Kostroma’s 30+ best places to see
The ancient Volga city delights with coziness, nice provincialism and a huge number of interesting places. We tell you where to go for a walk, what to see for free, and which museums to visit to discover wonderful Kostroma.
The Terem of the Snow Maiden
The Terem of Snegurochka was built in 2008. Here all guests, from small to large, feel like in a marvelous Russian fairy tale. Especially amazing is the “Ice Room”, in which everything is made of transparent ice. Why was Kostroma chosen as the residence of Santa Claus’ granddaughter? The fact is that it was on Kostroma land by Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky that the fairy tale “Snegurochka” was invented, and later film director Pavel Kadochnikov shot a film of the same name in Kostroma.
2. Susaninskaya Square
Several centuries ago in the center of the settlement there were buildings of the posad, and since 1619 – the New Town of the Kostroma Kremlin. In 1773 in Kostroma there was a fire, the Kremlin and some houses were burnt down. Later in their place was arranged semicircular Catherine Square, named after the Russian Empress. In 1835 by decree of Tsar Nicholas I it was renamed Susaninskaya. In 1851 on the square was established a monument to the first of the Romanovs – Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich and peasant Ivan Susanin. The monument has not survived, but you can see a memorial sign in its place.
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3. the Ostrovsky gazebo
The white stone pavilion on the high bank of the Volga is one of the most romantic places in Kostroma. Although it bears the name of Aleksandr Nikolayevich Ostrovsky, the gazebo was erected in 1956, 70 years after the writer’s death. According to the notes from Ostrovsky’s diary, there used to be another pavilion, where the author of The Snow Maidenhead liked to come. To the pavilion is convenient to walk along the embankment. You can get by buses and trolleybuses, but the easiest way is to take a bus number 4. Get off at the bus stop “Gornaya Street”.
4. Romanov museum
In the historic part of the city in a beautiful old mansion there is a museum, which was opened more than a hundred years ago – the 300th anniversary of the royal dynasty of the Romanovs. Today its halls hold a rich art collection, including paintings by Golovin, Korovin, Tatlin, Aivazovsky, Repin, Serov and Levitan. You can also see the exhibition of Heraldic Coats of Arms of Kostroma Province.
5. Borschow House
This beautiful classic mansion belonged to Lieutenant General Semen Semenovich Borshchov and was a part of the estate next to Catherine Square. Emperor Nikolai I and his son Alexander stayed in the house of Borshchov in 1834 together with his tutor – poet Vasily Zhukovsky. Later the mansion was sold by Borshchov’s heir to the merchant Pershushin, who arranged the “London” hotel in the house. In 1870 the building was purchased by the city and rebuilt for the district court. The district court is located here to this day, so tourists can look at the building only from the street.
6. Museum-reserve “Kostroma settlement
In 1955 when a dam for the Gorki Hydroelectric Power Station was being built, old wooden buildings from the flooded area were taken to the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma. Most of the buildings came there from the Kostroma village of Spas Vezhi. In the museum “Kostroma Sloboda” there are open-air samples of folk architecture – wooden churches, peasant houses, bathhouses, barns, and ovines. Inside you can see the authentic furniture and household items. Also, the museum has interesting exhibitions devoted to the traditions of Russian tea drinking, wedding ceremonies and pottery.
7. Museum of Folk Arts and Crafts “Petrovskaya toy
This small and cozy museum in an old house is very popular among parents with children. The halls display painted clay toys not only from the village of Petrovskoye near Kostroma, but also from other regions of Russia. Guests enjoy taking part in master classes, where they learn how to model and fire funny whistles, cockerels, jugs and puffins from clay.
8. Red Rows
After the great fire of 1773 in the center of Kostroma a spacious shopping area was set up. The first benches were of wood, but in 1775 stone construction began. By 1783 the square was finally built up. Here worked the Chalky rows, which traded in dry goods. Residents bought goods in the Gingerbread, Bread, Kvass, Livestock, Fish, Meat and Horny rows. There were Green, Butter, Vegetable, Tobacco and Mercury rows. Nowadays Kostroma Red Rows continues to be a boisterous trade, and Kostroma citizens and tourists can buy there food, household items, souvenirs, and much more.
