Soligalich: history and sights, walk around town
The second day of our trip through Kostroma and Vologda regions along the old Arkhangelsk way from Moscow to Totma was over. Already at sunset we approached Soligalich, the destination of our today’s trip. My brain was overloaded with impressions: Kostroma and Sudislavl, Voronye, Galich, Chukhloma, the Forest Terem in Astashovo. It felt like we had already spent several days on the trip.
The stele on the border of Soligalich district. Transfiguration church in the village of Korovnovo, 1792 Soligalich.
Soligalich greeted us with a soft pink and lilac light. A small haze hung in the air – it was the stoves in the houses that were stoked: there is no mains gas in the town, only imported gas in cylinders and firewood. Today the population of the whole Soligalich district is a little more than 10 thousand people. And before the revolution, more than 60 thousand people lived here! The houses in Soligalich are mostly wooden, many of them decorated with interesting lace casings.
House in Soligalich
There are also stone houses, but not many, mostly in the center.
On Gagarin Street Red Square and the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Boris and Gleb), rebuilt in Soviet times, with the building of the former Noble Assembly behind it
Here we saw one of the attractions of Soligalich – wooden trading rows, the only ones that survived to this day. The old shopping malls were built in 1831-1833, but now they are in disrepair. In 1853, perpendicular to them were built New trading rows, rebuilt in the 1990s.
New Trading Rows, rebuilt in the 1990s.
Soon we arrived at our lodging, the Rosteckis’ guest house. Bucking doesn’t show any hotels in Soligalich. Nevertheless, there are several places to stay. You can read more about where to stay and where to eat in Soligalich in the VK group “Tourism and Pilgrimage in Soligalich”.
March 9, 2018. From Soligalich to Totma and then to Vologda
The morning greeted us with a frost of -17 ° C and dazzling sunshine. A haze still hung in the air, giving the houses and temples a softness. Looking at these views, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Soligalich.
Church of the Transfiguration, 1821 The Kostroma River on a frosty morning
The first half of the day we planned a walk around the city with Nadezhda Dudina, a tourist methodologist in Soligalich. Thanks to her informative story we saw all the most beautiful and historically important parts of the city. It’s a must to go here!
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on a frosty morning
The first written mention of Soligalich goes back to 1335. At that time, it was called Salt of Galich. In the past, Soligalich used to extract salt from underground springs, which was a natural preservative for food. In the 18th century with the introduction of the state monopoly on salt and the discovery of salt deposits in the lake Elton and Baskunchak, the Kostroma and Vologda salt deposits have ceased to be developed as unprofitable. The quarries in the vicinity of Soligalich mined limestone that was fired to make lime. In the neighborhood of Soligalich in the village Odnoushevo the future first Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’ Jonah of Moscow (1390s-1461) was born.
Memorial stele with images and descriptions of famous natives of Soligalich land Houses in the center of Soligalich
In 1841 in Soligalich a merchant Vasiliy Kokorev opened a water cure clinic. In 1858 the chemist and composer Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (1833-1887) studied the healing properties of Soligalich mineral water. Nowadays the sanatorium is named after Borodin. Here successfully treat diseases of the musculoskeletal system and nervous system, gynecological diseases.
Sanatorium named after Borodin An old house in the center of Soligalich
At the end of the XV century in Soligalich was built a powerful wooden fortress surrounded by earthen ramparts. The perimeter of the fortress is about 405 meters and the height of the ramparts is 8 meters. In 1532, it successfully withstood a three-day “Usolskiy siege” of the Kazan Tatars.
Fortress on the left bank of the Kostroma River
On the territory of the fortress there remained the remains of the rebuilt in Soviet times Dormition Church of 1778.
Remains of Assumption church rebuilt during Soviet time
Then we went to the Resurrection Monastery (22 Kostroma Embankment Street), founded around 1335. This place is the cradle of Soligalich. According to legend, Prince Fyodor Semenovich of Galich saw a pillar of light in the distance, which pointed to the salt springs. In 1764, the monastery was abolished. During the Soviet years, there were various institutions in the Resurrection Monastery, including a correctional boarding school. This caused irreparable damage to the buildings: the monastery walls and the interior decoration of the temples were lost. The bell tower is now in an emergency condition.
