The Introduction to Kostroma
History of Kostroma
Many times Kostroma was completely devastated. In the beginning of the 13th century Kostroma was burned because of a quarrel between Russian princes, who couldn't divide the country, in 1238 the Tartars invaded and plundered the town, in 1318 Moscow princes plundered Kostroma again, in 1375 the town was invaded by the river pirates, who came from Novgorod and ransacked the town.
What is Kostroma famous for?
Kostroma is a truly Russian city that keeps deep historical and religious roots of the Russian culture. This city is mentioned a lot in the books of Russian history, as it had been significant strategic point during different wars and territory divisions. It is also a place where famous national legends and stories come from.
First of all, that’s the “cradle of Romanov dynasty”, for the first king Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov was anointed to reign here. The Tsar also lived with his mother in the village near Kostroma until The Trouble Times came to the end.
Kostroma is known as homeland of Ivan Susanin, who is a Russian national hero of Trouble Times. When Polish troops invaded in 1613 to Kostroma in order to kill Tsar family, a peasant Susanin showed them the wrong way leading to the water-logged forest and saved the tsar’s life by sacrificing himself.
There are no exact facts about this story but it became a well-known legend of Russian patriotism, making Susanin a symbol of devotion to the homeland (“Rodina”). There is also ironic expression in Russian language, where Susanin is a person who leads somewhere saying he knows the way, but eventually proves not to.
Kostoma is also a home of Snegurochka (“Snow Maiden”), a famous character of Russian folklore and a grand-daughter of Ded Moroz (so-called Russian Santa Klaus). The image of Snegurochka appears in many Russian artists’ works - the well-known Russian writer A.Ostrovsky wrote the play called “Snegurochka” in 1873, which became a base story for the opera “Snegurochka: A Spring Fairy Tale” by N.Rimsky-Korsakov.
In late 19th century Snegurochka was connected with Christmas celebration and was a figure to decorate Christmas trees. In early Soviet Union Christmas was banned but after 1935 when the New Year celebration was allowed and Snegorochka was reinvented as a helper of Ded Moroz during celebrations.
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