Ples seemed to be an unremarkable provincial town until the landscape painter Isaac Levitan came here. Inspired by the beautiful views of the local nature, asceticism and holy simplicity of life on the banks of the Volga, the artist wrote several works, which were later recognized as the best in his work. So Ples became widely known and firmly connected with the legacy of Levitan. At one time, this partially saved the city from revolutionary frenzy and ugliness, when in other places shrines were destroyed, temples were blown up. Due to its small size – less than 2,000 inhabitants, they did not build wretched barracks of the same type, Khrushchev and high-rise buildings. Also, the German fascist invader did not reach here, so the city retained its pre-revolutionary way of life, architecture and truly Old Russian flavor. Back in Soviet times, a campaign was launched to preserve the cultural heritage of Ples, thanks to which it is now one of the most famous tourist places, which is visited by more than 300 thousand tourists a year. The main attractions are museums, paintings of Levitan, ancient churches, architecture, monuments and folk crafts. And most importantly – wonderful views of the unique Volga nature. Well developed infrastructure: hotels, cafes and restaurants for every taste. The local specialty is pies with smoked bream, popularly called “corners”. Also in restaurants and beer houses are treated to dishes of Russian cuisine: ear from the Volga fish, Pozharsky cutlets, hand-made dumplings, lingonberry juice, etc. Food prices reach the Moscow institutions of the average level, there are practically no budget options.
- 1 How to get there
- 2 Cathedral Mountain
- 3 Assumption Cathedral
- 4 Places
- 5 Museum of Decorative Glass
- 6 Trinity and Vvedenskaya churches
- 7 Wedding Museum
- 8 Museum “Russian House”
- 9 Mount Levitan
- 10 Church over eternal rest
- 11 Church of St. Barbara
- 12 Landscape Museum
- 13 Levitan House-Museum
- 14 House of merchant Novozhilov
- 15 Resurrection Church
- 16 Exposition of artistic crafts of Ivanovo region
How to get there
The way from Plyos to Ivanovo will be approximately 70 km, to Kostroma – 74 km, both roads pass through the city of Privolzhsk. From Moscow to Ples can be reached by car either on the Gorky highway, having passed 380 km of the way, or on the Yaroslavl highway – 350 km. The cost of parking in front of the city is 100r per day. By train from Moscow get to Ivanovo, then change to a minibus, which departs about 10 times a day. You can also sail on a cruise ship from Moscow or St. Petersburg.
Olga K writes a review: “Unlike the cities of the golden ring, Ples does not look like a freshly painted prop hiding in the middle of apartment termite mounds. You walk along the embankment: beautiful, birds sing, people smile and there is no feeling of playfulness. Ples is such – it survived in the merciless millstones of urbanization. The embankment with a length of 1.5 km looks well-groomed in summer and autumn. And in winter it is very beautiful, the locals dubbed it in the French manner “promenade”.
In fact, this is not a mountain, but a hill, so they climb here without problems even in hot weather. The arbors are falling apart, around is not well-groomed, behind the thickets of hogweed – a new symbol of the Russian hinterland. Meanwhile, from the hill opens such a picturesque panorama of the Volga and the surrounding area that it is not a pity for the efforts spent. Levitan here wrote one of his paintings, enjoying the aesthetics of nature and ancient churches, and our contemporaries take selfies from their phones or pose against the backdrop of a marvelous landscape. Once upon a time in the old days there was a fortified fortress on this hill, but all that remains of it is a small piece of the fortress wall. The height of Cathedral Mountain is 50 meters.
In the 15th century, a wooden church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was erected next to the Cathedral Mountain. After the fire, a stone church was laid on the same prayer place, which was consecrated during the reign of young Peter in 1699. In Soviet times, the ancient national heritage began to be used as a garage for the storage of tractors. After the collapse of the USSR, the building was transferred to the church, services were resumed, restoration was carried out both outside and inside. In the interiors in some places preserved old frescoes, which were painted over in Soviet times. A carved iconostasis made of dark wood was installed, old icons were returned, giving the temple a special atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Russia. Around the cathedral there is a park – a great place for walking.
Address: Ples, Gora Svoboda str.
The Museum and Exhibition Complex “Presence Places” is located on Cathedral Hill in a building built in the late 18th century. The exposition of the museum is located on three floors: paintings on the nature of the region and the Volga, a small collection dedicated to the artist Levitan, as well as the hall of primitive peoples who inhabited these places long before the emergence of Russia. Valuable artifacts that are found during excavations are laid out in the museum, causing genuine interest among connoisseurs. The exhibition is well decorated, interactive stands and signs with a story about the subject are installed. Of the minuses – this is a high price of the entrance ticket within 350p. Also in the reviews you can read complaints about the lack of hospitable attitude on the part of the museum staff.
