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"ON SEVEN HILLS..., ON SEVEN STREAMS..."

Дата публикации: 08 ноября 2021
Автор(ы): Olga BORISOVA
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Рубрика: RUSSIA (TOPICS)
Источник: (c) Science in Russia, №4, 2013, C.72-77
Номер публикации: №1636369622


Olga BORISOVA, (c)

by Olga BORISOVA, journalist

 

Tutaev, a small town in the Yaroslavl Region, lies on both banks of the Volga connected by ferry only. Initially, there were two communities--Romanov and Borisoglebsk. Historians say the former was founded about 1283 by Prince Roman Vladimirovich of Uglich canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. The other town, Borisoglebsk, named so after the first Russian saints and martyrs Boris and Gleb, was set up as a "fishing settlement for the court" in the late 15th century-though, by local legends, it dates back to the year 1238.

 

Bird's eye panorama of Tutaev.

 
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Local regional ethnographers, maintain that the founder of the left-bank town of Romanov first built a fortress out there. During internecine wars of the 14th century it was destroyed in part; in 1468, on orders of Grand Duchess Maria Yaroslavovna, who owned local lands, tall earthworks were rebuilt (we can still see their remnants), with a wooden fence erected around. Soon she transferred her lands to her son, Prince Andrei Bolshoi of Uglich; in the late 15th century they were assigned to the domains of Moscow princes.

 

In the early 17th century, in the Times of Troubles, the Polish invaders burnt Romanov together with "adjacent trading quarters, having robbed local residents". But the town recovered quite soon, and in the second half of the same century entered into its palmy days. It became a center of transit trade on Russia's "main street", the Volga; arts and crafts flourished in the town: in addition to "fishing for the tsar's kitchen", swift river boats (named "romanovki") were built there. Numerous smitheries produced metalwork and nails. Economic success made it possible to put up beautiful churches that still grace the town.

 

In 1652, on the right Borisoglebsk bank, a stone Resurrection Cathedral was built (as legend tells, a wooden church named after the saint princes Boris and Gleb had stood in its place commemorated by a stele with a cross on top). But only two decades after, the walls of the church developed cracks: it is likely that the foundation laid on a high hill with its bad ground had not been reinforced. Local residents proposed to "take the church to pieces to its half and construct a new big Church of God in honor of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ..."

 

The cube of the main building--the winter church-was surrounded with a gallery with powerful supports and big round vaults from three sides (the forth side assigned to the altar); the summer church, likewise furnished with a mall, had two porches added from the south and from the west, which expanded the area of the cathedral and made it more stable, more monumental and imposing.

 

However, the most impressive element of the cathedral is its external decor comparable to the most famous religious sites of Moscow*. Painted in deep tones, it has a spruce, festive look: the light-yellow walls and the fence look like as if they were bathing in sunlight; the

 

See: V. Zverev, "The City Beautiful", Science in Russia, No. 2-3, 1992; A. Nikolayeva, "Moscow Kremlin Museums", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2006.--Ed.

 
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massive tall drums and domes are painted green; the wide frieze of bright fresco paintings on the facades--all these elements please the eye. The external decor includes a great many elements: circles, roll moldings and squares made of feather-edged bricks with color plates inside representing rosettes, crosses, double eagles, genre scenes, etc. The southern facade overlooking the main street is especially lavish. In the late 17th century, the architectural complex was supplied with a three-level Holy Gates and a hip-roof belfry (two bells of the 17th century are still there). In 1678 this monument of unknown architects, one of the most impressive examples of the Yaroslavl architecture, was consecrated; two years later its internal decor was complete.

 

The cathedral has never closed and kept its relics and interior decor, including the marvelous paintings of walls and arches made by a team of icon-painters from Yaroslavl. Local frescos are characterized by a great variety of scenes: the creation of the world, spiritual acts of saints, Christianization of Russia, the mortal life of Jesus Christ, his parables, sufferings, death, Resurrection, Christophany, etc., and the soaring image of the Pantokratos (the Almighty) in the central dome.

 

The Resurrection Cathedral is not only a masterpiece of architecture but also a great collection of icons, wooden sculptures, church utensils and a repository of precious orthodox relics, for example, the image of the Savior All-Merciful, the biggest in Russia (about 3 m tall), painted in the late 14th century presumably by the Reverend Dionisy Glushitsky, the founder and father superior of some monasteries in the Vologda Region; it is kept in a silver gold-plated setting made in 1850. The image, black with time, looks with mercy and compassion upon people in trouble coming for comfort and succor, which is in line with the national tradition: Russian isographs (icon-painters) treated this iconographic type of the Savior as the image of a wise, lenient and kind-hearted pastor, not a severe judge.

