The name of the settlement Uglich first appears in Russian history chronicles in the year 937. The Uglich community was formed along a major trade route. In its history, Uglich has survived destruction by the Tatars and lived through the devastation of fires and plagues. During the period of 1219 through 1521, Uglich was the capital of a small feudal dukedom. Uglich is famous for Russia's darkest secret--the death of Prince Dimitry, son of Ivan the Terrible. Uglich suffered a notorious uprising in 1591 after the 12-year-old Prince was allegedly assassinated by Boris Godunov's guard in this town. After Boris Godunov defeated the civil uprising of the townspeople, 180 people were executed and hundreds more were exiled to Siberia.
The Uglich fortress, or "Kremlin," stands on the bank of the Volga River. Several ancient churches are located within the "Kremlin" walls, the highlight of which is the beautiful Uspenskaya church of the 17th century. The Duke's chamber of the 15th century and the Resurrection "Voskresenskiy" convent is also located within the "Kremlin."
The center of the town also is a historical and architectural landmark. The streets are wide, with various churches standing side by side along the road. These churches vary in size and have domes and belfries of different shapes and designs, all of which add to the charm of this small town.
Uglich is known in Russia for watches. The local factory, which makes beautiful women's watches, is decorated with special "Finift" paintings on porcelain which are incorporated into the bands of the watches.
The current population of Uglich is about 35,000. The town has a watch factory, a cheese-making factory, and a hydropower station with a lock for the passing barges and passenger ships traveling on the Volga River. To appreciate the medieval atmosphere of Russia, it is well worth a trip from Moscow to Uglich, either by car, train, or ship.
Composed and translated by
Michael I. Marinchenko