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Uglich - the pearl of Russian provinces

Updated on October 12, 2014

Uglich. The place of youngest son of Ivan The Terrible death.

Uglich, small provincial russian town on Volga river, is known as a place of death of youngest son of Ivan the Terrible. Uglich events gave birth to famous drama of Pushkin "Boris Godunov".

It is still unknown whether the death of nine year old Dmitry was a murder or an accident. When the death of his elder brother interrupted the ruling dynasty of Rurik there were rumors that Dmitry was saved.

From 1598 to 1613 consistently appeared three impostors who called themselves Dmitry. Two of them have even been able to seize the Russian throne for the short time. This period of Russian history is named Time of Troubles.

Centuries went by but Uglich remained a small provincial town with many churches and museums. In Uglich you feel a wonderful sense of time stopped long ago.

Photo Courtesy of MatthiasKabel by Wikimedia Commons

Victim of Boris Godunov
Victim of Boris Godunov

Mystery death of the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible

After the death of Ivan the Terrible (also known as Ivan IV) his last sixth wife with his son Dmitry was sent to Uglich, where Dimitry was considered as a ruling prince and has his own court.

The real reason for this was the fear of the authorities that Dmitry could wittingly or unwittingly become the center around which to unite all dissatisfied with reign of Feodor.

Dmitry was the last of the Rurik dynasty, who had the legal right to the Russian throne. After his mysterious death in 1591 the sole male representative of the Rurik dynasty was his older brother Feodor who ascended to power after death of Ivan the Terrible.

Feodor ruled Russia from 1584 to 1597. But the real ruler of Russia was Boris Godunov, his brother-in-law, because due to poor health and dementia, Feodor was not interested in the state affairs.

It was suspected that Dmitry was killed on the orders of Boris Godunov. But the official version of the cause of death was an accident during a game.

Photo from Public domain by Wikimedia Commons

Uglich Church Bell
Uglich Church Bell

The Punished Bell

According to witnesses Dmitry played knives with his peers. During a epileptic seizure, Dmitry fell and struck his knife into the throat.

If to believe the testimony of Queen and one of her brothers Dmitry was stabbed to death by a son of the clerk sent to supervise the family of Queen.

The frightened servants began to ring the church bell, summoning the people. The crowd ravaged 15 Moscow officials and the alleged murderer.

Sent from Moscow commission acknowledged the death of Dmitry as accident. Queen was forcibly tonsured as a nun. Many participants of revolt were executed or exiled to Siberia.

The church bell was punished for participation in the riot too.

Photo Courtesy of MatthiasKabel by Wikimedia Commons

An inanimate rebel

For participation in the riot the church bell was dropped from the tower and received twelve lashes on the central square. It was "cut off" the tongue and exiled to Siberia. In exile the bell was stored with the plate "inanimate convict from Uglich". It was returned to Uglich only after 300 years. Now it hangs in the Uglich Church of Dmitry on the Blood.

Read the literary version of the Ivan the Terrible son's death in the play by famous Aleksander Pushkin

Pushkin tried to describe the mental anguish of a man who came to power through the death of a child. Pushkin did not have any evidence of the involvement of Boris Godunov in the death of Dmitry. But the power of talented writer's persuasion is so great, that 99 out of 100 Russians have no doubt of the guilt of Boris Godunov.

Do you believe in the gilt of Boris Godunov?

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Mussorgsky's opera "Boris Godunov" - Uglich events in music

"I have won power ... but there is no happiness in my tortured soul."

"Boris Godunov" by Alexander Pushkin

In the end of 19th century famous russian composer Modest Mussorgsky wrote the opera "Boris Godunov" based on the play of Alexander Pushkin.

"Boris Godunov" became one of the most popular of all Russian operas. It still has a consistent place in the repertory of many opera theaters. It's far more than a historical drama. Various theaters of the world are trying to present own version of psychoanalysis of the the soul, tormented by guilt

Look for complete version of Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov"

Pushkin and Mussorgsky convinced all of the guilt of Boris Godunov - But many scientists doubt the involvement of Boris Godunov in the death of Dmitry

How would you feel in place of Boris Godunov's descendant ?

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Where is Uglich ?

A markerUglich, Russia -
Uglich, Russia
get directions

Take a glance at the history of Russia - History of Russia is full of mysteries and unexpected turns

This is one of rare films that combines entertainment and scientific approach. I watched this movie in one breath and I do not regret a single minute spent.

Uglich - cats
Uglich - cats

The place where time has stopped

Uglich is small provincial town on Volga river situated in 150 miles north from Moscow. It was founded in 10th century when there were only forests and swamps on the place of present capital of Russia.

It can be reached just in 3 hours if you plan to drive from Moscow. Better make it 4 hours because otherwise you will have to repair the car due to poor road conditions. It much more interesting to take river cruise to Uglich. Path along the Volga River is extraordinarily picturesque.

The population of Uglich is less than 35,000. In addition to the large number of churches and monasteries there are many museums: The Library of Russian Vodka (with degustation), museum of superstitions, of russian handmade dolls, and many others. But it is only a step away from the tourist group, and you find yourself in the wonderful world of Russian patriarchal antiquity. You see people who are nowhere in a hurry, cats peacefully basking in the sun, hear the melodious sound of the church bells.

Photo Courtesy of aksem through Creative Commons

As in 16th century - Imagine yourself exiled wife of Ivan the Terrible

Wife of Ivan the Terrible
Wife of Ivan the Terrible

Photo Courtesy of aksem through Creative Commons

Uglich. As 500 years ago - I hope my photos will give you some feelings of this town

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Uglich tourist attractions
Uglich tourist attractions

What to do in Uglich

The best way to visit Uglich is to take river cruise on Volga river from Moscow or Saint Petersburg. Uglich is very small town, so usually you can visit all historical places just in one da

Photo Courtesy of m.nikitin by Flickr.com CC BY 2.0

Why do Russians love to visit Uglich ? - What we bring from Uglich

  • Mushrooms. The surrounding forests are the true kingdom of mushrooms.
  • Smoked river fish. Freshly smoked fish from Volga has an unique taste.
  • Superb bed linen (made of linen)
  • A sense of eternity. Its difficult to describe in words.To feel it you should visit Uglich

Do You want to visit Uglich now?

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    • Harmonnia profile image

      Harmonnia 3 years ago

      Very interesting! СпаÑибо! :)

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I've long been fascinated with the stories of Ivan the Terrible, but was never familiar with Uglich. I surely would welcome a visit to Russia one day. I was fortunate enough to visit Hungary, Romania and The Czech Republic - so I was close!

    • profile image

      sherioz 5 years ago

      Such a small town with so much to see.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would be nice to tour Uglich. I sure enjoyed this guided one. :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Very interesting. I love the beautiful photos. Thank you.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Very nice historical description with lovely photographs.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just finished the novel Russka by Rutherfurd and it was fascinating to know a bit of Russian history.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Royal stories are filled with mystery, suspense and assassinations, however; Uglich seems to be a peaceful town and as you told appears as if time has stopped.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Fascinating history in this small town. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very Nice, looks like a nice area to live.

    • charlb profile image

      charlb 5 years ago

      Looks like an interesting place to visit. Good job on the nice pictures.

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      Uglich looks like beautiful city full of history :)

    • jayceehaynes profile image

      jayceehaynes 5 years ago

      interesting lens, I really enjoy history :)

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

      So much of the old history is fascinating and I am tending to believe that Dmitry's death wasn't an accident. Power corrupts too many people.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      Looks like an interesting place to visit.