Verkhovazh’ye settlement is an administrative center of Verkhovazh’ye municipality. Population – 5 000 people.
Finno-Ugric tribes who were occupied with fishing, hunting and gathering were the first who explored these lands. Between the 1st and the 2nd millennium the lands were inhabited by the Slavs. First the lands belonged to Novgorod and then to Moscow princedom.
Verkhovazh’ye belongs to the ancient settlements of Vologda Oblast. First information dated back to 1613. A status of a trade center it received in 1678. In the second half of the XVII century Verkhovazh’ye became a trade and craft settlement.
In 1708 it was a part of Arkhangelsk province, in 1780 – Vologda province.
Verkhovazh’ye gained its prosperity in the second half of the XVIII and first half of the XIX century: the number of farmsteads and inhabitants increased, industrial production and trade developed. The manufactured products – bread, meat, fur-skins, sheepskins, flax, tow, pitch, tar, turpentine, soot and other – were of great demand.
In 1861 there were 528 houses, a post-office, a town hall, a parish college, ten plants and 2 churches: Annunciation church built on means of the local people and Assumption church with a belfry.
At the end of the XIX century trading arcades, a telegraph station, a college, and an almshouse were built. At the beginning of the XX century a hospital and a public library were opened. The Assumption church is always considered as a decoration of the city.
Alekseev’s fair was broadly known among trade people that was held annually in Verkhovazh’ye in March. Sometimes the number of participants reached 12 thousand people. In 2003 the tradition to hold Alekseev’s fair was resumed, now it is arranged in summer time.
The construction of railways led to replacement of trade routes. Verkhovazh’ye lost its trade importance. The city suffered great losses after the fire of 1879. During two days more than half of the buildings were burned. Since the middle of the XIX century Verkhovazh’ye became the place of political exile.
Verkhovazh’ye settlement is included in the List of historical cities of Russia.