The Romanov protectorate
Kostroma Travel Blog› entry 6 of 17 › view all entries
We leave Suzdal in the early morning and while the bus takes us to our next destination, Kostroma, Tamara wants to know all about what we did in Suzdal yesterday. The original travel itinerary said yesterday everyone could decide for themselves what to do, but Tamara had drafted up a whole plan on what to do and what to see and strangely enough, Rens and I were the only ones who didn’t participate in that.
We seem to have come to some sort of unspoken agreement that Tamara and the two of us tolerate each other and be done with it, but this morning Tamara still seems to look at us as persisting dissidents.
A few hours later we arrive in Kostroma, a city that’s also a part of the Golden Ring, and which was also regarded by the Romanov Tsars as their special protectorate. The biggest reason for this was the Ipatievsky Monastery. In 1613 Mikhail Romanov was announced as Tsar of Russian, the first Romanov Tsar, while being in this 14thcentury monastery. Ever since that day the Romanov family frequently visited the Ipatievsky Monastery, including the last tsar Nicolas II.
We start our sightseeing of Kostroma at this Ipatievsky Monastery, which – despite the hundredth onion domes we see - is surprisingly beautiful, especially on the inside. When the monastery was founded it only consisted of wooden buildings and fortifications, but it was completely rebuilt in the 16thcentury.
This Trinity Cathedral was originally built in 1586, but in 1649 it was blown up by an accidental explosion of gunpowder that was stored in the basements. In 1652 the Romanovs had the cathedral rebuilt, its interior got elaborately painted by famous Russian painters, making the cathedral famous in entire Russia.
I liked the exhibitions of old articles of use and decorative items, some dating back to the start of the monastery, but most from the 16thand 17thcentury. I also loved the exterior or the Romanov boyar Palace, because it looked both modern and exotic, but still managed to match the rest of the buildings at the complex.
Once we’re done admiring the Ipatievsky Monastery, Tamara takes us to a Russian fast food chain called Kroshka Kartoshka so we can have a ‘truly Russian experience’. And it is of course very authentic to have a tour guide lead you through a whole buffet of greasy dishes, explaining everything it contains, to a group of eighteen tourists. Once we’ve all dumped very questionable looking food on the plates on our trays, she evens stands next to the cashier, leading us through the whole payment process as if we are all mentally handicapped. This woman has serious issues.
As soon as we have finished our dubious lunch (Russian cuisine does not agree with me), we remind Tamara that the itinerary said we could have an hour to ourselves in the centre of Kostroma, and before she can map out a whole walking tour meant for the entire group, we run out of the place.
The arcaded market was built in the end of the 18thcentury at the location where 300 hundred years earlier the Kremlin of Kostroma had stood. There are many different arcades, each arcade was used for trading different kind of goods, like flower arcades, milk arcades, vegetable arcades, tobacco arcades, oil arcades, sweets arcades and fish arcades. Today the general idea of the arcades is no longer in use, the items for sale are mostly household goods and all sorts of food. It’s a pity the old customs are gone here, but then again, it would mostly be nice for tourists.
We stroll around a bit more and run into a large square dominated by a really weird looking lighthouse. There is a large group of men in military outfits who are practicing a parade, it looks like an important person or persons are arriving later today.
When I have a look in my guide book, I find out it is actually a fire observation watchtower, built in 1825. In 1773, Kostroma was ruined by a huge fire. Obviously, this tower was built to signal a fire sooner and having it put out quickly, so it would devastate the entire city again.
Not much later we leave Kostroma, our final destination for the day is Yaroslavl, another city of the Golden Ring.