This mansion in pompous late Empire style was built in 1823-1826 under the guidance of architect Peter Ivanovich Fursov at the place of the wooden guardhouse. The building had a guardhouse where soldiers served and those who broke discipline were kept. In 2007 a museum of military history was opened in the Kostroma guardhouse. Its halls display weapons, and exhibitions devoted to different periods of military history of Russia are held.
10. Les Chudodei Museum
This decorative two-storeyed mansion of red brick with carved platbands and a figured roof is lovingly called a “fairy tale house” by the residents of Kostroma. Tourists are welcomed by several thematic halls: “Pantry of Nature”, “World of Forest Tales” and “Magic of Natural Materials and Metal”. The museum has a permanent exhibition “Jewelry Wonders”. Guests are shown beautiful crafts from wood, roots, twigs, birch bark and metal, as well as a master class on making elegant beetles from willow twigs.
11. Fireplace Fireplace
The high building on Susaninskaya Square in the center of Kostroma was erected in 1824-1825 according to the project of the architect Peter Ivanovich Fursov. Kostroma fireplace is a fine example of Russian classicism. In 1834 the city was visited by Nicholas I. The emperor expressed his admiration for the building, and after that for many years it was considered as the most beautiful fireplace in Russia. Until the beginning of the 21st century the old fireplace was used as intended, but in 2005 the building was given to the Kostroma Museum-Reserve. Now there is a museum of fire architecture.
12. the Ipatiev Monastery
The exact date of the foundation of the Orthodox monastery is unknown. The first written mention of the monastery dates back to 1432. In 1613, Mikhail Romanov, the ancestor of the tsarist dynasty, was elected to the throne here. In 1919 the monastery was closed and its property was nationalized. In 2005, the monastery was returned to the church. In the monastery there are more than 50 historical buildings. The central place is occupied by the large Trinity Cathedral. People come here to see the five-tiered gilded iconostasis and the wall paintings done by the famous Russian isographer Guriy Nikitin.
13. The Church of the Resurrection on the Debra
One of the most beautiful churches of Kostroma was built in 1654 instead of two wooden churches. It served the faithful until 1930. During the anti-religious campaign of the Soviet authorities, the church was closed, and the building was given to the dormitory of the port loaders. Then in the former church was arranged warehouse, a work canteen, and in the 1950s was given for housing. Virtually nothing remained of the old church. Restoration of the architectural monument began in 1980s: a refectory and a bell tower were built. In 2010, the church was fully restored and given to the orthodox church. Now services are conducted there.
14. Zero meridian
The historical part of Kostroma has a radial-ring plan, so the center marks the “zero meridian”. On the sidewalk of Susaninskaya square there is an eight-pointed star, a rose of the winds, from which radial streets of Kostroma diverge to the sides. This unusual sight is very popular. The zero meridian of Kostroma is constantly visited by tourists, who come to take memorable pictures.
15. Monument to Yury Dolgoruky
Monument to the son of Vladimir Monomakh – Yury Dolgorukiy appeared in Kostroma in 2003. The figure of a sitting prince on a wide bench looks impressive. The founder of Kostroma stretched out his right hand forward, and with his left hand he holds a sword, which is shaped like a wide cross and is crowned with a crown. Alexius II, Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, is related to the history of the monument. In 2002 he visited Kostroma and brought from Kiev-Pechersk Lavra a capsule with some soil from the grave of Yuri Dolgorukiy. After that a memorial stone was laid and later a bronze monument 4,5 m high and weighing more than 4 tons was installed.
What else to see in Kostroma
The Volga city is not large in size, but it has enough interesting places, museums and monuments. Let us list a few more sights that are worth seeing in Kostroma.
- 16. Memorial to war dead
- 17. Cheese Exchange
- 18. Museum of flax and birch bark
- 19. monastery of the Epiphany Anastasis
- 20. Monument to the dog in Susaninskaya Square
- 21. Obelisk of the Moscow gates
- 22. Monument stone at the site of the founding of the city
- 23. Museum of theater costume
- 24. Arboretum
- 25. Museum of Nature of the Kostroma Region
- 26. Museum “Fairyland Snegurochka
- 27. Moose farm
- 28. Planetarium
- 30. Zoo
- 31. Monument to Ostrovsky
Tales of Russian silverware
The enterprise in the Kostroma region creates collections of silverware inspired by Russian folk tales and bylinas. The uniqueness of the production lies in its adherence to one direction. Here products are made exclusively on one theme, for years creating a single large collection – Tales of Russian Silver. There is a showroom and excursions to the production.
