Yaroslavl (yərəsläˈvəl) [key], city (1991 est. pop. 640,000), capital of Yaroslavl region, E European Russia, on the upper Volga River. It is a river port, a major rail junction, and a center of industry, tourism, and commerce. Yaroslavl has linen and leather factories dating from the 17th cent. and textile mills dating from the 18th. Other industries include oil refining, printing, and the manufacture of machinery and diesel engines. According to tradition, the city was founded by Yaroslav in 1010, although it was not mentioned in the chronicles until 1071. In 1218 it became the capital of the independent Yaroslavl principality, which was absorbed by Moscow in 1463. The city flourished during the 16th and 17th cent. as a commercial center on the Moscow-Arkhangelsk route from the White Sea to the Middle East. During the "Time of Troubles" (see Russia), Yaroslavl served briefly (Mar.–July, 1612) as Russia's capital. In 1564 the first modern Russian ships were built at Yaroslavl, and in 1722 it became the site of Russia's first cloth factory. It was a major Russian manufacturing city by the 18th cent., notably for textiles. F. G. Volkov (1729–63), regarded as the founder of the Russian theater, organized his first dramatic performance in Yaroslavl in 1750. Until the construction of the Moscow-Volga Canal in 1937, the city served as Moscow's Volga port. Yaroslavl's landmarks include the 12th-century Spaso-Preobrazhenski Monastery, several 17th-century churches, and the Volkov theater (1911).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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