Yaroslavl. Historic background.

Yaroslavl is an ancient and at the same time modern city. The destiny of the Russian State reflected in its visage. Yaroslavl has played an essential role in uniting Russian lands around Moscow rendering assistance to Moscow Tsars. One can find many Yaroslavl pages in the history of Saint-Petersburg, too.

Yaroslavl has its own unique traditions and feeling. That is why the forthcoming 1000-year jubilee the city is celebrating in 2010 can not only provide a powerful impetus for its further development, but also generalize the historic role played by many ancient cities of Russia being forerunners and allies of Moscow.

The Russian historiography states that the city could have been founded within rather a long time period: from the year 988 to the year 1024, while most researchers deem the year of 1010, in which the fortress was established, to be most reliable.

During its 1000-year history Yaroslavl has been one of the strongholds of the Russian statehood. The rulers of Russia, the Ryurikovichs and the Romanovs reigning dynasties, and later the Soviet leaders attached great importance to the city. The very fact of the city foundation was the act of independent political will of the young Prince Yaroslav (the Wise) when he established a fortress on the Volga River to provide security of the northeastern boundaries of ancient Russia. Yaroslavl emerged as the first Christian town on the Volga.

During subsequent centuries the city was involved into all dramatic events of the Russian history. Yaroslavl became the first faithful ally of Moscow in bringing the Russian lands together under the patronage of the ancient capital.  The Yaroslavl principality was among the first ones to enter the Moscow State voluntarily. 

In the 15th century after joining the Moscow State, Yaroslavl was assigned an honorary role of the Sovereigns estate. In the 17th century Moscow Tsars were leaving the city and its districts as percept to their direct heirs. Yaroslavl was the place to transfer the State Treasury in an emergency. People deemed dangerous to the authority were also kept there. Yaroslavl was among the first places influenced by the cruel rule of Ivan IV (the Terrible), but the repressions havent affected the city itself.

In 1612 a volunteer army lead by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky to fight Polish-Lithuanian intervention was being stationed in Yaroslavl, and Yaroslavl was made the capital of Russia for several months.

The 18th century was a crucial time for the city. With the erection of Saint-Petersburg the city economy is being re-orientated from commercial to industrial basis. The reign of Peter the Great has radically changed social, political, and economical basis of the ancient capital and also determined the present status of the city as an industrial and cultural centre of Russia. It was in Yaroslavl where Fyodor Volkov founded the first Russian provincial private theatre in 1750. The Lay of Igors Host, a remarkable masterpiece of ancient Russian literature, was found in Yaroslavl in the early 90-ies of the 18th century.

In the 19th century the city visage was taking its final form. Many art critics call it Florence of the Russian North as a variety of architectural schools and styles are merged in Yaroslavl.

Significance of the city as a major industrial and cultural centre of Russia is enhancing in the period of modern history. Yaroslavl is holding leading economical positions, as compared to many cities of Central Russia.

In the Soviet period the Government assigned the role of the scientific city to Yaroslavl. In 20-ies and 30-ies of the last century the foundations were being laid for formation of the new industrial resources of the State orientated towards defense of the country (SC-1, the first synthetic rubber plant in the country, the rubber-asbestos complex, the Yaroslavl automobile plant, etc.).

A solid industrial base was being crated in Yaroslavl after the end of the Great Patriotic War. The development of the industrial potential of the city was passing under the patronage of the Soviet Government. In the beginning of 1960-ies N. Khrushev unofficially visited the city. He expressed a high opinion of the rate of its industrial development. In 1971 the city of Yaroslavl was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. In 1985, on occasion of its 975-year anniversary, the city was awarded the Order of October Revolution.

In the last decade the presidents of Russia visited our city three times. B. Yeltsin attended the opening ceremony of the monument to Yaroslav the Wise. President V. Putin visited Yaroslavl twice: he attended the 250-year jubilee of the Volkov Theatre and the visiting session of the State Council Presidium on motor roads development (October, 2006).         

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