Kostroma is as old as Moscow. Located on the left bank of the Volga River, it abounds in magnificent monuments of old architecture. Its picturesque suburbs have long been a source of inspiration for many Russian artists. The outstanding role which Kostroma played at certain periods in Russian history accounts for the art heritage to be found in the city today.
At the confluence of the Kostroma and Volga Rivers rise the white stone walls and golden cupolas of the Ipatievsky Monastery. It was founded in the latter half of the XIII century to protect the approaches to the city from the upper reaches of the Volga.
In 1958, a unique open-air museum of wooden architecture was set up at the walls of the Ipatievsky Monastery. Churches, old houses, barns, water- and windmills, and small bathhouses were brought from various villages in the Kostroma Region. Among the exhibits, the Church of the Synaxis of the Virgin (1552) from the village of Kholm and the Church of the Transfiguration (1713) command particular attention. Also on display is a large collection of objects of wood-carving whose traditions were passed from father to son.
One of the first stone buildings in the Kostroma territory was the Church of the Resurrection-on-the-Debra, erected in 1651.
The facades of the commercial and administrative buildings give on to the central square. The complex of the Kostroma shopping arcades is among the largest market centers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to survive up today. The complex took shape in the course of several decades and incorporates over ten buildings of various size located in the main square and its descent to the Volga.