“Russian Manchester”: an unusual guide to the weaving capital of Russia

“City of Brides”, “Don Juan Paradise” and “Red Manchester” are all funny (and somewhat even frivolous) nicknames for one of the youngest and atypical cities of the Golden Ring of Russia. Where they came from is no secret: at the beginning of the 20th century in Ivanovo, 100 sq. km accounted for almost 50 textile factories, where almost exclusively the beautiful half of humanity worked. Many of these industries have survived and are still operating today. It would seem, well, why go here?

Tireless adventurers “Subtlety” took – and went. And we found out that it's worth going, and how: at least for the sake of the marvelous Russian avant-garde and cheese coffee. However, first things first.

How to get to Ivanovo

The most convenient way to get to Ivanovo from Moscow is “Lastochka” from the Kursk railway station. The fare is from 700 RUB, travel time is 3.5 hours. On the route, the train makes two stops, in Vladimir and Shuya. You can combine visits to these cities, making a convenient and interesting travel itinerary for the weekend.1/1

Railway station

The journey to Ivanovo begins with the city station, lovingly and sensitively restored. Like any fairly large industrial city, Ivanovo is a great place for lovers of constructivism and avant-garde. More than 30 monuments of Soviet architecture have been preserved here, and the local railway station is one of them: its building, built in 1933, is one of the symbols of the city. It is worth seeing it to immediately understand why.

Reconstruction, which took place in 2018–2020, turned an ordinary transport hub into a public art space. Inside, revolutionary-themed frescoes were restored, a hefty loom was installed, and a stunning skate park was built nearby, decorated with graffiti by the famous street artist Ruslan Magomedov. A tourist information center will soon open at the station, exhibitions and festivals are already taking place here.

Pavel Kabanov's Craft House

After looking at the modern graffiti of the extreme park and the Soviet avant-garde of the railway depot, you can go for a bite to eat. We responsibly advise the cheese factory of Pavel Kabanov, located in the very center of the city, in the former building of the Fokin manufactory. Here you can not only satisfy your hunger, but also continue to get acquainted with the non-trivial aspects of Ivanov's life: try an unusual cheese coffee or sign up for a cheese-making master class. During the latter, tourists are told about the intricacies of production and consumption: what kind of cheeses are, what is better to eat them with and what to drink.

We buy a delicious souvenir gift – and forward to the brides.

Address: Ivanovo, st. Sovetskaya, 321/1

Museum of the Bride

The unofficial status of the “city of brides” for Ivanovo was fixed back in the 20th century, but the first Museum of the Bride in Russia opened here quite recently. Modern, cozy, unusual, interactive – these are the four words that can describe its amazing exposition. Visitors will learn interesting facts about wedding ceremonies in Russia and in modern Russia, marriage traditions and rituals of the peoples of the world. And come across among them – well, very unexpected. The museum organizes tours and quests for children and adults.

Address: Ivanovo, st. Red Army, 13 (2nd floor), office. site1/1

Museum-factory “My Zabava”

Having paid tribute to the brides as a symbol of the city and in general, you can finally give free rein to your hands. It is best to do this in the museum-factory “My Zabava” (Zabava, if anything, is still an old Russian name, so that's it, with a capital). Master classes are held here on creating and painting Christmas tree and other interior decorations: every day by appointment. You can independently explore the exposition and visit the souvenir shop for free and without an appointment.

Address: Ivanovo, ave. Lenina, 57A, (SEC “Nikolsky”, 4th floor), office. website1/1

And what else?

Of course, we should not forget about the well-known sights of the city . How can you come to the “textile region” of Russia and not visit the Museum of Ivanovo chintz? Well, the local Museum of Industry and Art is not in vain called the “Ivanovo Hermitage” – this is one of the most striking expositions of the Russian province. Constructivism and avant-garde lovers will appreciate the interiors of the Museum of the First Council. In the Ivanovo Regional Art Museum, you can see original paintings by the geniuses of the Russian avant-garde – Rodchenko, Rozanova, Malevich, and in the next room you can see face-to-face with ancient Egyptian gods and mummies.

Ivanovo is perhaps the most atypical city of the Golden Ring, a city of contrasts, contradictions and metamorphoses. This is what he is good at.

Photo: Elena Yunes, Evgeny Ivanov.

The Union of Cities of the Golden Ring helped organize the trip to Subtleties.

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