Stretching almost 30 kilometres along the Volga River, Yaroslavl is a large city surrounded by deep forests. Filled with monuments, 17th century churches, and frescoes, the city’s architecture has a distinctly colourful Russian flare. With a skyline punctuated with cathedral spires and onion domes, the centre of the ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Situated at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosol Rivers, Yaroslavl is a flourishing trading port. During the 17th century, this brought affluence to the city, which is reflected in the proliferation of churches in Yaroslavl. Wealthy merchants from the 17th to 19th centuries competed to build the most luxurious houses, creating what became the beautiful Old Town of today.
The many restaurants of Yaroslavl offer a mix of European and traditional Russian food. While in Russia, make sure you try hearty Borscht - Beetroot and cabbage soup - and blinis - small buckwheat crepes typically served with smoked salmon and sour cream - before you leave.
Located on one of Europe’s largest rivers, Yaroslavl is a lovely trade centre and a must-see stop on any Volga River or Golden Ring cruise.
Cruise ships dock on the Volga at the port next to the city centre at Volzhskaya Naberezhnaya.
Facilities near the port in Yaroslavl include:
- Tourist information centres
- Restaurants and cafés
- Souvenir stores
How To Get Around
The centre of Yaroslavl is easily navigated on foot. Vehicular traffic is hectic, so exercise caution when crossing the street in busy parts of the city. Yaroslavl’s public transport network comprises trams, buses and trolley buses. Marshrutkas (set-route taxis) are also available for little more than a bus fare. To catch one, you must flag them down and then call out when you reach your destination and you want the driver to stop. These public transport options are cheap and cover the city well. Private taxis are also available. Frequent traffic jams are expected every weekday, so hiring your own car is not the best way to see the city.
Currency – The currency in Yaroslavl is the ruble (руб). 1 ruble is divided into 100 kopeks (k.) Notes come in руб50, руб100, руб500, руб1,000 and руб5,000 denominations. Coins come in k.1, k.5, k.10, and k.50 and руб1, руб2, and руб10 denominations.
Time Zone – Yaroslavl runs to Moscow Standard Time (MSK), which is three hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) throughout the year.
Weather – Yaroslavl has a cold and temperate climate with mild summers and very cold winters. July is the hottest month, with an average high temperature of 18.4 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest month, with an average high temperature of -11.5 degrees Celsius.
Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour – Also known as Spaso-Preobrazhensky, this beautiful Monastery is the oldest building still standing in Yaroslavl. While the foundations date back to the 12th century, the building itself was constructed in the early 16th century. The gracious, curved white and yellow stone walls are three metres thick, making for a very well-fortified monastery, while the tower’s gold and green domed roofs are designed to stop snow from building up on the turrets. The monastery has been used as a home for the region’s Bishops and for Russia’s first school of tertiary education. In separate buildings in the monastery complex, you will find mini museums on the history and culture of Yaroslavl, including one exhibition of golden, silver and gemstone-studded treasures.
Covered Food Market – Also known as Mytny Market, this colourful food market is one of the most popular attractions in Yaroslavl. Under a very high roof, you’ll find a vast array of stalls selling organic produce and handmade items from the various provinces in south-west Russia. Expect to find a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, local dairy cheeses, dried fruits and honey.
St John the Baptist Church – The most dramatic building in Yaroslavl is its largest church: the St John the Baptist Church has 15 striking turrets topped with bright green onion domes (also known as cupolas). From a distance, the intricate façade looks as though it’s constructed from wood; up close, the façade is revealed to be ornately carved red brick. The plethora of vibrant frescoes inside the church depict many scenes from the bible. You’ll need to travel three kilometres out of the quaint city centre to find this beautiful 17th century church. Although the church is completely surrounded by bland industrial buildings, it is well worth the trek. A testament to its beauty is the fact that the church appears on the 1,000-ruble note.