One more really great destination in this northern region is a small town called Veliky Ustug - the residence of Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz) - the Russian Santa Claus. Ded Moroz is both similar and different from the Western European Santa Claus. He is an old man who usually wears a red, long fur coat (sometimes it is blue or even silver) and carries a staff. Also this old guy has a young girl named Snegurochka traveling with him - she is usually considered to be his granddaughter. She is very pretty, has long blond hair and wears a nice blue fur coat. Ded Moroz isn't usually such a cheerful character; he can be quite cold, but always very fair. Snegurochka is always very nice and open; she is constantly singing and dancing and helps Ded Moroz hand out presents. Over the past few years, Veliky Ustug has become a very popular destination for the Christmas and New Year season. The city was founded in the beginning of the 12th century. In the 17th century it received the title Veliky (great) as it played a great role in the development of Russian trade. During this time, it became a center for hard working elves and a few years later, Ded Moroz moved in. It was also a center of unique crafts. Fairy-like white stone cathedrals, bell towers and estates look into the mirror-like surface of the beautiful river Sukhon. Both the religious and civil architecture of the old town are extremely charming. The well-preserved architectural masterpieces of the town have led to Veliky Ustug being named the "Northern Suzdal". Just two days spent in Veliky Ustug will be an unforgettable experience and will leave you with great memories of Ded Moroz, elves and monuments, monuments and monuments!!! You'll get the chance to visit such places as the Ascension Day Church (1648), Mikhail-Arkhangelsk Monastery (1653), a working temple in memory of the local saint Prokopy Prabedny (1668), Trinity-Gledensk monastery (1659), with an iconostasis that is considered a world masterpiece of icon painting. Besides all of this, Veliky Ustug is a great place to shop for souvenirs. If you go there, don't forget to pick up woolen, felt boots known as valenky, - they make your feet sweat but are really really warm and great for the Russian far north. Lastly, Veliky Ustug is a great place to visit during any season; Ded Moroz is there all year round! So try to take part in this special journey, you will remember it for the rest of your life.