Voskresensky monastery complex A huge crack in the wall of the bell tower Winter church of the Epiphany in the Voskresensky monastery with the thrones of the Epiphany, the Presentation in the Temple of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Demetrius of Thessaloniki, 1681 Summer cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, 1660-1669, with the thrones of the Resurrection of Christ, Elijah the Prophet and the belfry
After admiring the majestic temples of the Resurrection Monastery and being horrified by the state of disrepair in which it stands today, we moved on.
Silence in Soligalich
Unfortunately, passing on Vyluzgin Street, I did not have time to take pictures of the bust of Gennady Ivanovich Nevelsky (1813-1876) – admiral, explorer of the Far East, founder of Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, who was born in the Drakino estate near Soligalich.
Vyluzgin Street Kostroma River
There is a narrow suspension bridge across the Kostroma River, which connects Soligalich with the ancient village of Gnezdnikovo . According to some sources, the village is more than 1,000 years old! Nadezhda and I walked across the bridge, which was wobbly in all directions. Personally, I was very scared. But the locals walk on it quietly – they got used to it.
Suspension bridge over the Kostroma (“lava”)
The tragic events in history are connected with the name of Vyluzgin and the building, where the boot-rolling shop of Sphere Ltd. is situated now. The tragic events in the history of Soligalich are connected with this building. On October, 20, 1917 Vasily A. Vyluzgin, a representative of the Bolshevik party arrived in Soligalich from Petrograd, soon proclaiming the creation of the Military-Revolutionary Committee. City residents, dissatisfied with the decisions of the new government, staged protests. On February 27, 1918, Vyluzgin was killed by an angry mob. A punitive detachment, including the future Marshal K.K. Rokossovsky, arrived in Soligalich.
On March 7, 1918, by order of the military revolutionary court, 21 people were shot. They were executed near the former Nicholas Prison Church, the walls of which still bear traces of bullets… In August 2000, Patriarch Alexis II included the names of the New Martyrs of Soligalich (Archpriest Joseph Smirnov, Priest Vladimir Ilyinsky, Deacon John Castorsky and John Perebaskin) in the Cathedral of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.
OOO Sphere, a shoemaking shop in the building of the rebuilt Nicholas Prison Church, at the walls of which 21 people were shot on March 7, 1918
Finally, it’s time to tell about the most striking, in my opinion, landmark of Soligalich – the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1B, Vyluzgin St.). It was built for a long time – from 1668 to 1805 years, so it combined the features of different styles. We will see here the pattern of the end of the XVII century, and a fine baroque of the XVIII century. Construction of the cathedral began by order of Tsarina Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya (1624-1669), the first wife of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and the mother of Fedor III, Ivan V and Princess Sophia Alexeevna.
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
In the temple there are four altars:
- the main one in honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (summer);
- In honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (winter);
- in honor of the Protection of the Holy Mary (below the winter side-altar)
- in the name of St. Gabriel of Gorodets (winter); in honor of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God (downstairs in the winter chapel); in honor of the Blessed Virgin of the Mother of God (winter). Abraham of Gorodets (under the bell tower).
Nowadays the cathedral is active, but in need of restoration.
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Resurrection Monastery in the distance.
There are many other interesting sights in Vyluzgin Street. For example, there is an alley where the local nobility used to walk and old merchant houses before the revolution.
The house of one of the Sobennikov brothers, where the First District Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’ and Soldiers’ Deputies took place The “Eternal Flame” Memorial
Then we went to the “Museum of Wonders”. There you can find works of Soligalich masters for sale. Eyes run wild!
Products of Soligalich masters Traditional Stolbushka dolls
Then we went to see the old houses on Kommunisticheskaya street. Here you can see real masterpieces of wooden architecture!
An old house on Kommunisticheskaya Str. Popov’s house from the 1920s on Kommunisticheskaya str.
