Vyatskoye is known in the Yaroslavl region as the “village that wanted to become a city” (yes, failure is heavily implied). “City” seems like a bit of a long shot to me… “town” would have been a more realistic goal.
I spent an afternoon there visiting curious museums and wondering where all the people were. In the rural countryside, I expected the quiet. It was in the “downtown” area of Vyatskoye that I was most disturbed. There were buildings and open squares and roads, just no humans or cars (plenty of mosquitoes, though). It was as if the city was meant to be occupied by thousands more, but the people simply weren’t there. It was abandoned. A ghost town.
Rostov is another town in the Yaroslavl region (Rostov the Great, not to be confused with Rostov-on-Don). It boasts of a history of over 1100 years, but a population of only about 30,000. It sits quietly on the shore of Lake Nero and serves as a tourist hub in the Golden Ring of ancient Russian cities.
Rostov is full of ancient cathedrals and beautiful enamel handicrafts, but eerily quiet. I found it hard to spend time there, just like in Vyatskoye. Something in me desperately wanted to run back to civilization before I was forgotten.
Both of these towns were haunting and beautiful in their own right, full of history and longing. And both would definitely make badass settings for a horror movie. I called it first, Oren Peli.