There are a lot of legends and ancient traditions about the foundation of Yaroslavl and Yaroslavl region, where the simple historical truth and people’s fancies become entangled. But the historians’ researches help to analyze and imagine the time of its beginning. The focal point is the promontory called the Strelka, where the Kotorosl flows into the Volga. The tribes of krivichy and miryane lived there. There supreme occupation was fishing, hunting and mechanical arts. They bowed the pagan god Veles( Volos) and their sacred animal was a bear. Perhaps, this fact made the chroniclers call this settlement “The Bears’ Corner” (Medvezhy Ugol).
An old popular tale of the main foundation of the city deals with an ancient legend. The Prince Yaroslavl the Wise, a governor of Rostov Principality and a son of the Prince Vladimir of Kiev, subdued the people of the Bears’ Corner. Sailing on his boat down the river Volga, he suddenly saw that “the cruel people” attacked the merchant ships. The merchants defended powerfully but still couldn’t defeat them. The Prince with the help of bodyguard meddled in to prevent the bloodshed and saved the merchants. The dwellers of this settlement promised to pay the Prince Yaroslavl the Wise the tribute. Yaroslavl returned back later with the intention to turn the pagans into Christian faith. The dwellers met him hostily. They were not going to subdue and set on him their ‘beast’ (the bear) and dogs. But Yaroslavl killed their sacred bear with his battleaxe and turned the dwellers into horror and, as chronicle said m they subdued. The Prince founded a town which was called after his name, Yaroslavl. A great wooden fortress appeared on the right river Volga bank, firmly protecting Rostov the Great from enemies.
The legend about the duel between Yaroslavl the Wise and the bear found it’s reflection in the history of the city. Pete the Great ratified the coat-of-arms. In 1777 the Yaroslavl government appeared and the state symbol was officially approved. In a silver shield stands a bear, his left paw holding a gold battleaxe with a shaft also of gold.
“Yaroslavl”, economical article ,” Verhne-Volzhskoe” distribution, Yaroslavl , 1985.
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