On this sunny, cold day, the city was drowned in a magical haze. It felt like I was in the past.
Soligalich on a frosty day
Another one of the places of interest on Kommunisticheskaya Ulitsa is a wooden house of Michurin’s manor house of the second half of the 19th century, which was moved to Soligalich. In Soviet times and later it housed various institutions and apartments. For several years the house has been empty and falling apart. In a little while it will be impossible to save it.
Michurin Manor House Michurin Manor House
There is wood piled in front of many houses. Apparently we have no gas at all in Russia.
House with ornate platbands
In Soligalich there are very beautiful platbands: intricate, lacy. You have to photograph them as long as they are intact.
A house with ornate window trim
Then we went to the church of the Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem, built in 1804 (8 K.Libkneht str.). Unfortunately, the church is in disrepair, the walls are disfigured by huge cracks. As Nadezhda explained, this is largely due to the peculiarities of the soil in Soligalich.
Our wonderful guide to the magical world of Soligalich, Nadezhda Dudina, on the background of the Church of the Entrance of St. John the Baptist
In Soviet times, the church was used for various institutions, but now an abomination of desolation reigns here. When you see something like this, you feel ashamed of your country.
Inside the Church of the Entrance of Christ the Savior
Then we walked to Red Square, named after a fancy red-brick building, which now serves as the seat of power. In front of it – the unchanging monument to Lenin.
The building of the administration of Soligalich municipal district and administration of Soligalich urban settlement
Nearby are the Old Market Rows . A few years ago they were functioning. And now they are covered with construction mesh. If they are not restored in the near future, a unique architectural monument will die.
Old Market Rows, 1831-1833 The Market Rows, built in the 2000s, stylized House of wine merchant Appolon Ivanovich Zavyalov, 1875. Now the Museum of local lore named after G.I. Nevyakov. Reconstructed in the Soviet time the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Boris and Gleb), 1809-1816 Facade of the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Boris and Gleb) on the Red Square.
And Soligalich is also famous for its felt boots. They can be different: simple and embroidered, small and tall.
The building where “Soligalichsky valenok” store is situated
Then we went to get acquainted with Soligalich industrial. Our first stop was at the station Soligalich departmental Monza railroad. The section Lamsa – Soligalich belongs to Soligalich lime factory, passenger train traffic was closed due to low profitability, but freight trains run regularly.
Soligalich railway station of Monza railroad Old trains covered with snow Diesel locomotive
Not far from the railway station lie logs. The forest is one of the main resources of the Kostroma region.
A timber lorry
After that we went to the Soligalichsky lime plant, founded in 1967. It is a city-forming enterprise that serves the Cherepovets industrial hub and produces products for agriculture, in particular lime to reduce the acidity of the soil.
Soligalich Lime Combine Soligalich Lime Combine
Almost opposite to the combine is the village of Turovka . It looks completely uninhabited, and the houses are covered with lime.
The time came to go back to Soligalich. There we went to the store, where we bought delicious Soligalich lemonade, gingerbread, and real Kostroma cheese.
Noskovo village near Soligalich
From Soligalich we took the “dotted line road” to Totma. There is no automobile road between these towns, only a winter road between Kuzemino and Gremyachy. Continuation: “By Kostroma and Vologda regions. Part 8: the winter road from Soligalich to Totma.
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What to see in Soligalich, Kostroma
The town of Soligalich in the Kostroma region is a classic representative of the historic small towns of the European part of Russia.
Lost in a remote corner of the Kostroma region, the town of Soligalich does not often fall into the crosshairs of travelers, even those who specialize in trips to small towns in Russia. However, Soligalich is quite a remarkable place. With urbanization in Russia, there are not many cities left whose image has not changed at all over the past 100 years or more. Soligalich belongs to such places, where you can see the Russia, as it was in Tsarist times. There are practically no buildings of the XX century in the town, and right outside the center there are forests and swamps.
