General Plan for Development of the Project
The Project for preservation and restoration of the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Krokhino (Belozersk District, Vologda Region) integrates several historical, cultural and social areas of focus related with different ages, events and persons. The linchpin of the project is the unique Church of Nativity of Christ built in late XVIII Century on the shore of Lake Beloye near the origin of Sheksna River, which is nowadays the only church-on-the-water in Russia to survive the flooding of vast territories during Volga-Baltic Waterway construction. At present, Krokhino Church of Nativity of Christ embodies the historical “gateway” to ancient Byelozerie being a symbol of formation of Russian nationhood at the water crossways, a symbol of Christianity, a homage to those who perished or was relocated from the flooded territories, to the shrines destroyed. The Church is also a significant part of historical legacy of the ancient town of Byeloozero (IX Century) and Krokhino suburb (XIV Century).
The goal of the project is to preserve and restore the Church of Nativity of Christ in Krokhino, which is the embodiment of the history of the flooded settlements and Ancient North, and to develop the touring potential of Krokhino as a unique historical and cultural place of Russia.
The primary stages of preservation (conservation) of the edifice of the Church of Nativity of Christ include preservation of the structure of the Church (installation of supporting fixtures inside window apertures; installation of temporary weight distribution boards; installation of temporary tier connectors; construction of standard and load-bearing scaffolds around the perimeter of and inside the edifice, etc.), performance of top-priority counter-emergency work (restoration of metal connectors and bindings, installation of tie rods at all tiers of the bell-tower; installation of steel hoops and buttresses around the perimeter of the frater and quadrangle of the church; diversion of surface water from the structure of the edifice for the entire period of restoration; construction of temporal roof above the bell house and frater).
Development of the touring potential of Krokhino in Belozersk District of Vologda Region includes the following:
- establishment of Krokhino cultural heritage museum, including several displays dedicated to the history of Volga-Baltic Waterway, archeological legacy and history of the ancient town of Byelozerie and Krokhino suburbs, literal works of V.M. Shukshin and creation of his film “The Red Snowball Tree”, and other displays dedicated to culture and history of modern Byelozerie;
- establishment of recreational infrastructure, including building of a public footpath to the church and construction of a quay for low-tonnage vessels;
- organization of public events, including conferences on the matters concerning development of public initiatives for preservation of Russian historical and cultural monuments, organization of topical photo-exhibitions and other cultural events.
Project Implementation Plan
Fig. 1. Conceptual framework of implementation of the Project for preservation and restoration of the Church of nativity of Christ in Krokhino with proposed infrastructural objects (approximate locations marked).
The Project encompasses the following:
1. Preservation (conservation) of the edifice of the Church of nativity of Christ. The experience of reconstruction and bunding of Kalyazin bell-tower of Saint Nicholas Cathedral (Kalyazin, Tver Region) was adopted as a basis for the top-priority counter-emergency operations. The bell-tower was flooded in 1941 during Volga-Baltic Waterway construction, with bunding and reconstruction carried out in late 1980s.
Conservation of the Church of Nativity of Christ in Krokhino is feasible on condition, that a dam surrounding the edifice is constructed to prevent harmful exposure to waves. After the counter-emergency operations are finished, the surviving part of the edifice will be reinforced and its missing parts reconstructed using archive documents and drawings.
Fig. 2-4. Photographs of Kalyazin bell-tower of Saint Nicholas Cathedral before and after flooding (1930s, 60s and 90s).
After completion of the work on conservation of the Church of nativity of Christ, construction of a memorial shrine is planned in its bell-tower’s lower tier. Climbing to the upper tier of the bell-tower will be made possible as well.
2. Establishment of Krokhino cultural heritage museum, including several displays dedicated to the history of Volga-Baltic Waterway, sunken historical places and ruined lives, archeological legacy and history of the ancient town of Byelozerie and Krokhino suburbs, other displays dedicated to culture and history of Byelozerie. It is worth noting, that the museum shall be a crucial element integrating the concept of the project as a whole.
