Tourist Map (44KB); Russia Destinations (main page)
Vologda was first referenced in 1147. It was once part of the Novgorod sphere of influence until the Finns brought it into the fold of its closer neighbor, Moscow. In the region are many beautiful monasteries, museums, and at the center of town is the Archbishop’s courtyard, a stone castle–like fortress dating back over 300 years.
One of the most famous and notorious residents of Vologda was none other than Josef Stalin. He actually lived here on three different occasions, and none of them were his choice. Vologda was used by the Czars as a place of internal exile for undesirables in the early 20th century. Several embassies relocated to Vologda temporarily after the Brest Treaty was established in 1918, refusing to recognize the Soviet Government (and subsequently the capital city of Moscow) and in disagreement with Russia's separate peace treaty with Germany.
Vologda is known in Russia for the dairy industry, and in particular "Vologda butter" see high and constant demand. Perhaps more interesting from the perspective of a visitor is Vologda lace, which has won deserved fame and worldwide recognition for its high artistic value, rich ornamentation, and excellent workmanship. The earliest laces which have reached us date back to the 17th century. The lace woven from golden and silver threads decorated rich civilian and church garments and was mostly used by the nobility. Another handicraft of the Vologdians is wood carving, and this is visible in the window casings and porches in local homes.