How to get there
Getting to this remote corner of the Kostroma region is not easy. Despite the fact that Soligalich has a railway station, it is not possible to get to the town by train, because the passenger traffic on the Monza railroad on the Lamsa – Soligalich section was canceled long ago. Usually, travelers get here on their own by car, or combine train and bus transport.
To get to Soligalich by car from Moscow, take Yaroslavskoe Highway and its continuation M8 “Kholmogory” to Yaroslavl, then take Kostroma Highway to Kostroma, and then take R-243 highway to Sudislavl. In this town, the beginning of the road R100 “Sudislavl – Soligalich”, on which you can reach your destination. The distance between the two cities is 170 kilometers.
From Kostroma to Soligalich departs 4 buses daily. The beginning of movement is at 10:00, the last trip is at 19:30. The travel time is about 5 hours. On the same bus you can sit not only in Kostroma, but also, for example, in Galich, which will reduce traveling time to slightly more than 2 hours. You can get to Galich by train, because there is a railway station on the northern branch of the Trans-Siberian railway.
Geography and population
Soligalich is located in the very north of the Kostroma region, 46 kilometers from the town of Chukhloma, and 100 kilometers from the larger town of Galich. The distance to the regional center – more than 215 km. The town is located on the Galich Hills – the spur of the Northern hills, which are the natural boundary of the basins of the Volga and Northern Dvina. By all standards, Soligalich belongs to the Russian North: the town is surrounded by dense impenetrable forests, and its surroundings are frighteningly deserted.
The location of Soligalich is reflected in the fact that it is considered the northernmost city in the Central Federal District.
Soligalich is a tiny town, even by the standards of the Russian North. The population of Soligalich is a little less than 6 thousand people and tends to decrease further.
Climate and weather
As with the majority of cities in the central part of the European territory of the Russian Federation, the climate in Soligalich belongs to the continental climate of temperate latitudes. The northern location of the city makes the local climate moderately cold – the average annual temperature is +2.8°C, the warmest month is July with an average temperature of 17.5°C, the coldest is January with an average temperature of -12.6°C. The amount of precipitation during the year is distributed evenly and is large enough, so the wetting processes prevail over the evaporation processes. A consequence of this and impassable forests and swampy soil in the vicinity of the city.
Where to stay and eat well
In a town of 6,000 people, not used to the influx of tourists, it is not easy to find a place to stay overnight. The main city hotel “Soligalich” is temporarily out of operation, so you cannot rely on it. Another potential place to stay is the Borodin sanatorium. Borodin, one of the oldest in Russia. The sanatorium has been operating since the middle of the 19th century and specializes in the treatment of musculoskeletal system. But an ordinary tourist without a sanatorium card will not be allowed to go there. So almost the only available option for a visitor is a guest house of V.S. Rostetskaya. Hotel IP Rostetskaya is located in the heart of the city on the embankment of the river Kostroma, 26. The small hotel offers 5 rooms of economy class. Prices range from 400 RUB to 750 RUB per room per night. Each room has free Wi-Fi.
The choice of cafes and restaurants is also not great, and the lack of such places leads to the fact that cafes are often closed for special services. Therefore, it is better to take care about the place for dinner in advance, booking a table in the afternoon.
As usual, the best place to eat out is a restaurant with a name similar to the city. The cafe-restaurant “Soligalich” is located at Lenin Street, 2. The good quality of dishes pleasantly harmonizes with the “ridiculous” prices. For example, a full lunch can cost about 200 rubles. Working hours: 12:00 – 01:00.
An alternative to “Soligalich” is cafe “Titanic” which has exactly the same advantages. The address of “Titanic” is Komsomolskaya street, 3. The cafe is open from 12:00 to 02:00. And finally, the last option is the cafe “Teremok”, located at 7, Komsomunisticheskaya str.
All the attractions of the city
Due to the history, Soligalich has not changed much over the past 100 years. All the attractions of the city date back to the pre-revolutionary period. However, up to 90% of buildings in Soligalich are wooden houses, and only churches and individual civilian buildings are built in stone.
