Having taken Moscow’s side against all comers seemingly from its inception, Vologda was rewarded by Ivan the Terrible, who considered the quaint city perhaps worthy of his presence there – Vologdians remain steadfast in their belief that the city was a contender for Russian capital.
Until the 17th century, Vologda was an important centre of industry, commerce and arts, with Vologda lace becoming renowned as a luxury item. However, with the development of St Petersburg, Vologda was pushed into the background. At the start of the 20th century, political undesirables such as Josef Stalin and religious philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev were exiled here. Nonetheless, for just a few months in 1918, Vologda became the diplomatic capital of Russia, and today this laid-back, church-studded city is a great base for exploring the region.
For background information on the city's connection to lace, visit www.artrusse.ca/lace.htm.