This historical Russian city is located not far from Moscow, at the Volga River’s confluence, and it was a major commercial centre in the 11th century. It was founded by the Prince of Kievan Russia Yaroslav-the-Wise in 988 to 1010 and consisted of a small wooden fortress. The Centre of the City is the oldest part and the kernel of development of one of the most ancient, rich, and well preserved Russian cities. It represents the development structures of ancient Russian cities, subject to regular urban re-development as a part of unique town-planning reform pursued by Empress Catherine the Great at the end of 18th century. It comprises a large number of town-planning elements representing the development of Russian architecture of the 16th to 18th centuries.
The centre consists in a half circle with radial streets from the inside to outside. It is essentially Neoclassical in style, with harmonious and uniform streetscapes. Most residential and public buildings are two to three stores high along wide streets and urban squares. A unique feature is the existence of numerous 16th- and 17th-century churches and monastic ensembles with valuable mural paintings and iconostases, which are outstanding in architecture terms, as dominant town-planning elements and composition centers.
The most significant monuments of cultural heritage in the historical centre of the city are architectural complexes of central streets, squares and embankments. In addition, among the most important architectural objects are the Spaso Preobrazhensky monastery (Спасо Преображенски монастыр) founded in the 12th century with walls and towers of the 16th to19th centuries, and the 17th-century Church of the Epiphany.
The conditions of integrity are threatened by the violation of the historical horizontal skyline with dominating elements, in particular, the serious changes to the town-planning due to the construction of the Uspenskiy Cathedral (Успенский совор).
From the town-planning point of view, the inscribed property has retained its authenticity. It is noted that, differing from many other renovation projects in the Soviet period, the banks and islands of the Kotorosl (Которосл) River have been preserved, retaining the historic town with its rare natural framework. In the Stalinist period, thousands of churches were demolished all over the country, but here out 80, only56 survived.