Belozersk; City of the Past

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This picture of a chapel was taken in 1909 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin- Gorskii. Prokudin- Gorskii employed avant- garde photography techniques to take one negative in three color frames , later combined, to then produce a color photograph. The chapel photographed here stands on the site of the founding of the ancient city of Belozersk. 

Belozersk was founded, or at least first mentioned historically, in 862 by Prince Sineus (one of the brothers of Rurik, founder of a dynasty of Russian czars) and was one of the five original Russian towns. It was named for the lake upon which it sits as were many towns of the ancient Slavs. 

Belozersk’s position on the lake allowed it to serve as an important trade-way connecting Northern and Novgorod’s lands and Central Russia. This also has proven to be a factor in the town’s resiliency throughout the centuries. In 1180 the town’s army participated in the Kulikovskaja battle, which nearly wiped out the towns population and did extinguish the town’s leaders. However, it was able to bounce back as the center of an independent state which survived merrily for a century and a half. Later, in 1352, Belozersk was hit harshly by the Black Plague epidemic, yet again nearly exterminating the population. Belozersk’s prominence as a trade passage preserved it once more, and in the later 14th Century Belozersk became to develop rapidly and grew quite wealthy. 

Belozersk’s modernization was short-lived, and effectively squelched at the beginning of the 17th Century by occupation of the Polish- Lithuanian army. Since that momentary spurt of growth, Belozersk has persevered as a quaint and almost untouched by industrialization small town. There is only one hotel, and often the buildings lack hot or even running water. All the same, Belozersk holds significant historical importance for Russia and contains a wealth of historically important artifacts.

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Information from post borrowed from: http://www.towns.ru/towns/belozersk_e.html

Picture of chapel in Belozersk taken from: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/prokc.21069/?co=prok

Picture of current day Belozersk taken from: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belozersk

 

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4 comments on “Belozersk; City of the Past

  1. Anonymous says:

    Annemarie, I was intrigued by this photograph when looking through the collection, but I did not think to examine the history of the town where it was located. The history of the town is interesting when compared to modern day. I can’t imagine having a town which was a center for trade remaining untouched by industrialization, but that shows how history doesn’t follow specific molds. The future of this town makes me wonder if religion had a role in how the town went against industrialization and vise versa.

  2. Austin Wood says:

    As the above user said, I was about to choose this picture, but didn’t quite know where to go with it. I loved reading about the town, and it’s crazy to hear about all the misfortunes that have run across it. I do see this picture as a type of symbolism for this town and also wonder if religion played a part in keeping this town strong and fighting through adversity. Maybe Gorskii knew something we don’t and this picture has a deeper meaning that what meets the eye. Interesting post!

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