Popular questions and answers
Moscow and Kostroma are separated by 378 km. Tourists who travel in their own cars, go along the Yaroslavskoe highway, the road takes about 4 hours. By fast Lastochka train you will get there in 4 hours, and by long-distance trains in 6 hours. By bus you will spend 7 hours.
A one-day bus trip with a guide from Moscow costs from 2990 rubles. To see more sights, you can buy a two-day tour. Tourists come to Kostroma by rail and stay overnight in a 3* hotel. Prices for such trips start from 7510 rubles per person.
On Pushkin card you may go to the Museum of Nature, to the evening tour of the main exposition of the Romanov Museum, to the city tours “The History of Kostroma in 60 minutes”, “A comprehensive tour of the Guardhouse building”, “Nightlife of old Kostroma”, “Kostroma reserved”, “Bus sightseeing tour of Kostroma”.
How to get there
Airport “Sokerkino” is located 5 km from Kostroma. From there you can get to the city by public transport and cab. There are not many flights to Kostroma, but the geography of flights includes Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Sochi, Anapa, Chelyabinsk, St. Petersburg and Simferopol. Airport website: kostroma-avia.ru
In Kostroma there is a good railway station, here regularly arrive trains from Moscow, St. Petersburg, as well as transit trains of long-distance travel. There are trolleybus № 2 from the station to the center of the city. You can take a train to Yaroslavl and from there to Kostroma by bus. Website of the railway station: kostroma.dzvr.ru
In Kostroma there is an intercity bus station. There come buses from Moscow, Yaroslavl, Ivanovo, Vladimir, Vologda. Website of the station: av-kostroma.ru
30 best places of interest in Kostroma
Kostroma is a jewel in the setting of the Golden Ring of Russia. The history of this ancient Russian city dates back to the 12th century, when it began to be built on a high picturesque bank of the Volga River. Over the past centuries, many events significant for the formation of the Russian state took place behind its fortress walls.
Here, in Ipatiev Monastery, the future Tsar Mikhail Romanov was saved during the Time of Troubles, and Ivan Susanin accomplished his feat. Having survived several fires in its history, the town was rebuilt again, and by the end of the 18th century, it acquired the unique flavor of a Russian merchant town, which has become a center of ethnographic and religious tourism nowadays. The sights of Kostroma fascinate tourists, bringing them into the atmosphere of the 18th and 19th centuries, when the town was experiencing its heyday.
As a rule, an introduction to the sights begins with the Trade Rows, located a few blocks from Susanin Square to the site of the former Kremlin. This ancient trading complex with numerous shops and warehouses is recognized as a valuable monument of town planning. Its erection began after the fire in 1775 according to the project of the famous architect Karl von Kler. The center of Trade Rows are two opposite buildings, built in the late classicist tradition – the Gostiny Dvor with 86 rooms (Red Rows) and the block of Big Flour Rows.
People used to call them rows where they sold fabrics, furs, shoes, and leather goods. You will see two similar rows with rounded corners outside and spacious courtyards. Entering the Red Rows, you will see four single-storey buildings, harmoniously blended with the outer buildings. They were built in the 20-30s of the 20th century for the merchants’ shops, who traded in dry goods, and were called “Chalky Rows”.
From the outside, the Trading Rows seem small, but once you enter the arch of the Gostiny Dvor, you immediately find yourself in a large shopping city with its own “streets”, where behind some buildings appear other buildings. And, just as in the old days of merchants’ sweep, today you can find a brisk trade in merchandise for which the region is famous. You can visit the Trading Rows at any time of day or night. The central entrance is at 1 Red Ryad Street.
