Exploring Uglich, Russia with Volga Dream

by | Jan 7, 2019 | Russia, Wanderlust Travel Diary | 0 comments

Our last stop on the Cruise was at the small town of Uglich. It dates back to 937 AD but it’s remembered for one hugely significant event, the murder of Ivan the Terrible’s 8 year old son Dmitry in 1591. This was hugely important as it ended the Rurik Dynasty and led to years of trouble and uncertainty.

The name ‘Uglich’ itself has 3 possible origins: from a ulich tribe, a group of Eastern Slavs, a charcoal name or from geography because angle in Russian is ugal (угол.). It’s also nicknamed the Russian version of Switzerland because it’s famous for cheese, mineral water and watches!

Uglich, Russia, yellow house

At this point in our journey through rural Russia, we are still located in the Yaroslavl Oblast region, and Uglich is even older than Moscow! I am overwhelmed in the best way with beautiful moments from Uglich so let’s start with the Transfiguration Cathedral.

Transfiguration Cathedral

Transfiguration Cathedral Uglich
Transfiguration Cathedral Uglich
Georgiexoxo Uglich Russia

Just how beautiful is the Transfiguration Cathedral? Built in 1713, in the Russian Naryshkin Baroque style, the Transfiguration Cathedral dominates Uglich. It is best discovered during a concert due to its remarkable acoustics or during the town’s major feast day (of the Transfiguration), on the 19th of August, when the faithful flock here.

Transfiguration Cathedral uglich volga dream russia interior
Transfiguration Cathedral interior
Transfiguration Cathedral Uglich Interior

Inside, breathtaking frescoes and icons from the Moscow School of the 17th and the 19th century can be seen. One thing about Orthodox churches in Russia is that there is no wall space wasted. Every square inch is covered with frescoes, paintings, icons and other religious art forms and it’s a sight I will never forget.

Here in this photo above is the nave of the Cathedral. The nave is the main chamber of the church where most of the worshippers stand. Orthodox churches have no pews and people attending the service do it standing up. The Nave is separated from the sanctuary by the iconostasis.

The Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood

The Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood uglich
Church of St. Dmitry
Church of St. Dmitry Uglich, Russia
Church of St. Dmitry Uglich

Not surprisingly the main attraction is the Church of St. Dmitry and one of my favourite churches on my Russia trip. Have you ever seen a church so richly pigmented and decorated?! With its 5 characteristic blue cupola domes (and those magical stars I just adore) its small size makes it impractical as the main church for worship so they built the much larger Transfiguration Cathedral seen earlier for this purpose. 

The Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood is part of the Uglich Kremlin. Distinctive for its extraordinarily rich decoration of facades, standing out among other Uglich churches with red walls, snow-white platbands and bright blue domes with little stars. However, despite the facade standing out with all its decorations and elegant look, this is rather inconsistent with the sad event that the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood 8-year-old in memory of.

On the 15th May 1591, young tsarevich Dmitry, the last heir of Ivan the Terrible died in mysterious circumstances. The chronicles of the ‘Time of Troubles’ is full of gloomy stories about the death of the tsarevich, but the real causes of death of the last Rurik have never been found out. However, the most popular version was a cold-blooded murder, allegedly plotted by Boris Godunov, the pretender to the throne. This version was so well known and argued, that later on, that it provided the basis for the famous historical play “Boris Godunov” by Alexander Pushkin (for more about Alexander Pushkin you can find my St Petersburg travel post right here).


My time in Uglich was one of my favourite days mainly for these awe-inspiring churches I’ll never forget.

I really hope you’re enjoying all my Russian travels with Volga Dream. If you’re catching up, the first stop was the magnificent St. Petersburg. then we set sail for the charming Svirstroy, then the otherworldy Kizhi Island,  next up it was Goritsy then Yaroslavl and today here in Uglich. 

And the next post will be my final stop on my magical trip through Russia with Volga Dream. We’re off to Moscow! Meanwhile, for the rest of my travels head right here. Thank you so much for all your support and interest so far on these posts. I hope you loved Uglich as much as me and fall equally in love with Moscow. 


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I’m Georgie, founder of the enchanted living blog ‘Georgie xoxo’, ‘The Art Of Blogging’ and ‘Art Of Pinterest’ E-Courses and creator of an art and history online school called ‘Academy Of The Enchanted Arts.’  



I invite you to direct your heart, curiosity, creativity and wisdom to the re-enchantment of our world through art and music history education through the lens of enchantment so that you can deepen your reverence for your own life and all the magic and miracles around you.

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