Monument to M. Lermontov
The first thing that will meet a tourist arriving in the town by bus is a monument to Lermontov. The monument is located directly opposite the city bus station on Kostromskaya street. The statue was set up in the fifties of XX century to the design of the sculptor B. A. Zotov. The poet himself had never been to the town, but Soligalich and Lermontov still had a connection. For a long time Lermontov’s relatives on his father’s side lived in the town.
Museum of Local Lore
Almost any small town can boast that an outstanding person was born and grew up there. Soligalich connected with the name of the famous admiral and explorer G. I. Nevelsky, who opened the Tartar Strait between Sakhalin and the continent, attached the mouth of the Amur River to Russia, and founded the city Nikolaevsk-on-Amur. The memory of the outstanding countryman is imprinted in the local history museum of Soligalich, which bears the name of Nevelsky. The museum is located in the heart of the city at Sovetskaya St., 2. The museum has several permanent exhibitions: “Soligalich icon”, “Western European painting”, “Portrait gallery of the nobles Cherevinyh” and, of course, the exhibition devoted to Nevelsky. The permanent guests of the museum are expositions of the Kostroma Historical, Architectural and Art Museum Reserve, a branch of the Soligalich Museum. Tickets cost 155 rubles.
Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
Most of the churches in Soligalich are in need of restoration, but some of them were literally turned into ruins during the Soviet era. The church on Navoloka, located at 7 Ostrovskogo St. near the bridge over the Kostroma River, is one of them. The temple was built at the end of the XVII century in the style of Russian patterns. In the 30s of the twentieth century, the church was destroyed and the bell tower collapsed in the 80s. Now only the foundation is left of the temple. However, despite the destruction, the church was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and is now a functioning temple.
Monument to V. Vyluzgin
Installed in the center of the local Red Square in front of the Local History Museum of Soligalich. This monument is a tribute to the tumultuous years of the revolution, which did not pass Soligalich. Vasily Vyluzgin was the first chairman of the local Council, who died during the mutiny of local residents against the Soviets in 1918. Subsequently, the memory of the revolutionary was immortalized in a plaster monument.
The Old and New Market Rows
Red Square in Soligalich is framed by two buildings of trading rows with simple names: And if the New Trading Rows are a late stylization of the original building that was demolished, then the Old ones are unique in their own way. In the first half of the XIX century trading rows were built throughout Russia, but only in Soligalich they were erected of wood. This unique monument of wooden classicism is in a dismal state, but it gives it a touching look. At the moment a large-scale reconstruction of the Old Trading Rows is planned.
Departmental railroad located on the territory of the Kostroma and Vologda regions. The section Lamsa – Soligalich belongs to the local lime plant. Once it was also used for passenger traffic, so a wooden building of the station was built there. But now only departmental freight trains move along the tracks. The station itself is now abandoned and not even depicted on maps. For fans of such architecture it is possible to name the approximate location of the building: it is necessary to move to the north of the city to the lime factory and to the place where the railroad tracks begin.
The memory of the famous native of these places Nevelsky is imprinted not only in the local history museum, but also in the monument to the explorer. The obelisk is located at 25 Vyluzgina St. The bust and pedestal were installed to celebrate the 150th birthday of the explorer in 1964.
House of merchants Shalaevs.
It is a bright example of wooden architecture, which is so rich in Soligalich. First of all, the house is distinguished by a fine artistic carving on the entire facade. The exact address of the house – st. Gagarina, 5.
The monastery was founded back in 1335, and the date of the foundation of the monastery is also considered to be the date of the foundation of the city. Despite their antiquity, the buildings of the monastery fell into decay during the Soviet era, so only two churches have been preserved: the Resurrection Cathedral and the Church of the Epiphany (both in the late 17th century). You can find picturesque ruins at the intersection of the Kostroma River Embankment and Bulvarnaya Street.
One of the many objects of wooden architecture in Soligalich. The building was constructed in the early XIX century and is an example of provincial wooden classicism. The manor, decorated with balusters, is located at 21, Kommunisticheskaya St.
