Ustyuzhna is an administrative center of Ustyuzhna municipality of Vologda oblast. It is situated on the bank of the Mologa River, 250 km to the west off Vologda. Population – 8 942 people.
Gorodische – an earth mound built by the Slavs-pagans in XI-XII centuries on the bank of the Mologa River – is considered to be the historical center of the city. It was first mentioned in the chronicles of 1252. The name of the city is connected with the location of the area rich in iron ore that was mined by the local people.
First Ustyuzhna was a part of Rostov-Suzdal princedom, then – Moscow princedom.
In XVI century Ustyuzhna, a city with population of 6 000 people, became a big center of metal working and arms business in Moscow state.
By the end of XVI century the city changed greatly. Because of the plague epidemic it became deserted by 70 percent, and the total amount of population reduced by 3 times. In the Time of Trouble the Ustyuzhna inhabitants fought heroically against the Polis-Lithuanian invaders.
At the end of XVII century 2 grand temples were built that still remain: the Church of Nativity (1685-1690) and Church of Kazan (1664).
In XVII century Ustyuzhna became one of the centers of Russian metallurgy and the second – after Tula – center of arms business. It was Ustyuzhna where in 1630 grids for the gates of the Spasskaya and other Towers of the Moscow Kremlin were made. The importance of Ustyuzhna as a peculiar arsenal of the military department increased during first years of the Northern War when the city produced 1/4th of the Russian arms including firearms. In 1702-1714 by the edict of Peter the Great the Izhinskiy arms plant was built in Ustyuzhna.
By the middle of XVIII century Ustyuzhna lost its importance as the center of metallurgy. The ore from the Urals was of better quality and much cheaper than the ore mined from the swamps. But at that time a big industrial and trade growth started. A tanning factory, linen factory and brick plant were built.
In XIX century after the Mariinskaya waterway was opened – one of the biggest water trade routes in the Russian North of that time – Ustyuzhna lost its importance as the trade center.
Ustyuzhna is among historical Russian cities.