Vologda Region was founded in 1937 and has an area of 145 700 sq. km and 1 218 000 population with 68% living in cities and towns. It is located in the Moscow time zone. The Region administrative centre is Vologda with 286 000 population, located 400 km far from Moscow.
The Region relief is hilly with 12% of the territory covered with swamp. Largest rivers are Sukhona, Vologda, Lusa and others with Rybinsk Reservoir in the south-west. River pearls are be found in rivers.
The climate is moderately continental and rather humid. Winters are cold (average temperature of the coldest month —14C) and summers are warm (average temperature of the warmers month +18C). Snow stays for about 160 days.
Vologda is not merely the administrative but also a historical and a culture tourist centre. Among the most popular attractions is the Vologda Kremlin, which is a historical, architecture and art museum. The Vologda Art Gallery offers an interesting exhibition. The House Museums of Peter the Great, the Russian poet K.N. Batyushkov and the merchant Samarin are must-see. A unique museum is the Vologda Museum of Antiques, where things now out of use reproduce the life of a town estate of XIX-XX centuries, attracting interest of those who have never seen such things and evoking nostalgia of those who have used these things as a child. Besides the subject exhibitions the Museum frequently hosts various music events and literary soirees.
Besides the capital a number of other towns (e.g., Belozersk, Veliky Ustuyg, Totma) usually attract tourists with their reach history. The best time to visit Veliky Ustuyg is definitely around January. And make sure you bring your kids since the town is considered to be the official residence of Ded Moroz (Russian Santa Clause). The actual native home of Ded Moroz is a house 11 km far from Ustuyg where you could show your kids the natural Ded Moroz, send greeting cards to your friends, buy souvenirs or make a present with your own hands in «workshops».
In Belozersk you could visit a prince’s «gridnitsa» (a room for prince’s bodyguards). Belozersk is actually one of the oldest Russian towns since it is mentioned in the chronicles of year 862. You could visit the Kremlin with ramparts and ditches dated XV century, the Transfiguration Cathedral of the XVII century and see a performance of a military history club «Warriors of Sineus».
There’s also the Belozersk History and Art Museum, the Belozersk Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Museum of the Russian poet Sergey Orlov, the Handicraft Centre, the Cultural and Educational Centre «Istoki» (Background).
Regardless of your faith you should certainly visit the wonderful monasteries of the Vologda region — Kirillo-Belozersky and St. Ferapont . They have been popular places of visit for tourists, historians and artists for years. Many Russian tsars visited the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery, e.g. Vasily II, Vasily III, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great. As of now the monastery consists of 11 stone-made churches built in the period of XV-XVIII centuries. The main point of attention in the St. Ferapont monastery is the Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral. At the same time, the whole monastery ensemble has preserved to this day the unique harmony of sublime and severe architecture with appeasing landscape.
Vologda Region offers ethnographic tours where tourists get to know the history of a Russian village, traditions of a town estate, ritual places and places of public celebrations, peculiarities of interiors and household. They are also offered special programs for children and asked to participate in folk rituals. The examples of such tours are «Zhivaya Starina» (Living Old Time) around Pozharishe village of Nuksensky district, «Derevenskaya Kuhnya» (Village Cuisine) including master-classes for cooking traditional dishes, event tours with visits of Whitsun, Protection, Pancake day and Easter celebrations and autumn and summer fairs. Those who like handicrafts would be interested in Kirillovsky district where craftsmen work to revive special black glazed ceramics.
The Region has two large nature conservancy zones — the «Russky Sever» (Russian North) national park and the Darwin reserve.
For more detailed information on the region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.