Welcome to Veliky Ustyug
This laid-back, church-studded historical town, founded in 1147 and once a key trading port, was a forgotten backwater until 1998, when then-Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov proclaimed it to be the official home of Ded Moroz, Russia's version of Santa Claus. Today the town, its main streets parallel to the wide Sukhona River, is overflowing with Ded Moroz–related 'attractions'. With its historical buildings in various states of disrepair, Veliky Ustyug is only really worth a visit if you are travelling with kids or are particularly fond of Santa. If you do decide to take children here, be aware that Ded Moroz and his helpers speak very little English.