In the framework of museum establishment, it is planned to involve volunteers, experts and organizations specializing in ancient Russian history and architecture as well as Soviet history (construction of Volga-Baltic Waterway in particular).
Besides permanent displays, a separate hall will be specially fitted to hold topical art and photo exhibitions, other cultural and public events dedicated to the problems of preservation of historical and cultural legacy as well as voluntary work under such projects, sharing of experience, etc.
3. Establishment of recreational infrastructure, including building of a public footpath to the church and construction of a quay for low-tonnage vessels.
Building of a public footpath to the church and construction of a quay will enable to form the infrastructure necessary to attract pilgrims and tourists. The quay will also add to development of a “weekend” and many-day tour itineraries for inhabitants of Vologda Region, tourists from other regions and countries, with possibilities to visit the places of interest of Belozersk, Krokhino and archeological conservation area “Ancient Settlement - Byeloozero” (see Fig. 5).
As proposed, the planned elements of the recreational infrastructure and the Church of Nativity of Christ will be interconnected by pathways and bridges.
Fig. 5. Location of the Church of Nativity of Christ on Lake Beloye and possible water touring itineraries from Belozersk town.
4. Development of the touring potential of the cultural legacy of Krokhino as a unique historical and cultural place of Russia, including establishment of commercially viable museum and recreational infrastructures.
The primary goal of development of Krokhino’s potential for tourism is to establish a complex attractive both for tourism and pilgrimage, capable of making the contribution to economic development of the district and region, particularly through preservation and rational use of natural and recreational resources and cultural and historical potential of the territory. Thus, development of convenient tour itineraries taking into account the existing and planned infrastructures is required.
A crucial factor for development of Krokhino’s potential for tourism is its favorable location at a popular water touring itinerary “Knowing Russian North” Moscow – Saint Petersburg – Moscow used by hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of tourists and pilgrims on a yearly basis (see Fig. 6).
Fig. 6. Location of the Church of nativity of Christ at the water touring itinerary.
The location of Krokhino and Belozersk town, favorable for river tourism, is especially worth noting. As Belozersk town is situated on the shore of Lake Beloye, it will be able to accommodate all tourists from motor vessels which take Volga-Baltic Waterway. So far, only low-tonnage motor vessels (design 311) from Vologda and two-deck vessels “Mamin-Sibiryak” (design 646) and “Vasily Chapaev” (design 305) stop over in Belozersk however. According to the statistics of 2008 river tourists numbered 2335 total.
In the future, after commissioning of the heavy-tonnage quay, Belozersk will become interesting for berthing of large motor vessels taking Volga-Baltic Waterway with total number of voyages over 300 per navigation season (motor vessels of designs 588, 301/302, 92-016, Q-040/Q-040A and others, with passengers capacity between 200 and 350). Thus, in the first navigation season following the quay construction approximately 20% of touring vessels are expected to stop over in Belozersk. With average voyage occupation at about 85%, up to 10 thousands tourists may be expected to visit the town on a yearly basis. Under favorable conditions and provided that the development of tourism infrastructure goes on, the number of tourists in the following years may exceed 20 thousands.
The anticipated data regarding visitation of Belozersk town and Belozersk district enable to make a positive estimation regarding visitation of the Church of Nativity of Christ in Krokhino, taking into account those tourists who use personal motor conveyances as well.
5. Organization of public events, among other things holding a conference on the matters concerning development of public initiatives for preservation of Russian historical and cultural monuments, organization of topical photo-exhibitions and other cultural events with active involvement of experts and organizations specializing in ancient Russian history and architecture as well as Soviet history (construction of Volga-Baltic Waterway in particular).
Holding a conference on the matters concerning development of public initiatives for preservation of Russian historical and cultural legacy will draw attention of a wider audience to this problem, enable to use new media resources and serve as a good ground for sharing of experience. At the same time, organization and hosting of photo exhibitions will attract a lot of people interested in the project implementation, including architects, conservators and journalists.