House of merchant Zavyalov
The house was built in the middle of the XIX century, later used as a Noble Assembly. Zavyalov’s house is adjoined by a tavern, also owned by the famous Soligalich merchant. Now the stone building is occupied by the city administration. The exact address – ul. Karla Liebkneht, 2.
Church of the Transfiguration
Was built in 1821 and belongs to the then dominant style of Classicism. Church of the Transfiguration was once a part of the same complex as the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker on Navoloka, but it is much better preserved than the latter and is a functioning cathedral. The address of the church is 6 Ostrovskogo street.
Perhaps the most striking example of local architecture, built at the very end of the XVII century as the main temple of the Nativity of the Convent. In the second half of the XVIII century, the monastery was abolished, and the Nativity Cathedral was rebuilt in the style of regional Ustyuzh baroque. The cathedral is located at: 1B Vyluzgin St.
Old Assumption Church
It was built in 1778 by donations of parishioners and was located in the territory of the Old Town of Soligalich. It was Soligalich’s only church standing on the left bank of the Kostroma River. The church was destroyed in the 30s, and all that is left of it are ruins. The address of the church is 41 Naberezhnaya St.
Located on the territory of the oldest in Russia sanatorium named after A. Borodin. The wooden structure is the object of cultural heritage and was built in the late 19th century. The address is Valovaya street, 7.
Church of the Epiphany
The church was a part of the defunct Voskresensky monastery and was used as a winter church. The temple was built at the end of XVII century. Nowadays the church is not used for its intended purpose, but the building is maintained in a satisfactory condition through the efforts of the local administration. The church is located at the intersection of Bulvarnaya Street and the embankment of the river Kostroma.
The old fortress is a local Kremlin, the buildings of which have not survived to this day. The fortress was founded at the end of the XV century after the town was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Moscow. The Kremlin was an earth rampart, on which an 8-meter high wooden wall and 2 towers were placed. A few decades later, the fortress withstood a three-day siege of the Kazan Tartars. Until today, the wooden buildings of the fortress have not survived, so it remained only a high earthen rampart. However, the fortress is an ideal place for walks. The address is 43 Naberezhnaya St., on the right bank of the Kostroma River.
Church of the Holy Cross
It was built in the beginning of the XIX century in the style of classicism in the very center of the Red Square in Soligalich. Its construction began after a fire in 1808, when the temple that stood there was destroyed in the fire. During the Soviet times the church was turned into a movie theater, the bell tower and the ending were demolished. In the post-Soviet time the movie theater was closed, and the building of the former church housed a shooting gallery and a store.
Church of the Entrance to Jerusalem
The Church of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem belongs to many ruined temples of Soligalich. Built in the very beginning of the XIX century, the church was closed in the 30s of the XX century and is not used in any way nowadays. The spire and the end of the cathedral are broken, but the rest of the ruins are properly maintained, so you can visit the monument. Address of the church: 8, Karl Liebknecht str.
Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker at the Soligalich Prison Castle was founded at the very end of the 19th century. Like many other temples of the city, after the revolution, its completion was demolished, and the building was adapted for household needs. The former temple is still in the same condition. Address of the church: Vyluzgin Street, 54.
Now it’s hard to believe that Soligalich was once one of the first resorts in Russia. The reason for this was also the mineral water springs, which were located in the vicinity of the city. One of them is still active today and is located near the city. To get absolutely free mineral water, you need to move in a northeasterly direction to the exit of the city on the road to the village of Zashugomye. The spring is located in the forest just behind the “Sidoricha” stadium.
Church of Peter and Paul
Another one of the temples of Soligalich is the Church of Peter and Paul, built in the early XIX century. The church retained its purpose even during the Soviet era, largely because it had the status of a temple at the city cemetery. You can find the church of Peter and Paul in the southwestern part of the city in the cemetery. The exact address is Kalinina street, 18A.
Certainly, Soligalich cannot compete in its sights with the most popular small towns of Russia, such as Suzdal or Rostov the Great. However, the charm of the Russian North, manifested in its architectural monuments, will not leave an indifferent traveler who decides to come to Soligalich.