Panorama, with Left Bank of Mologa River and Church of the Intercession (1780), Ustiuzhna, Russia


This northeast view toward the left (north) bank of the Mologa River at Ustiuzhna (Vologda Oblast) was taken in 2001 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. At 456 kilometers in length, the Mologa originates in Tver’ Oblast and flows through eastern Novgorod Oblast before entering Vologda Oblast, where it eventually empties into the Rybinsk Reservoir--a component of the Volga River. The Ustiuzhna settlement was known already in the mid-13th century for its rich deposits of bog iron. (The dark color of the Mologa is due to its high iron content.) Ustiuzhna became one of the earliest Russian centers of metalworking and was a major armory for Muscovy during the 16th century. The former wealth of Ustiuzhna is reflected in its array of churches--13 by the 19th century--of which half were on the left bank. This view from the Mologa Bridge includes the Church of the Nativity of Christ (1780), also known as the Church of the Intercession, after one of its secondary altars. During the late spring, when this photograph was taken, the river’s width at Ustiuzhna reaches 150 meters. The Mologa was formerly navigable as far as Ustiuzhna, but is no longer maintained for navigation.

Last updated: January 11, 2016