Yaroslavl is a unique city on the Volga River where the breathtaking beauty of the nature, the splendor of ancient architecture and the modern industry are so harmoniously combined together. The town was firstly mentioned in Russian chronicles at the beginning of the 11th century. As the ancient legend goes, on this very place Great Kiev Prince Yaroslav the Wise killed a bear and ordered to found a fortress there. Another legend says that the Prince with the retinue conquered a small pagan settlement and with a pole-axe cut up a heathen picture of bear. Anyway, these legends have given the emblem to the town — a bear with a pole-axe represented on a silver shield. The fortress featuring favorable location at the crossroads of the important commercial ways soon turned into a large center of commerce and handicrafts. At present it is the largest city of the region with the population of 650 thousands.