We wake to a new day but not a new sky – it is still cloudy. Our ship has been travelling all night and after breakfast, we pass through a loch and into the town of Uglich.
Founded in 937, Uglich is one of the most beautiful towns of the Yaroslavl region. Its foundation is ascribed to a relation of a Kievan Prince Igor whom he had sent to the Upper Volga ‘to levy tribute and to register population’. Uglich features an ancient kremlin in a very provincial setting. Up to the 17th century that was all that Uglich had represented – a kremlin surrounded by the trading and the artisans’ quarter fortified with ditches and ramparts and a few, unfortified, settlements beyond. The trading quarter has 10 monasteries, two trading squares and houses of townsfolk. Years ago, this small town used to mint its own coins.
In the 16th century, Uglich became the center of the most important events – in 1552 a portable wooden fortress was assembled by Uglich carpenters for Ivan the Terrible to take Tatar capital Kazan to put the end to the Mongol-Tatar yoke that had lasted for over two centuries. Under Catherine the Great, Uglich became an administrative center and its architecture was changed to become more symmetrical. Despite the economic decline in the 19th century, the town’s old history and its charming beauty lured people of arts who stared its cultural revival.
Following a talk about the handcrafts of Russia, we are taken on a walking tour through the ‘country-style’ kremlin, which includes visiting three churches. In one of the churches, we are favored with a couple of songs from a male quintet. Man, did that 2nd Bass get down ‘low’.
Like Moscow, Uglich shops do not have a verandah over the footpath; the entry ways are small and non-inviting. We try the local supermarket for some toiletries. It is not self-serve and the customer service person found the products for us on the shelves. We are reminded of how things used to be done in the old 4 square shop on the corner back in the 50s. After wandering into many of the shops just to see how they operate, we make our way back to the ship through the vendors’ market place where artifacts and national dress code is available at reasonable prices.
Our ship departs the little town of Uglich at 1:45pm. Another four-course meal is available for lunch and then we take part in a Russian language course for an hour. The Russian language is made up of 33 letters and many shapes representing the different other sounds used within the sounding of the word.
We have a short rest followed by a History lesson about the period pre the 1917 revolution. I enjoy hearing history but as for re-telling it accurately, I am useless. So I can’t tell you what was mentioned other than names like Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great and Elizabeth. Of course there were other names which ….you best google for the detail.
Tour director, Anna, gives a short talk on tomorrows program and dinner is another, “weight watchers delight” – NOT!