Cathedral Bell Tower (1767-78), East View, Kargopol', Russia


This northeast view of the cathedral bell tower in Kargopol' (Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Kargopol' is one of the oldest settlements in the Russian north, founded perhaps in the 12th, or even the 11th, century. Its location near Lake Lacha and the origins of the Onega River (which flows into the White Sea) enabled Kargopol' to benefit from trade in salt, fish, and products of the northern forests. The resulting wealth led to the construction of impressive churches, a number of which have survived. Located in the center of town on Cathedral (or New Market) Square, the large bell tower was begun in 1767 by Iakov Sivers, governor general of Novgorod Province, as part of a plan to revive the town after the fire of 1765. Completed only in 1778 because of difficulties in obtaining building materials, the tower has become an enduring point of orientation, both from the lake and within the town. The northwest part of Cathedral Square is occupied by the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin (on the right), built in 1802-08.

Last updated: January 11, 2016