 

Romanov is commonly known as a "town of seven hills, seven ravines and seven clear streams" with a church on each hill. One of them is the Church of the Protecting Veil (1654) with the most ornate bell-tower of Tutaev and a very rare icon of the Holy Mother called "Amplification of the Mind"; the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (1658) with beautiful frescos painted with the participation of the prominent master

 
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of the Russian spiritual art of the 17th century Gury Nikitin stands on another hill; the town's only pilarless Church of the Annunciation (1660) rises on yet another hill. All local churches have their own image, though their bell-towers are like sisters--tall, with octagonal hipped-roofs constructed in the manner of the "Yaroslavl Candle"*.

 

A bell-tower of the same type was constructed for the Church of Our Lady of Kazan and the Savior of the Transfiguration (1758), one of the most beautiful in the upper Volga region, rising on the Romanov bank opposite the Resurrection Cathedral on the Borisoglebsk bank. The church was built on a "prayed-in" site (before the mid 18th century, the place of "the Nunnery of Kazan"); it stood very close to the river, not on a hill; in former times it welcomed all vessels arriving in the town. The ground floor housed the winter Church of Kazan, the first floor was for the summer Church of Resurrection with an open gallery and partially preserved wall paintings; both churches have two entries.

 

A harmony of vertical proportions of the architectural complex is really amazing. The church building is in two levels: the lower one is closer to the water, while the upper one, at some distance, is crowned with five small domes resting on narrow cylinders. This complex is

 

* "Yaroslavl Candle", popular name of the magnificent bell tower, 37 m high, of the Old Believer's prayerhouses in the Yaroslavl District of Korovniki built in the 1680s.--Ed.

 

topped by a bell-tower built much higher on the steep slope of the river bank; it can be seen ever from the opposite bank of Volga.

 

At the same time, the unknown talented architect managed to lodge the complex on the steep slope having reinforced it with huge boulder stones. This picturesque ensemble with its red facades adorned with an elegant, laconic white decor, blue faceted domes crowned with gold-plated crosses is striking both in summer amid green trees and in winter against the background of snow. It seems that the author sought to make his work endure and dominate the space.

 

In 1784, both towns, Romanov and Borisoglebsk, together with other district centers, were included in a development plan that provided for the construction of streets parallel to the river and lanes crossing the streets at right angles. But in the hilly terrain these perpendiculars turned into gullies running down to the river. Local residents built bridges over such gullies, and one of them, spanning the shallow river Medvedka, the picturesque three-arch Leontyevsky bridge, still stands there. It was built in the late 19th century by a St. Petersburg industrialist, Andrei Flyagin, who married a local country girl and moved to Borisoglebsk, the home town of his wife, where he opened glazed tile and brick works.

 

In 1822, both communities on the opposite banks of the river merged into a single town, Borisoglebsk; in 1921 it changed its name to Tutaev in honor of a Red

 
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Army soldier, Tutaev, killed in 1918 during the Civil War in a fight against the counterrevolutionary White Army.

 

This poetic site enchanted the painter Boris Kustodi-ev (in 2013 we celebrate his 135th birth anniversary). The "singer of joy", named so for his bright, life-asserting palette close to folk art, admired towns of the Upper Volga. In 1906-1909 Kustodiev visited Romanov where he created the painting Public Merry-making on the Volga (1909, State Russian Museum) picturing the Volga embankment and the opposite bank with the Resurrection Cathedral. Besides, the painter drew many sketches there that were later used to create such paintings as The Bathing (1921, private collection), Summer in the Province (1922, private collection).

 

Tutaev is famous not only for its architectural monuments and modest beauty of nature, but also for master skills of local residents. The town is the birthplace of the "Golden Fleece of Russia"--the Romanov breed of sheep raised by local peasants since the 17th century and considered to be the world's best for its wool. Step by step, a perfect high-fertility breed has been developed. Clothes made of Romanov sheepskin are said to be "warm as hare fuzz, good-looking as polar fox pelt, and durable as wolfskin". In 1851, the breed was awarded prizes of the Great Industrial Fair of All People held in London, in 1867--a prize of the World Fair in Paris; ever since "curly beauties" have been bred in Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Portugal and Spain.

 

In 2006, a Tsar Sheep Museum (part of the "Borisog-lebsk Side" exhibition center) was opened. The history of its name is quite interesting: in 1716 Peter I, the reformer tsar, issued an order to push ahead with sheep-breeding activities in the Romanov district. The exposition shows a model of a sheep-breeder's cabin where visitors can see household and furriery utensils. There you can also find fur coats, mittens, waistcoats, sheepskin caps and toys--knitted, sewed, wooden lambs... In fine, all that we can see here--over 300 objects overall-is associated with the precious domestic animal that has been living together with man since time out of mind--a curly supporter of almost every household.

 

The "Borisoglebsk Side" exhibition center also includes another exposition, the Klassen Manufacture opened in 2008. In 1864, the native of Germany Georg Johann (Yegor Ivanovich) Klassen built a plant that became a major enterprise in the Yaroslavl Region and manufactured high-quality linen yarn and fiber. He decided to build that plant out there, since the local climate was very good for growing the "Northern silk". The plant then devolved on Yegor Yegorovich Klassen, a graduate from the St. Petersburg College of Commerce and Dresden Polytechnical Institute, who made a lot for town development; in particular, he gave money to build residential and public facilities and lay out a park.

