The historic town of Uglich (founded 1148) is located on a bend in the River Volga (the town's name means 'bend) and was the first stop on our cruise after we left Moscow. As the picture shows, it looks very pretty from the river, with several very old churches sporting colourful onion domes. Uglich features a museum devoted to the manufacture of vodka, though we didn't visit it.
Its historic significance relates to Uglich being the site of the death in 1591 of Prince Dimitry, the youngest son of Czar Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible"). The citizens of Uglich suspected foul play by Boris Gudenov, the chief advisor of Dmitri's uncle Feodor. They revolted against the Czar who replied by beheading two hundred of them and exiling a further five thousand to Siberia.
On the spot where Prince Dimitry (Demetrius) died was built the 17th century Church of St Demetrius of the Spilled Blood. The exterior is lovely, but the main attraction is the inside where every inch of wall is covered with colourful murals depicting religious scenes and the history of Uglich..
Detail of one of the colourful walls of the church of St Demetrius of the Spilled Blood, showing
the gruesome past of Uglich
The bell that sounded Prince Dmitri's death, restored to Uglich in 1892 after centuries of 'exile' in Siberia
The painted interior of St Demetrius are simple compared to the gold encrusted magnificence of the Transfiuration Cathedral, built in the early 18th century. Several of its walls are covered with
row upon row of gold icons. We sat for a brief recital by a small but lovely-sounding choir and were then ushered into rooms with more icons and glass cases displaying historic artifacts.
The Cathedral is situated in pretty gardens.
Moving music against a golden backdrop
The short walk between our cruise ship and the town took us past a huge array of stalls selling all manner of souvenirs from paintings, to textiles, to the usual matryoshka dolls and communist memorabilia. This is one of the best shopping places on this tour as there is plenty of choice and the prices are much better than in Moscow or St Petersburg.
Plenty of shopping and welcome seating near our boat at Uglich