Kargopol is one of the oldest towns in the Northwest of Russia.
According to the chronicles the first fortress was built on this territory by Belozersky prince Vyacheslav in 1146. In the 15th century Kargopol became a very armed town and struggled against Moscow state on the side of Novgorod.
During the reign of Ivan the Terrible Kargopol was among the most important trade centers in Russia. The town was nicely located on the commercial ways and was well protected by the fortress. Kargopol received an official status of a town only in 1613. For many yeras the fortress of Kargopol had served as a prison for political prisoners and enemies of Moscow State.
In the 18th century when Russia received new territories on the shores of the Baltic Sea, Kargopol started to lose its commercial and strategic significance. Kargopol By the end of the 19th century it became a small and quiet provincial town with the population of 3 thousand people.
Today Kargopol is a small Russian town which is famous for its beautiful old churches. The most famous is the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ (1552-1562). Not far from Kargopol (7 km) there is a village of Krasnaya Laga where there is the oldest wooden church in Kargopol region (17th century). Near the town one can also observe an old wooden architectural ensemble in the village of Lyadiny. There is also an interesting place which is called Saunino, where there is an old church with a hip-roof and a bell-tower (17th century).