The Volga River reaches and winds many beautiful and impressive towns situated on its great bends. Perhaps one of its most famous bends on this famous Russian river is the ancient Ugliche Pole, better known today as Uglich - the perfect showcase for those wishing to experience pure Russian beauty. What was once a fortress in the Kingdom of Muscovy is now a quiet retreat against the hectic city life.
It is said that this Golden Ring town was founded in 937, during the last decade of the reign of Varangian Prince Igor, the ruler that united Kiev Rus. As one of the oldest towns in Russia, it represents life from every colorful decade of Russian history. Uglich became a principality in 1218 and even survived the Mongol invasion. By 1328 the local prince sold his right to rule to Moscow, joining the town early to future Russia. Despite this, the ancient settlement was a favorite target of marauders, being burned in turn by Lithuanians, Tatars and just about any faction that sought to attack the Muscovite principality.
By 1462, the city was rebuilt in stone by Andrey Bolshoy, brother of Ivan III the Great. Among the many amazing structures constructed then are the city’s cathedral and red-brick princely palace. By the 16th century, the city reached its Golden Age under Ivan IV the Terrible. In 1584, though, Ivan died, setting the stage for Uglich’s most dramatic and defining event. Prince Dmitry, the tsar’s late son, was murdered at the age of 10. Dmitry was the last Rurik prince who could produce offspring, he died of a knife wound outside of the palace. Following this event the Times of Trouble began and led to the Romanov Dynasty's rise to power.
With so much history available, it is worthwhile to explore one of the local museums for interesting artifacts. Aside from history, one can view the natural beauty found in Uglich's vast forests and trees, or explore the multiple churches that are scattered throughout this hidden town. Built in the 1620's, The Monastery of St. Alexis still stands strong today with its beautiful designs and bright colors. The Church of the Theotokos of Kazan, built in 1777, is a delightful red church worth a visit. Uglich is perfect for any traveler ready to experience the quiet side of Russia.