Uglich is an historic town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, which stands on the Volga River. It has a population: of 34,500 people and probably another 1,000,000 tourists who arrive in hordes by river boat every day. We arrived here at 2.00 pm today after leaving Moscow around 24 hours earlier.
It is a very historic town and it played a role in a key turning point of Russian History. The town is older than Moscow and was founded around the year 937. Uglich had been the seat of a small princedom from 1218 until when the local princes sold their rights to the great prince of Moscow. As a border town of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, it was burned several times by Lithuanians, Tatars, and the grand prince of Tver.
During the reign of that famous Tsar, Ivan the Terrible, the town passed on to his only brother, Yury. Uglich prospered both politically and economically, but thereafter its fortunes began to decline After Ivan’s death, his youngest son Dmitry Ivanovich was banished to Uglich in 1584. The most famous event in the town’s history took place on May 15, 1591 when the 10-year old boy was found dead with his throat cut in the palace courtyard. Suspicion immediately fell on the tsar’s chief advisor, Boris Godunov. Official investigators concluded however that Dimitriy’s death was an accident. They cut a “tongue” from the cathedral bell that rung the news of Dimitriy’s death and “exiled” it to Siberia.
This death had a significant impact as it caused a new dynasty in Russia to be created. The Romanov Tsars took over and reined until Nicholas !! was murdered by the Bolshevicks in 1917. The Romanov Tsars made it their priority to canonize the martyred Tsesarevich and to turn Uglich into a place of pilgrimage. On the spot where Dimitry had been murdered the city in 1690 built a small with typical Russian grand name of TChurch of St. Demetrios on the Blood, which appears on the horizon with its red walls and blue domes as one sails by on the Volga.
During the Soviet times, a local watch factory was converted into making components for missiles. The watch factory still exits but they appear to function more as ornamental wrist bands than effective timepieces. We saw many of them in the Victory park tourist market through which we had to wak to get to to the main town square.
Now we are min a rural area we can see many more wooden houses with their distinctively decorated windows. It’s also obvious that this is not a city location as the cars and public transport vehicles are much older and more run down.
After the hustle and bustle of Moscow, it has bee very pleasant to sit back and relax on the ship – eating lots of food and watching the world g o by. The country side is very green and we see lots of people camping on the banks of the river. As David will remember from our visit to Lake Baikal, the men here still strip down to their Y-Fronts as they picnic and soak up the sun.