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Totma - Birthplace Of Russian Navigation
November 16, 2016 23:41


The town of Totma stands on the river with an eloquent name - Sukhona - it is navigable only three months a year. However, Totma is considered to be almost the birthplace of Russian navigation.

As if to compensate for the inferiority of its annoying waterways, Totma merchants have long been interested in the development of distant shores, extremely distant ones. A black fox depicted on the emblem of the town does not live in these places – the residents of Totma “practiced hunting animals” not just somewhere, but on the banks of the North America. Initially the residents of Totma were engaged in salt works, but in the 1740s local entrepreneurs mastered the North River trade route and began to equip expeditions to the east, right up to Alaska and California.

It came to the fact that the Totma tradesman Ivan Kuskov became the founder of the famous Fort Ross near San Francisco. A kind of fetish of local history of the town are the so-called cartouches - the ornate decorations of church facades of shaped bricks.

The residents of Totma are sure it is the local know-how, the detail was brought to architecture from the nautical maps that were decorated in a similar way. The town has preserved an amazing silhouette, although some churches were destroyed during the Soviet years, and four of them are still standing decapitated. The most expressive are the newly refurbished Churches of Christmas and of the Entry into Jerusalem. The first one is operating, the second is the Naval Museum and has a stunning observation deck on the bell tower. In addition to churches, the town has perfectly preserved the environment itself – basically, unpretentious  houses of merchants and ordinary people, only a huge chest of Baroque house of the sailor Panov stands out among them. Totma, just like Suzdal, can be proud of the fact that it has saved the horizon not spoilt by panel verticals. However, by the heroic efforts of local patriots, the process was stopped. By the number of museums per capita Totma ranks second after Suzdal in Russia.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina


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