There is a list of the most beautiful villages in Russia, which includes settlements that have retained the rural way of life and have not completely turned into museums. No more than 2,000 people live in such places. It is important that the village has a picturesque view, harmonizes with the landscape, and preserves traditional buildings.
There are 44 villages and a couple of small towns on this list. All of them are different: there are villages with thousand-year-old fortresses and villages that are decorated with a church. There are also small northern villages with beautiful wooden chapels and amazing windmills, as well as large settlements with merchant houses.
Selected from this list, here are 7 of the most picturesque and interesting villages in various regions of Russia:
Staraya LadogaLocated in the Leningrad region
Staraya Ladoga in the Leningrad region is called the first capital of Russia. The village was founded in the year 753. It is located 15 km from Lake Ladoga, near the Volkhov River. The distance from St. Petersburg to Staraya Ladoga is about 130 km.
The main attraction of the settlement is the Staraya Ladoga fortress, which was founded in the 9th century. According to legend, Prince Rurik stayed in it with his squad. A stone fortress on the site of the first wooden fortress appeared at the end of the 15th century. On its territory, St. George's Church with a fresco of the 12th century has been preserved.
In total, there are 6 churches, 2 monasteries, a chapel, a tract, and an earthen city in Staraya Ladoga. There is a 15th century street and merchant houses with museums. All of them are included in the Staraya Ladoga Historical, Architectural, Archaeological Museum-Reserve. Village houses and vegetable gardens of the inhabitants of Staraya Ladoga adjoin the fortress and monasteries.
Located in Karelia
Kinerma is the most famous village in Karelia, located 100 km from Petrozavodsk. The town is over 500 years old. In the 16th century it was burned by the Swedes, and in the 17th century it was destroyed by the Lithuanians and Russian Cossacks. But the locals restored Kinerma each time.
The village is small: there are 17 houses, 7 baths, an old cemetery, and a 200-year-old chapel of Our Lady of Smolensk. You can walk around it in 40 minutes.
Now it is a monument of folk wooden architecture and an example of a settlement in Karelia in the 19th century. It has a circular layout with a chapel and a cemetery in the center. In other Karelian villages, the chapel and cemetery are located outside the settlement.
In Kinerma, you can stay overnight, eat in a peasant's house, take a steam bath, buy souvenirs, take a master class on making Karelian pies, or take a guided tour and drink tea with pies. Tours and workshops are conducted by locals. Only 14 people live here permanently. For them, tourism is a way to save the village.
Located in the Arkhangelsk region
Kimzha is located beyond the Arctic Circle, 350 km from Arkhangelsk. It was founded at the beginning of the 16th century. There are 71 historical monuments here, including the wooden five-domed tent-roofed Hodegetrievskaya Church built in 1709. Even in Kimzha, traditional Pomeranian houses of the 19th century have been preserved. All of them are over a hundred years old, and many are still inhabited. The permanent population of the village is about 100 people.
The most unusual thing in Kimzha is the northern wooden pole mills, which stand on log cabins. One of them was built in 1897. The mill mechanism did not work, but in 2010 it was restored.
The inhabitants of Kimzha themselves achieved the restoration of their church, received two grants to create museums in the village, and organized an international mill festival. Here, children are taught Russian crafts at school, most holidays are celebrated according to the church canons, and they still carol at Christmas. Tourists can come and participate in folk holidays.
Located in the Pskov region
Izborsk has been mentioned in various chronicles since the 8th-9th centuries. According to legend, Prince Rurik's younger brother Truvor was the prince here. Now it is a village where about a thousand people live. In the center stands an ancient fortress of the 14th-16th centuries. There are several other chapels and churches around.
Centuries-old wooden houses, merchant mansions, outbuildings made of flagstone, and cobblestone pavements have been preserved here. There are a lot of traditional peasant and merchant houses in the village.
In the village you can climb the fortress walls and explore the surroundings. The reviews say that the view from there is very beautiful. “This is probably the most Russian landscape imaginable,” they say on Tripadvisor.
Several scenes of Andrei Tarkovsky's film "Andrei Rublev" were filmed in Izborsk. At the beginning of the 20th century, the artist Nicholas Roerich stayed here, and he dedicated several paintings to the village.
Located in the Yaroslavl region
Velikoe is over 700 years old. In the middle of the 19th century it was the largest factory village in the Yaroslavl province. The famous Yaroslavl linen was made here. Local merchants built rich two- and three-story stone and wooden houses that have survived to this day. Now the central part of the village is an ensemble of civil stone architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The two main architectural monuments of Veliky are the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church of the Bogolyubskaya Icon of the Mother of God with a 75-meter bell tower built in 1758. In the center of the settlement is the Black Pond - an artificial reservoir with the status of a natural monument. It is called the decoration of the village. Local residents collect water here for watering gardens, sometimes they rinse their clothes, and in winter they make a font for bathing during Holy Theophany.
Located in the Arkhangelsk region
This picturesque northern village is located 45 km from Kargopol, on the river Churega. Here, a quarter of the traditional northern wooden buildings with huts of the 19th century and crane wells have been well preserved. The Church of the Epiphany of the Lord stands out with an octagonal dome and a free-standing bell tower. It was built in 1787.
The main attraction of Pogost is the Holy Assumption Alexander-Oshevensky Monastery. It was founded in 1453, but now it is under restoration.
For tourists in the village, master classes are held in quadrille, spinning, patchwork, traditional pastries, and they offer a rustic lunch from a Russian oven.
Located in the Yaroslavl region
This is the first village recognized as the most beautiful in the country. Its layout has been almost completely preserved from the 18th century. There are more than 50 architectural monuments here - merchant and peasant houses, taverns, tea houses, and almshouses. About 30 of them have been restored.
The village has a historical and cultural complex with ten museums. The most interesting ones are the Museum of Russian Entrepreneurship, the Museum of the Vyatka Trading Peasant, the House of Gorokhov, the Museum of the Urlov Brothers, the Polytechnic Museum, The Wonderful World of Mechanisms and Machines, the Museum of Kitchen Machinery, the Bathhouse in Black, and the Museum of Russian fun.