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Solvychegodsk: Stroganovy Salt Lake city
June 23, 2010 17:44

Solvychegodsk is a small town in Arkhangelsk Territory, which appeared in 16th century and became a centre of a huge trading empire, created by Stroganovy merchants. The family of Stroganovy, famous with their art patronage, so active, that the art historians identify specific Stroganov style in icon painting and even in architecture, have built their empire on salt-works and salt trading. The Stroganovy's salt works were prospering from mid-16th till the 17th century. Actually, Solvychegodsk stands literally in the beginning of their business and still keeps some rests of the salt-works and monuments of art and church architecture, demonstrating obviously, such a profitable business it was.

Stroganovy style in icon painting, art and crafts is characterized with sophisticated ornamentation and pedant delicacy of the technic. The same could be told about architecture, built of bricks which made such ornamentation possible, not of stone. The icon frames were loaded with pearls, supposed to be grown in one lake especially for that. Sophisticated and subtle, Stroganovy style demonstrates one of the best examples of the late medieval Russian art.


There were minimum 12 churches of that period in the town of Solvychegodsk by the early 20th century, but eight of them were destroyed in the Soviet time, two have been partly destroyed because of the disrepair and two more have happily preserved relatively well: the 16-th centiry Annunciation Church and 17th century Our Lady Church. The buildings are wondering large and luxurious for such a distant town on a salt lake and little salty river, the town where a Late-Medieval or early New Time monopoly has begun and finished also in a very short space of time in 18th centiry with discovery of the new trade routes. What about traces of the business, you can still see the salty spring with a wooden chapel on it.

Stroganovy did not spare neither trouble nor expense buiding the churches and filling them with luxurious icons, needlework, jewels and holy vessels. They say the pearls for icon frames and needleworks was taken in the Iksa River and even grown in the pearl lake. The pearl farm was created assisted some "foreigner, doctor and druggist". The legend says thet Anika Stroganov has bought the chemist from Moscow jail.

But for its sights, Solvychegodsk is not so easy-to reach. However, to can get there by car, by bus, by boat or ferry and railroad.

If you go by car, you should follow Arkhangelsk – Bereznik – Kotlas – Solvychegodsk or Arkhangelsk – Velsk – Kotlas – Solvychegodsk.
If you take the bus, you can take the following ones:

N 307 Kotlas – Solvychegodsk. The trips take place at 06.50, 12. 00, 16. 00. It takes about 01.15 The trips back Solvychegodsk – Kotlas take place at 08.10, 13.10 and 17. 10
N152 Kotlas – Koryazhma – Solvychegodsk. The trips take place at 6. 00, 12.00, 16.00. The trips back Solvychegodsk – Koryazhma – Kotlas take place at 07.40, 13.40, 18.40.

The boat of Zarya-170 will transport you from the riverside station of Kotlas town to Solvychegodsk in the summer time. The shcedule is to be specified by phone +7 (81837)5 66 15.

The ferry boat runs from the same place every day from 7.00 till 19.00 every day 1 hour apart. Phone +7 (8182) 20 66 68 for alterations.

The Railway connection is also carried out via railway station of Kotlas. Tickets for all Russian long-distance trains are availiable in Russia-IC services. For further information and booking form click here. Honestly, railway connection (e.g., train Moscow – Kotlas) is rather long but almost only one optimal way to get there. The highway can be in a bad condition, especially in winter.

Russia-IC offers you Russian visa support as well. You can find necessary information on the services page, or connect us if you haven't found information you need.

Read More About Arkhangelsk Region...


Yulia Buzykina

Tags: Arkhangelsk Region     

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