The Volga River, which originates in the Tver Oblast, passes through the entire European part of Russia, and flows into the Caspian Sea, is the largest river in Europe. This body of water has connected the people living on its banks for thousands of years and served as a unifying thread across the Russian State. Many centuries ago the rulers of ancient Rus’ had a number of fortress cities built on the upper reaches of the river. Each one of these cities has its own chapter in Russian history in which the stunning beauty of the Russian provinces plays an important role. This beauty caught the eye of many painters, poets and composers, playing a main role in their works as well. Uglich, Yaroslavl and Plyos are all gems of the upper Volga.