Address: Ples, Gora Svoboda str.
Museum of Decorative Glass
Opposite the bus station by agreement you can visit the private museum of the master Alexander Timofeev, who devoted his life to creating beautiful objects from decorative glass. The exposition is located in a private house where the master and his wife live. Before visiting it will be decent to call and arrange. The phone number is easily on the Web using a search engine. The exhibition is small, but very interesting. You can buy some works and objects, which distinguishes this museum from others. The hosts show cordiality and hospitality, are happy to tell stories and show the collection.
Address: Ples, Lev Tolstoy str., 17
Trinity and Vvedenskaya churches
Arriving at the bus station, many tourists begin to explore the city with the current summer Trinity Church, built in 1808-1812 in the Baroque style. Painted yellow, the exterior is modestly decorated with stucco, and in the interiors expressive wall frescoes have been preserved, sometimes lost, and partly restored. The Soviet authorities decided to blow up the Trinity Church, but the believers managed to defend it. Summer Vvedenskaya Church is adjacent to the Trinity side by side. It was built with the money of merchants in 1828, making it heated, thanks to which divine services are held all year round. Architectural style – classicism of the late period. The temple is quite spacious and voluminous, with a wide dome and original porticos.
Address: Ples, Kornilova str., 9/11
Located in a traditional wooden house that belonged to a wealthy Jewish pharmacist. Exhibits are mainly household items and dowry, wedding decorations and décor. The excursion is accompanied by a guide’s story about the customs and customs of wedding ceremonies in Russia, about gossip, tricks and tricks used by experienced parents to profitably give the bride for a sensible groom or woo a decent girl to his offspring. Here you can order a wedding anniversary celebration with treats and other similar services. It is recommended to visit those young men and women who are still in thoughts and dreams.
Address: Ples, 7, Descent of Svoboda Mountain
Museum “Russian House”
Pavel Travkin built a museum in a stylized antique estate. Here everything is arranged in the old Russian style: stove, shops, household items, costumes. According to the legend of the creator, the estate consists of two buildings: the first is the house of the jeweler’s family of the 12-13th century, the second is the hut of the late 19th century. Here you can touch almost all the exhibits with your hands, try on things, work on a loom, grind grain on a hand mill, etc. Pavel Travkin is an odious person, considers himself an archaeologist, actively promotes paganism, scolds the church. He says that people used to be smarter, but then the priests came and everyone was frowned. He works, as usual, not only for the idea: the contractual price tag for the excursion is impressive even by Moscow standards. But if you do not take into account the propaganda of paganism and prices, the exhibition is colorful and interesting.
Address: Ples, Descent of Mount Freedom str., 1
Another local “mountain” from where you can enjoy views of the Ples and the Volga is Petropavlovsk Hill. It received its name in honor of the wooden church of Peter and Paul, which burned down in tsarist times. After the master of landscape settled in Plyos, was at this place, was inspired by the enchanting views and painted several paintings, the inhabitants renamed the hill “Mount Levitan”. At the top are located: the old churchyard of the 16-19th century, the monument “Levitan in bronze” with lighting and a colorful wooden church, transported here from another village. A comfortable staircase with a railing made of wood helps tourists easily overcome the climb. The painting “Over Eternal Peace” was written on this mountain. The view of the city and the surrounding area is really fascinating – a great place for photo shoots.
Church over eternal rest
Sailing with friends on a pleasure boat along the Volga, the artist saw a wooden church on a hill, which he certainly wanted to visit. So for the first time Levitan got to Ples, which he liked with the genuineness of his old Russian color. At the beginning of the 20th century, the same church burned down, and in the revolutionary turmoil it did not have time to restore. Only by the 80s in the Ivanovo region found her to replace two very similar churches from villages that became extinct. The Resurrection Church was moved to Mount Levitan, and the chapel of Archangel Michael was placed in the city center. In the Tretyakov Gallery, the most famous painting by Isaac Levitan is exhibited, which is called “The Church over Eternal Peace”, and in the city of Ples you should definitely visit its prototype – a strict but charming shrine of the Russian North.
Address: Ples, Mount Levitan
Church of St. Barbara
This temple is one of the visiting cards of the city. The main part was built in the early 18th century, the bell tower dates back to 1821, and the wall adhesive painting of the interiors was made in the middle of the 19th century. In Soviet times, the building was used as a workshop of one of the factories, not caring at all about the preservation of cultural heritage. Now a large-scale reconstruction has been carried out and now the temple pleases tourists with splendor and ancient architecture. A nearby birch and a stylized rural well complete the idyllic look.
