River cruises to Kozmodemyansk
Valaam travel agency provides a wide range of river cruises in 2012. Visiting Kozmodemyansk, you will enjoy a hiking city tour including visit to the Museum of merchant’s life.
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History of Kozmodemyansk
It is thought that Kozmodemyansk was founded in 1583. It appeared as a Kozmodemyansk prison. Before that there was a Chuvash village of Chikmehola which means “frontier town”.
It was first mentioned as a town in 1609. Its name is connected with the fact that the place for the future town was chosen in memory of holy martyrs Kosma and Damian (in common parlance Kozma and Demyan).
The town appeared on the place of a strelets jail during the development of the Volga region by Ivan the Terrible which followed the capture of Kazan. In 1781 Kozmodemyansk became a county town of the Kazan region.
Beginning from XVIII century the town became the second large (after Archangelsk) timber center. It was due to its successful location as from its one side the total territory is covered with forests, from the other side the town is situated at the intersection of trade routs: water route along the Volga, land route along the Siberia tracts from Moscow via Vyatka to Siberia and a road to Kazan passing through the town.
From the middle of the XIX century Kozmodemyansk holds and annual timber fair. Kozmodemyansk turned into a prosperous merchant town exceeding in the population number its neighbours – Cheboksary and Tsarevokokshaisk (present Yoshkar-Ola).
With development of railroads the town comes to a decline, modern highways also bypass it, and it was Yoshkar Ola that became the center of Mari autonomy. The town has “mothballed” in the state of a merchant town of the XIXth century.
The flow of tourists enter the town across the Volga getting off cruise liners for several hours. In 1970 building of Cheboksary Hydro-electric power station started and according to the project the historical part of Kozmodemyansk got into the flooding area.
Fortunately, before the collapse of the USSR the water in the storage basin did not reach the designed level to ruin Kozmodemyansk, later the plans changed, the water basin level was stabilized and the town did not suffer.
Attractions of Kozmodemyansk
Kozmodemyansk is situated on the right bank of the Volga and is divided into two parts: the uptown and the downtown. It is the latter, historical part that attracts tourists.
There one can enjoy preserved outstanding architectural monuments, a large number of stone and wooden merchant’s houses decorated with original carving, built before the revolution.
Close to the pier there is a Strelets chapel erected in 1698. Three of seven churches were preserved: the Trinity church (1733), Smolensky cathedral (1872) and the Old Believers’ Orthodox Church which was ruined by Bolsheviks in 1937 and restored recently.
The ethnographic museum of Kozmodemyansk is an open air museum and is devoted to Mari national culture. Among its exhibits there are: a windmill, a bath, a well, a blacksmith shop, a shed for cattle. There are about 60 constructions recovering the atmosphere of the past.
There is a museum of merchants’ life located in a three-storey detached house of merchant Gubin demonstrating the furnishing and the atmosphere of the XVIII-XIXth centuries.
One of the most important museums of Kozmodemyansk is the Ostap Bender museum of humour located also in the downtown, as it is just Kozmodemyansk that Ilya Ilf and Eugeny Petrov meant by Vasyuki in their famous work “12 chairs”
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