In XVIII century the Novgorod Governor-General Yakov Efimovich Sivers wrote to Catherine II that Ostashkov was “the second Venice”. The Russian Venice is situated on a peninsula cut into the clear blue waters of the Seliger Lake.
Seliger is, in fact, not a lake, but a whole system of interconnected lakes. They are called stretches. Ostashkinsky is the biggest. In the south of Ostashkov it goes into Selizharovsky, then into the Selizharovka River, and then flows directly to Volga. There are Kravotynsky, Sosnitsky, Polnovsky Berezovsky stretches.
On the other side of Ostashkov you can see the Vesetsky stretch. There is a feeling that the town stands right on the water. The tiny neighboring islands - Voronii (aka Voronezhsky, Voronov) and Fomino (Fomin) look at Ostashkov with envy. They wish they had such churches and old houses with attics, these straight streets laid in 1772 according to the plan of the architect Starov - the man who built the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg. Here’s the red brick Cathedral of Ascension, here’s the Valsky Column in the place of the column shafts of Ostashkovskaya fortress, here’s the ancient Governor’s house (also with an attic) - it has been standing in Ostashkov on Parakhodnaya Street since 1720.
The third island - Zhitny (Zhitenny) - does not envy Ostashkov. Rather, it is the former island, for since 1853 it has been connected to Ostashkovo with a dam. The complex of Zhitenny monastery founded in 1716 is situated on the island. There is also Klichen island, a natural monument. You can walk to it through Zhitenny island. Klichen has a pine forest and a tiny lake. The residents of Ostashkov go there if they want to get even closer to nature.
Author: Anna Dorozhkina