Church of the Entry into Jerusalem (1774-94), Northwest View, Tot'ma, Russia


This northwest view of the Church of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem in 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. Tot’ma is located on the Sukhona River, which links the south central part of the Vologda area with the northeast part, and for centuries was part of a strategic trading network that led northward to the White Sea. Tot’ma's range extended even to the New World via Alaska. This network, and its links to Saint Petersburg and Moscow, sustained the prosperity of local merchants who made donations to church construction. The Church of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, for example, with five domes and a large bell tower, was erected in 1774-94 with funds provided by the brothers Grigorii and Pëtr Panov, merchants involved in the trade with "Russian America." These tall whitewashed brick churches rose above a settlement consisting primarily of wooden houses and barns (those visible here date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries). The tower of yet another church--the Nativity of Christ--is visible in the right background. The uneven topography of Tot’ma, with ravines leading down to the Sukhona, enhanced the visual impact of its superb churches.

Last updated: January 11, 2016