The Susanin Square is the historic center of Kostroma. Its appearance was formed at the end of the 18th century, after the empress Catherine II had approved a new «fan» layout of the town. The buildings of the square, which survived until our days, date back to 18-19 century.
At first, the Susanin Square was called Yekarerinoslavskaya in honor of Catherine, who made a significant contribution in the development of the town. In 1835 Nicholas I renamed it to Susaninskaya in honor of Ivan Susanin.
Ivan Susanin is a national hero of the Time of Troubles when Russia was under the sway of self-proclaimed tsars supported by the Polish troops. He was born in the village Domnino of Kostroma uyezd (district), which was a patrimonial estate of the Romanov (future royal dynasty of Russia).
After Mikhail Romanov was elected a tsar, he lived with his mother Martha in the village Domnino for some time, and it was just then that in its vicinity a Polish force appeared, which came to Russia to kill Mikhail Romanov so that the Polish prince Vladislav could fight for the Russian throne.
The Poles met Ivan Susanin who led them to the village Domnino. He sent his son-in-law to Mikhail with a warning to hide at the Ipatiev Monastery, and himself led the Poles to the forest. The Poles soon understood that they were deceived. They killed Susanin but they couldn’t kill Mikhail Romanov.
The first monument to Ivan Susanin was set up under the reign of Nicholas I in the middle of 19 century, and was put down after 1918. A new monument to Ivan Susanin, the patriot of the Russian lands» was erected only in 1967. But it was set up not on the Susanin Square but a bit farther down the descent to the Volga River Embankment, among the trading rows.
The most recognizable construction of the Susanin Square and even, in certain sense, the symbol of Kostroma is the Fire Tower. It was built in 1768, and, in fact, was one of the first buildings of the Susanin Square after its reconstruction.
On the Susanin Square you should visit the trading rows. They completely retained the appearance of 19 century, and, actually, became a city attraction and not a marketplace.