If you get tired of walking along the Market Rows, it is time to walk along Tobacco Rows Street to the Volga River Embankment, where you can reach the Central Park. It is located in the northern part of the former Kostroma Kremlin. Today, the park is a favorite recreation place for citizens. In its center on the pedestal, built for the celebration of 300th anniversary of the Romanov monarchic dynasty, there is a monument to V.I. Lenin.
The fact is that on that pedestal were to stand the figures of Kuzma Minin, Dmitry Pozharsky and Ivan Susanin, but the monument was not completed before the revolution of 1917. So the leader of the proletariat appeared on the pedestal. Walk to the observation deck, built on the remains of the Kremlin wall, to admire a stunning view of the Volga and the Volga pier. You can walk from the park to the pier along a stone path down a beautiful staircase.
There are original benches with the city’s coat of arms on the territory, and there is also a single unique bench – Reconciliation. According to local tradition, it is necessarily visited by newlyweds, as well as spouses who want to reconcile after a quarrel. The park has several merry-go-rounds and rides, as well as a children’s railroad. The main entrance is located on the side of Tchaikovsky Street.
Breathtaking view over city panorama and bank of the Volga opens from Ostrovsky pavilion, standing on a high embankment, the remnants of the former fortress. The pavilion, which has become a symbol of the city, was built in 1956, much later the famous playwright liked to relax in this place, drawing inspiration. Built white-stone pavilion appears in the traditional for the 19th century garden architecture of such structures, former in many Russian noble estates.
It consists of seven columns covered with a roof. This pavilion became famous all over the country for the shooting of the film “Cruel Romance” based on the play “Bespridannitsa” by Alexander Ostrovsky. It is located near the 1st of May street.
The fire tower on Susaninskaya Square has been an important symbol since it was built. It is a real monument of architecture of the end of the 18th beginning of the 19th century that harmoniously blended in the architectural ensemble of the square. The majestic stone building looks like an antique temple with Corinthian columns, 6 porticoes, with fire depots on their edges.
In the center of the triangular pediment there is a high relief of a two-headed eagle. The building of the fire tower consisted of living quarters, sheds for machinery and water barrels. There was an observation tower above the main building, where from a height of 35 metres a watchman watched over the fire situation in the town and, when he saw a fire, rang the bell and set off the fire balls, which gave warning of the place of inflammation.
A red balloon meant a fire in the center and a blue one on the outskirts. At night, warning lights – white and red – were used to alert. The Fire Brigade building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected by the state. Now there is a museum of the Fire Brigade, which is open from Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 16.00. Weekends Saturday and Sunday.
The stone building of the brig on Susaninskaya Square, built in the early 19th century in the Empire style, was built for the detention of arrested soldiers. Famous historic personalities – the Decembrists, the Narodnaya Volya and the Polish insurgents – had to stay within its walls. The one-story building with columns and mezzanine upstairs attracts the eye with its ornate facade with decorative and thematic stucco decorations reminding of the Russian people’s victories over Napoleon.
Exquisitely executed: the composition with an angel supporting the tsar’s monogram, military shields and ammunition. The windows are decorated with beautiful snow-white decor. Historical and cultural monument of the brig is a cultural heritage of the state. Today it houses a museum of military history.
Its halls hold unique exhibits of weapons that have been used in wars at different historical epochs. You can see different samples of sabers and daggers, revolvers and guns. Military uniforms, chain mail, helmets and shields are of great interest. There is also a large collection of orders, medals, banners and historical documents. Visitors can also take pictures of themselves in uniforms and with weapons.
The architectural ensemble of Ivan Susanin Square is notable for Senator Borshchov’s House, which is more like a palace mansion. It can be called without exaggeration a monument of Kostroma architecture of the late classicism. The majestic building with columns was one of the largest urban estates of the first quarter of the 19th century. The main facade overlooking the square is a two-storeyed mansion with a mezzanine decorated in the center by a portico of Corinthian order. The presence of powerful columns, erected on the lower floor ledge with arcade and figured lattice, make the building especially majestic.
The big oval windows between the columns and the rich stucco decor give the mansion a grand appearance. The interior of the house is notable for two large halls. There are white tiled stoves, panelled doors and stucco ceiling cornices. The decoration of the front stairs with cast iron steps and railing posts made of scrolls is amazing. The historical building now houses a district court, so it is not possible to see its interior.