Picturesque Susaninskaya pl was built under Catherine the Great’s patronage after a fire in 1773 (based on, as legend says, the shape of her fan) and nicely revamped for the Romanov dynasty's 400-year anniversary in 2013. Its immense Italianate Trading Arcades used to house hundreds of shops selling goods shipped along the Volga in its heyday, some of which are still represented in its street names (flour, tobacco, fish, spices and milk). Today it houses Kostroma's central market.
The Ivan Susanin Monument (Памятник Ивану Сусанину), standing in a small park between the arcades, celebrates a local hero who guided Polish soldiers hunting for Mikhail Romanov into a swamp – and to their deaths. (Ivan didn't survive, either.) His deed was lionized by Mikhail Glinka in the opera A Life for the Tsar.
The opposite side of the square features a manicured park with radiating paths and is graced by an imposing neoclassical Fire Tower (Пожарная каланча), built in 1827, and a former Guardhouse.