5 most interesting places in Ivanovo Region (PHOTOS)

The picturesque town of Plyos

The picturesque town of Plyos

Head 300 kilometers from Moscow and you’ll find yourself in old merchant Russia. There are picturesque landscapes, cozy old churches, as well as local folk crafts that amaze the imagination.

1. Ivanovo


It is impossible to skip the capital of the region, the city of Ivanovo. Architecture lovers will be impressed with the train station as soon as they get off the train: it is one of the brightest examples of the constructivist style of the 1930s and it has been recently restored.

In Ivanovo, you won't find an abundance of cute churches, like in other neighboring cities, but there are many other architectural monuments of the Soviet Avant-Garde. And the abundance of Soviet-era textile and garment factories, both rebuilt and in operation, gives the city an industrial chic vibe – it's even nicknamed ‘Russian Manchester’ for this.

Meanwhile, don't miss the city's oldest building, the 17th-century stone ‘Schudroff Tent’, which has become one of the local symbols.

Check out our detailed guide to Ivanovo here.

2. Palekh

Palekh miniature

Every eighth resident of Palekh is an artist, they say. Once, this town was famous for its icon painting school. ‘Palekh miniature’ is easy to distinguish, as its peculiarity is a lot of detailed drawn images and elements. But, after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Palekh icon painters were forced to re-profile and began to paint lacquer boxes with folk tales and revolutionary themes.

Read more about Palekh lacquer miniatures here

Be sure to visit the local art museum, where you can trace the evolution of Palekh folk painting, as well as one of the private art salons, where modern masters sell their works. The incredible Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross with its lilac domes, painted by local craftsmen and baroque iconostasis is a must-see!

The Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Palekh
The Holy Cross Exaltation Church in Palekh was painted by the local artists

3. Shuya

Shuya is considered the spiritual center of the region. One of the main sights of the city is the snow-white Resurrection Cathedral from the early 19th century and its imposing 106-meter bell tower (the highest freestanding bell tower in Europe!). These landmarks stand on the bank of the small Teza River.

In Shuya, you can stroll through the old merchant streets and explore what the city is famous for:

  • Vodka (and various local tinctures). It's best to stop by the shop-museum for a tasting and buy an alcoholic souvenir.
  • Chintz (the production here has a rich history).
  • Soap (the first soap factories appeared in the 17th century).

4. Kineshma

The Volga River embankment in Kineshma

Once, Kineshma was a rich merchant town and one of the centers of textile production. Artist Boris Kustodiev immortalized the colorful crowded local fairs on his canvases. That's why, today, you can spend hours wandering along the streets, looking at the old mansions.

However, the main attraction is, of course, the Volga River. You can take a promenade along the long embankment, watching the flow of the river and seeing off the steamships. And if it's warm, you can also have a leisurely picnic!

5. Plyos

A monument to artist Isaac Levitan in Plyos

The most famous town of Ivanovo Region is a kind of idyllic Russian province. The bank of the Volga River, churches from Isaac Levitan's paintings, a wonderful natural landscape and small wooden houses. Beautiful!

We recommend arriving early, while the town isn't overcrowded with tourists yet. Hike up the Sobornaya Hill and admire the river landscape from above. Be sure to try the "fish corner" – a pie filled with smoked fish, it's a local specialty!


Check out a video from our ‘Russia: 85 adventures’ project from Plyos and find out how to “stay in the picture”!

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