional capital is based on industrial enterprises. Almost all machine-building and metalworking plants of the region are situated there. Optical instruments both for military and civilian use are produced in Vologda. Lenses, telescopes, night vision devices are much in demand in Russia and abroad.

Lathes and road machines are elaborated using state-of-the-art equipment. Trolley-buses and buses manufactured in Vologda carry passengers in many cities of the country. Bearings which are famous all over Russia have been awarded prizes at foreign industrial exhibitions for their excellent quality.

Vologda is world-famous for its dairy enterprises and butter. The recipe of Vologda butter is preserved by technologists and specialists trained in Vologda Dairy Farming Academy - the first higher educational institution of Russia in the dairy farming sphere. It is named after Nikolai Vereshchagin, inventor of Vologda butter. Our dairy products can be bought in the shops of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The gift variant of Vologda butter is delivered to diplomatic missions of the country.

Vologda lace has won deserved fame and world-wide recognition for its high artistic value, rich ornament and excellent workmanship. Traditions and secrets of Vologda’s lace-makers haven’t changed. Their best oeuvres are presented at the annual contest “Silver Bobbin”. Usual clothes turn into real works of art in the hands of Vologda’s masters.

The main symbol of Vologda within the last few years is a building crane rising above the structures. Speed of house construction increases every year. New quarters and complexes are erected in the city. Hundred thousand square metres of housing are put into service annually.

Economic prosperity allows the city to support and to develop various branches of educational sphere. Vologda is a large educational centre. Students make up over 10 percent of the local population. Higher educational institutions of the city train teachers, economists, engineers, and lawyers and vocational schools – highly skilled workers. They give an opportunity for young people to acquire different professions without leaving their native city.

Popular and professional sport is developing in Vologda. City dwellers build up their health and do different sports on stadiums, in swimming pools and gyms. Many sportsmen of Vologda have taken prize-winning places at European and World championships. The women’s basketball team “Chevakata” represents the regional capital at the international competitions, making it famous all over the world.

Vologda continues to be the cultural capital of the Russian North. Folk traditions are being carefully preserved there. Works of talented masters and craftsmen - wooden buildings with carved decorations, birch back boxes and baskets, painted and carved distaffs – delight everybody with their beauty and unique patterns.

Vologda is a city of theatres. There are three professional theatres there, the oldest one was founded in 1849. The International Theatrical festival “Voices of History” is held in the regional centre once in two years. Spectators can see performances of the best Russian and foreign companies shown in the open air, in the historical setting of the Vologda Kremlin.

The literary life of the city is rich in great names and events. Many outstanding poets and writers, such as Konstantin Batyushkov, Vladimir Gilyarosky, Nikolai Rubtsov, Varlam Shalamov, lived and wrote in Vologda. The museum of literature and music tells about the work of Vologda’s poets and composers.

Residents of Vologda are fond of strolling around their native city, especially in summer. Visitors are always amazed at the abundance of greenery. Flowerbeds and trees make the city exceptionally beautiful and homelike. Carved palisades, wooden houses and well-groomed yards create the atmosphere of a cosy and quiet northern city.

Vologda is one of the rare Russian cities where modern life blends in so well with ancient monuments. Tsars and saints, enterprising merchants and heroes of all past wars left their marks there. This city has wisdom of nine centuries and its new life is based on it. Vologda preserves the history of our country and is developing together with it. It continues to write the history of Russia here and now.