Panorama, with Sukhona River, Tot'ma, Russia


This panorama of the Sukhona River at Tot'ma (Vologda 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. The Sukhona links the south central part of Vologda Oblast with the northeast part, and for centuries was part of an important trading network that led northward to the White Sea. The river flows past the historic towns of Tot'ma and Velikii Ustiug, both of which are known for their 17th- and 18th-century brick churches sponsored by local merchants. The interiors of Tot'ma's churches were severely damaged during the Soviet era, but the structures still stand and are reminders of one of the brightest pages in the history of northern Russian culture. Visible here from the left are: the bell tower and the Church of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, the Church of the Trinity in Zelene; and the neoclassical Cathedral of the Epiphany (without its dome).The prosperity of these northern river towns was based on their location and on their close ties with Russia's major cities, Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Indeed, Tot'ma's range extended all the way to the New World, via Alaska. Among Tot'ma's notable citizens was Ivan Kuskov, the first commandant of Fort Ross, in California.

Last updated: January 11, 2016