Yaroslavl was founded in the beginning of the 11th century by Kiev Prince Yaroslavl  the Wise as a fortress on the  right  bank of the Volga river at its confluence with the Kotorosl river. Since the 10th century there was an Old Russian settlement "The Bear's Corner" there. According to the legend  the Prince subdued the inhabitance  by killing their sacred bear. The legend about that fight is reflected in the Coat of Arms of the city.

The upswing of the Volga Trade Route  which took place after the disintegration of the Kievan Russ favoured the development of the town. In 1218 Yaroslavl became the capital city of the Yaroslavl Principality, and in 1463 the Principality joined the Great Moscow Principality.

The 17th century  was the Golden Age in the history of Yaroslavl. It was the time of the rapid economical growth, the flourishing of culture,the formation of its own style in architecture and painting. Magnificent cathedrals were built then. Now they determine the look  of the city. In late 17th — early 18th centuries Yaroslavl became the second largest town of Russ after Moscow with a population of about 15 000 people.

There were about 70 enterprises in the city.One of them was the biggest in Russia Yaroslavl Great Manufacture exporting its linens to Europe. Yaroslavl was also famous for its white-wash and  leather.

By the middle  of the 19th century Yaroslavl was completely built on the regular construction scheme. Such ensembles as Tax Yard, Governor's House were erected. The city today is a valuable monument of urban architecture, which has preserved the buildings of almost all styles of the Russian architecture of the last five centuries.