Kozmodemyansk and Yurino are both in the Mari region. The Mari are a Finno-Ugric people who have been in the region since at least the 5th century. Originally they were pagan and they retain many of their traditions. Christianity was adopted by the Mari in the 16th century after their territory was incorporated into the Russian Empire during the reign of Ivan IV "the Terrible". During the Soviet era, many ethnic Russians were moved into the area.
We stopped at Kozmedemyansk primarily to visit the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum which is a small village recreating the wooden architecture, and everyday life of the Volga region of Mari pre-revolutionary period.
We visited Yurino in order to visit two castles and a church.