Address: Ples, Varvarinskaya str., 2
The art gallery of Russian masters of landscape is located in a two-story white building on the city embankment. The permanent exhibition includes paintings by both recognized masters – Shishkin, Savrasov, Polenov, Korin, Yaroshenko, and less famous artists. The guide will tell a lot about landscape painting, techniques and techniques. Some tourists find a new look at art in this museum, others are simply inspired by the meeting with the beautiful. The exposition is often updated due to traveling exhibitions, which every year replace each other in this museum. In the corridors between the halls are exhibited paintings by contemporary Ples artists, which can be purchased. In the reviews, some visitors do not advise to take an audio guide, which in filling the recording seemed too tedious to them. Near the building of the art gallery there is an observation deck, as well as a famous monument with a bench, a lady and a frame. Against the background of this monument, the guests of Ples make the most memorable photos. Working hours from 10 to 17:30.
Address: Ples, Lunacharskogo str., 20
Alexey A writes a review: “we were a group on an excursion in this museum, I liked it so much that I did not want to leave. Guide Valentina Pavlovna very interestingly told about the exposition, the whole group listened to “opening their mouths”. Only then I began to understand something in the landscape and the skill of artists, took a fresh look at the paintings. I especially liked the exhibition of the Wanderers, thanks to the museum and the guide who knows his business. “
Coming to Ples, I want to visit the house-apartment of Isaac Levitan, located on the embankment. You need to be prepared for the fact that this is a very small and expensive museum. There is nothing special to see – a few paintings and two rooms in which Isaac Levitan and Sofia Kuvshinnikova lived. It is not allowed to enter the chambers of artists – a cursory inspection is made at the entrance. There are very few paintings of Levitan, but at the same time the house-museum is well restored, the atmosphere of that time is preserved inside. The ticket price is 200 rubles, the excursion is 1000 rubles, which is expensive for an hour of inspection even by Moscow standards. To visit the museum, you need to sign up in advance, Monday is a day off.
Address: Ples, Lunacharskogo str., 4/2
House of merchant Novozhilov
The tourist embankment of Ples consists of buildings in the philistine and artisan taste of the pre-revolutionary era, from the environment of which the “House in the Art Nouveau style” of the merchant Novozhilov stands out sharply. The façade of fiery red brick with spear-shaped pediments contrasts with the surrounding Old Russian sermyazhnost and ascetic northern shrines. Who was this merchant and why he decided to attract attention with such innovation – his story has not reached our days. The only thing known about the house is that Evstolia Kuznetsova, chairman of the Plyos city executive committee in 1949-1974, lived in it for a long time, and princes of royal blood stayed in it in 2005. Now a museum has been made out of the house, they are allowed inside on tickets to see the floor of ancient boards, stucco moldings and stoves with ceramic finishes.
Address: Ples, Sovetskaya str., 7
In the center of the city on a hill there is a beautiful stone church dedicated to the bright feast of the Resurrection of Christ. The church was built in 1817 in honor of the victory of the Russian armies over the French supostat. During the Soviet period, this monument to Russian weapons was looted and used as a barn for grain, as a result of which the structure was very dilapidated. Recently, a large-scale reconstruction was carried out, wall frescoes were renewed, a new iconostasis was installed, after which the temple again shone with splendour. Domes in the sun are now burning with fire, and the overall appearance has become elegant and festive. Divine services are regularly held here, an observation deck and wicker benches are equipped nearby.
Elena R writes a review: “to be honest, I do not like the remake. This church has only an antique shell, and inside there are gilded paintings instead of icons and marble. We came here for Christmas and the attitude changed dramatically. There was a choir of children from the shelter, there was a nice and cozy atmosphere. The priest and ministers behave simply, communicate normally. I especially liked with what sincere love they talk about their temple. A Christmas tree was dressed up in the yard, there was a feeling of peace and tranquility. The church is actually wonderful.”
Address: Ples, Lenin str., 2.
Exposition of artistic crafts of Ivanovo region
Along the bank of the Volga stretched “Flour Rows” – a long two-story building with many shops and cafes. Rows were built on the Market Square in the middle of the 19th century, as the name implies – for the flour trade. The mini-museum of folk crafts is located approximately in the middle of the building. Inside there are only two halls with exhibits in the form of embroidery, costumes, patterns and lacquer caskets of Palekh or Kholui masters. There are also decorated ceramics, silkscreen, jewelry, etc. In addition to the exposition, there is an “Art Salon”, where at a moderately high price tag you can buy souvenirs and gifts, jewelry and author’s hand-made works. As the Ivanovo weavers say, the visiting card of the region is “zelo lepnaya scan, black, grain and different filigree”. All this can be seen and bought in the exposition of artistic crafts “made in Ivanovo”.
Address: Ples, Sovetskaya str., 41.
It is worth saying about the cons: the lack of public toilets often makes people think.
Not far from the city there is an eco-farm with a mini-zoo, where it is allowed to collect water from the well for free, see sculptures, fun areas for photos and various cuteness.