Lalsk (Russian: Лальск) is a small, historic market town in the north of Kirov Oblast. This is well off the beaten path, a place where only the most ardent travelers interested in small towns and the architectural heritage of Russia get to. Unlike the rest of the Kirov region, Lalsk belongs to the Russian North, its past closely connected with Veliky Ustyug, and its bleak present looks similar to far flung taiga towns of Arkhangelsk Oblast. Nonetheless, it was here that the Totemsky architectural tradition met the Vyatksky tradition, creating a unique combination well preserved for a modern tourist!

Lalsk Cathedral Complex

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A historic city, Lalsk was founded in the 16th century at the crossroads of trade routes. In 1779, it received the status of a county town of Vologda Province. However, the 19th-century railways cut off the city from modern trade, and the town’s growth halted. Now Lalsk is a quiet town with a population of 2,900 people (2018), with perfectly preserved monuments of northern architecture of the 18th-19th centuries, hardly visited by tourists, and practically unchanged since the 19th century.

Map of Lalsk

Lalsk is in the north of Kirov Oblast near the border with Vologda and Arkhangelsk Oblasts. The nearest significant cities are Veliky Ustyug (70 km) and Kotlas (90 km). You can only get to Lalsk through the local transport hub, Luza, which you can reach by rail from Kirov or Kotlas.

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