Kostroma is the big capital city of Kostroma Oblast, and a stop on Russia's Golden Ring circuit. It is a historic city, founded in the 12th century, and served as a sort of northern retreat for the powerful in Muscovy when threatened by southern and western invaders. Kostroma's wealth of art and architecture is owed to the legacy of such retreats. Visitors should not miss the Hypatian Monastery and the historic city center around Susaninskaya ploshchad. Kostroma outside the historic center is grey and industrial and off the itinerary for most tourists.
There are daily overnight trains to/from Moscow and trains (elektrichki) from Yaroslavl. There are also daily buses to/from Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, and Vladimir through Suzdal.
In the summer, in addition to the expensive cruise boats, a hydrofoil service runs along the Volga River between Kostroma-Yaroslavl (2 hours) and Kostroma-Plyos (1 hour). It costs about 50 rubles for a one-way trip.
The service was suppressed (2008)
Bus #13 shuttles between the main square (Susaninskaya ploshchad) and Hypatiev Monastery. Trolleybus #2 runs between the main square and the train station. Public transport should cost you about 10 RUR per ride (as for 2010).
The Iconostasis at the Saint Hypatia Monastery
- The Trading Arcades, along Sovetskaya ul. and Susaninskaya ploshchad. An 18th century trading center, now houses shops and a market
- Susaninskaya Ploshchad. The main square is named after Ivan Susanin, a peasant who became a hero after misleading Polish invaders into a swamp, where they all died. The square has several buildings of note, including the Fire Tower, a delightful piece of 19th century architecture and currently a museum, and a literature museum within a 19th century guard house.
- Bogoyavlensky (Epiphany) Monastery. Located one block down Simonovskogo ul., this 14th century monastery houses the 12th century Icon of Fedorovsky Bogomater, which according to legend was found hanging from a tree by a Russian prince. The main cathedral dates back to 1559.
- Saint Hypatia Monastery, 1 Prosveshcheniya ul., ☎ +7 4942 57-25-89. 09:00–17:00, services daily at 08:00 and 17:00. A huge and important monastery (est. 1330), which contains the Museum of Wooden Architecture, the Bogoroditsky Cathedral (est. 1552), and the Spaso-Preobrazhenskaya Church (which was made without a single nail). 50 RUR.
- Museum of Wooden Architecture, 1a Prosveshcheniya ul., ☎ +7 0922 39-15-12. 09:00–17:00. An outdoor architectural museum of wooden churches, houses, and a mill from the Kostroma region. Admission included in the Monastery entrance fee.
- Slavyansky, Located within the Trading Arcades. A popular local restaurant serving Russian cuisine 100 RUR.
- Pizzeria, 29 Sovetskaya ul. A great pizza place within the same building as the Mush Hotel 30–70 RUR.
- Mush Hotel, 29 Sovetskaya ul., ☎ +7 4942 31-24-00 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 4942 31-10-45). A luxury guest-house that will let you use their kitchen and includes free breakfast, the 12 hour stay is a great deal doubles: 1,200–1,500 RUR for 24 hours, 660 RUR for 12 hours (21:00–09:00).
- Korvet Boat-Hotel, 90 Nizhnye Debri ul. Rooms on this boat are clean and functional and this is the cheapest option in the center; doesn't take reservations and you won't need them anyway 350–400 RUR.
- Volga Hotel, 1 Yunosheskaya ul., ☎ +7 4942 54-61-63. Located right by the bridge over the Volga River 400–750 RUR.
- Stary Dvor, 2 Sovetskaya ul., ☎ +7 4942 31-54-81.
- The next big stops on the Golden Ring circuit are Yaroslavl and Ivanovo.
- If weird is what you want, head over to Sumarokovo to see the Kostroma Moose Farm, where the Soviets domesticated the moose!
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