Ples was founded in 1410 by Prince Vasily the First as a fortress on the Volga, protecting Moscow and Volga towns. The history of the town, however, started long before this: according to legend, the ancient town Chuvil once stood here. And, indeed, many archeological digs in the area of contemporary Ples uncovered remains of civilisation, including pottery dishes and iron knives, sickles, and various decorations. The remains were dated back as early as the ninth century.
Near the end of the eighteenth century Ples was no longer a center of military activity, and the fortresses were no longer restored. Instead, in 1699, a stone cathedral was built where the fortresses once stood. Ples’s convenient economic position soon attracted mechants and manufacturers, and in 1778 the town became the center of the region. Among its various industries, the town also provided the tsar with fish.
By the end of the nineteenth century Ples’s natural beauty attracted a new industry, tourism, and many famous painters, including Repin and Levitan, came to work here. It is still a draw for tourists from Moscow.