 

The small plant grew into a big flax-processing company, Tulma, where a museum was opened. The collection of this first museum formed the basis of the Klassen Manufacture exposition on the lifestyle and habits of the townspeople in the second half of the 19th-early 20th centuries, on the linen plant and its founders and managers. You can see a range of manufactured items: every kind of canvas, linen, sackcloth--all items of the catalogue for 1912.

 

There are many photos of civil servants and workers of their houses; we see the plant store, hospital and college, as well as part of Yegor Klassen's cabinet and his personal belongings (a walking stick, a small safe with monograms, abacus). And certainly this exposition fea-

 
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tures flax-processing and weaving: visitors can inspect spinning wheels, a weaving loom, cloth, ready-made clothes,--whatever has to do with the industry. They can also see a factory whistle installed in 1864-1957 in the boiler-house to signal the beginning and the end of the working day--its sound could be heard 10 km around.

 

There is one more museum, the House on Novinska-ya Str., located on the Romanov bank, telling its visitors about the workaday life of the town, a small part of the great nation, a town with a destiny of its own. This museum has Russia's only exhibition on the history of a provincial bank (opened to guests from 1919 to 1954, then closed down and reopened in 1990 as a branch of the Yaroslavl Art Museum). It has several sections. The first one is under the room of a reputed financial institution with built-in and portable safes, antique office furniture, shelves, massive tables with typewriters, abacuses, ledgers, forms and paper-money bills.

 

The second section shows the split-level apartment of the bank manager where visitors can get a look at the way of life of provincial bank clerk. His study holds a massive desk with office accessories on it--a lamp, abacus, inkstand, clock, documents, photos and the like, with a big library nearby. In the spacious well-decorated living-room one can see a piano, armchairs, sculptures, pictures... But the greatest eye-catcher is the boudoir of the mistress with a nice toilet table showing off the many figurines, vases and other trinkets; also many family photos are on the walls. Visitors can also have a look at the household premises of the apartment--the kitchen filled with numerous plates and dishware; the maid's room is close by.

 

A remarkable fact: the exhibits live on, taking us back to those times when they served their owners: depending on the season, a raincoat or a fur coat hung in the anteroom; on holidays the rooms changed their decor and table settings. This "theater of memory" is housed in the building designed in the Modern style*--a historic monument of the late 19th century, the premises of a real public municipal bank of Borisoglebsk, together with the bank manager's apartment in it.

 

In 2005, the House on Novinskaya Str. opened new expositions and offered its visitors an opportunity to learn more about local crafts that made the town famous both in Russia and abroad. One of these expositions deals with the creative activity of Tsar Peter I. Just before the second Azov campaign (1696)** Peter

 

See: T. Geidor. "Russian Architecture of the Silver Age", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2009.--Ed.

 

** Azov campaigns of 1695 and 1696--two war campaigns against Turkey (the Osman Empire) that ended in the seizure of the Turkish fortress of Azov by the army of Peter I.--Ed.

 

ordered to organize shipbuilding in Voronezh and Preo-brazhenskoe (settlement near Moscow) for military and transportation purposes: he planned to use newly built ships to deliver troops, weapons, ammunitions, artillery and food to troops storming the Turkish fortress of Azov.

 

It was an opportune time for local smiths to demonstrate their skills--no woodwork could do without nails. They did the job! Moreover, local products were prized by the emperor. "Get iron things at the Roman plants owned by the merchant Ivan Borgin and pay him in full"--that was the order of the war department. In short, this small town on the Volga also contributed to the creation of the national navy (in fact, sailships were being built there as early as the 16th century).

 

All these events are featured at the "Romanov Nail" exhibition. Actually, all town residents contributed to the collection--exhibits were picked item by item for years. Visitors can see forged objects made in the 17th-early 18th centuries by families of local craftsmen: anchors, keys, locks, horseshoes, locking bars, scales, steelyard balances, street lights, decorative entrance canopies. Nearby are the tools: hammers, sledgehammers, anvils, bellows, tongs and the nail, the centerpiece of the exhibition--a simple but essential thing. Assorted nails were made at Tutaev workshops: huge nails with big thick heads, long nails, multifaceted nails, and nails resembling modern ones.

 

Finally, let's look into another section of the House on Novinskaya Str. dealing with barankas, or ring-shaped rolls now and then richly decorated. Besides, visitors can also see customary round barankas of every size decorating copper samovars in garlands and the pastry of imaginative Tutaev bakers: sheep, nails, coins and even a sailboat.

 

Leaving this small town on the Volga, we'll never stop admiring the mastery and talents that the Russian land is so rich in.

Опубликовано на Порталусе 08 ноября 2021 года

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