Kostroma is the capital city of Kostroma Oblast, and a stop on Russia's Golden Ring circuit. It is a historic city, founded in the 12th century, and served as a sort of northern retreat for the powerful in Muscovy when threatened by southern and western invaders. Kostroma's wealth of art and architecture is owed to the legacy of such retreats. Visitors should not miss the Hypatian Monastery and the historic city center around Susaninskaya ploshchad. Kostroma outside the historic center is grey and industrial and off the itinerary for most tourists.
Bus #13 shuttles between the main square (Susaninskaya ploshchad) and Hypatiev Monastery. Trolleybus #2 runs between the main square and the train station.
- 1 The Trading Arcades, along Sovetskaya ul. and Susaninskaya ploshchad. An 18th-century trading center, now houses shops and a market
- Susaninskaya Ploshchad. The main square is named after Ivan Susanin, a peasant who became a hero after misleading Polish invaders into a swamp, where they all died. The square has several buildings of note, including the Fire Tower, a delightful piece of 19th-century architecture. It is a museum, and a literature museum within a 19th-century guard house.
- 2 Bogoyavlensky (Epiphany) Monastery. Located one block down Simonovskogo ul., this 14th-century monastery houses the 12th-century Icon of Fedorovsky Bogomater, which according to legend was found hanging from a tree by a Russian prince. The main cathedral dates back to 1559.
- 3 Saint Hypatia Monastery (Ипатьевский монастырь, Ipatievsky Monastery), Ulitsa Prosveshcheniya, 1. 09:00-17:00, services daily at 08:00 and 17;:00. A huge and important monastery (est. 1330), which contains the Museum of Wooden Architecture, the Bogoroditsky Cathedral (est. 1552), and the Spaso-Preobrazhenskaya Church (which was made without a single nail). Entrance 50 руб.
- Museum of Wooden Architecture, 1a Prosveshcheniya ul., ☏ . 09:00–17:00. An outdoor architectural museum of wooden churches, houses, and a mill from the Kostroma region. Admission included in the Monastery entrance fee.
- 4 Resurrection Church on the Lowlands ((Russian: церковь Воскресения на Дебре)), Кострома, ☏ . 17th-century Russian Orthodox Church near the Volga River that, as the story goes, was commissioned by a merchant who ended up with barrels of gold instead of barrels of dye and decided it was the devil's gift which could only be remedied by spending it to build a church, as per Wikipedia.
- Slavyansky, in the Trading Arcades. A popular local restaurant serving Russian cuisine
- Pizzeria, 29 Sovetskaya ul. A great pizza place within the same building as the Mush Hotel
- Unnamed cheburechnaya, 1 Melochnyye Ryady ul (inside one of the trading arches). Serves traditional cheburek (pastry filled with meat), as well as other savoury pastries. Local fare for a fair price.
- Mush Hotel, 29 Sovetskaya ul., ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A luxury guest-house that will let you use their kitchen and includes free breakfast, the 12-hour stay is a great deal
- Korvet Boat-Hotel, 90 Nizhnye Debri ul. Rooms on this boat are clean and functional and this is the cheapest option in the center; doesn't take reservations and you won't need them anyway
- Volga Hotel, 1 Yunosheskaya ul., ☏ . By the bridge over the Volga River
- Stary Dvor, 2 Sovetskaya ul., ☏ .
- Moskovskaya Zastava (Московская застава), 1st May st. 5A, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00.
- The next big stops on the Golden Ring circuit are Yaroslavl and Ivanovo.
- If weird is what you want, head over to Sumarokovo to see the Kostroma Moose Farm, where the Soviets domesticated the moose!