Route of the Czars

A trip from October 11 through October 20, 2006

Moscow Canal, the Volga and the Neva
M. S. Pakamov
Our home for this trip, including both Moscow and St. Petersburg, was the M. S. Pakamov.   This ship was built in East Germany, so the emergency signs were all in English and German, not English and Russian.

I don't think we had the smallest possible cabin, but I am not quite clear about how much smaller a cabin could have been.  The bathroom was a bit amazing, because the shower and sink shared the same spigot, but the shower had a floor drain.
Route of the Czars
This was our route.  They called it "The Route of the Czars," but the water route between Moscow and St. Petersburg was completed by Stalin.  The Czars had to go by land, or portage, or something.

In the trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg, we went through 17 locks, mostly at night.
Dachas on the Moscow Canal
These are dachas along the Volga.  It appears that dachas are the normal summer escape for a wide spectrum of Russian people.   Actually, these are relatively small as the dachas go.
Sunken Church on Uglich Reservoir
As a part of Stalin's waterway project, vast areas were flooded.  Further this flooding was done without much preparation.  There used to be a village surrounding this spire of the Church of Kalyazin in the Uglich Reservoir.  We assume that the people were moved out, but in Russia you might wonder.
Welcome to Uglich
We were welcomed to Uglich with music!  Uglich is an old town, dating back to the 12th century, for sure.  Oral tradition takes it back to the 10th century.
Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
The town is simply littered with churches and monasteries.  The is the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
Palace of the Prince
The Palace of the Prince dates to 1481, and it was here that the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, Dmitry, was sent for safe keeping at the age of 3.  At the age of 10, someone slit his throat, and that was the end of the Rurik dynasty in Russia.  That was in 1591.  The next czar was Boris Godunov, Ivan's advisor, and the investigators said it wasn't his fault.
Church of St Demetrios on the Blood More or less on the site of Dmitry's assassination, this tiny church, the Church of St. Demetrios on the Blood, was erected in 1690.  The Romanov's made sure that the murdered child was canonized, and they turned Uglich into a pilgrimage destination.
Monastery in Uglich
These are the domes of the Uleima Monastery.  This building is very much in the process of restoration.  Lower down, the bare and crumbling brick shows how bad things went for religious institutions during the Stalin era.
Elijah the Prophet
The next stop after Uglich was Yaroslavl.  This is the Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl.  We had a serenade here, and we were amazed by how small the chapels are.
Foyer of St. John the Baptist
This combination of fresco and mosaic was in the foyer of Elijah the Prophet.
Iconostasis in St. John the Baptist
This is the iconostasis in the winter chapel.
City Hall in Yaroslavl
Directly across from the Elijah the Prophet, we have the Yaroslavl Municipal building.  This architecture dates from the 30's.  Yaroslavl had a couple of good eras.  One was in the 17th century, when it was the de facto capital of Russia, because Moscow was occupied by the Poles.  During the Stalin era, the industrial capability of the town was built up significantly, and it remains an important manufacturing center.
Goritzky Monastery of the Resurrection
Part of the Monastery of the Resurrection in Goritzy.  This 16th century complex has played a lot of roles.  When it was used as a prison, two of Ivan the Terrible's wives were exiled here.   Other noble prisoners spent time here.  It was also used as a fortress, and the outer walls are set up as battlements.  And it is also a monastery.
Chuch in Ryinsk Reservior
The Rybinsk Reservoir, completed in 1941, is another case of precipitous flooding.  This reservoir marks the northern extreme of the Volga river and the southern limit of the Volga-Baltic Waterway.  This structure is all that is left of the Leushino Monastery.

The fact that the ground was not really cleared means that the rotting wood on the bottom consumes all the oxygen from the water, making this a truly dead body of water.
Approaching Kizhi Island
We are approaching Kizhi Island, near the north end of Lake Onega.  This view shows the Church of the Transfiguration, the Bell Tower and the Intercession Church.  The large church is a "summer" church, and the small church is a "winter" church.

Winter is serious here.  This island is about 320 miles away from the Arctic Circle.
Farmhouse on Kizhi Island
The whole of Kizhi Island is an outdoor museum of wooden architecture. This means that the entire island is a non-smoking zone.

This is a farm house, which seemed very spacious for a log structure.  Of course, it is occupied by both man and beast in the winter.
Church of the Transfiguration
The centerpiece of Kizhi Island is the Church of the Transfiguration.  It was built entirely of wood, without nails, in 1714.  We couldn't go inside because it is in the midst of a massive restoration project, which is supposed to be done for the 300th anniversary of the church in 2014.

This church has 22 domes, and it is about 100 feet tall.  That makes it one of the tallest log structures in the world.

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