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Regions of Russia: Kargopolye

Kargopolye

Kargopolye is a south-western district of the Arkhangelsk Oblast with Kargopol as the center. The ancient town of Russian North, Kargopol was founded in 1146 on the bank of the Onega River - traditional way of Russian merchants to the White Sea and further to Western Europe. For centuries Kargopol had become a large trade center and an important outpost in the north-west outlying districts of the country. Kargopol was the home of the Russian merchant Alexander Baranov - the first chief manager of the Russian-American Company in the late 18th century, 'the ruler of Russian America'. Newer trade routes of the 18-19th centuries bypassed Kargopol. The town and the whole area had lost its trade importance but conserved their patriarchal look and traditional way of life. Kargopol is the recognized memorial of Russian town-planning art. Stone churches of the 16-18th centuries are surrounded with wooden buildings, some of them were constructed in the 19th century. The characteristic feature of the churches is the extraordinary beauty of architectural ornaments. The best of them, the Annunciation Church (1692), charming in its graceful proportions and in richness of ornamental details, is considered one of the most magnificent monuments of Russian architecture. A plenty of log churches of the 17-19th centuries as well as log secular dwellings of the 19th century are located in environing villages. There are several churches remained where you can see 'the sky' - an extremely beautiful segmented vault, characteristic for log churches of Russian North. Kargopol is famous for its clay figurines - a purely folk art. Potters used to manufacture them to have a rest between making pots. Such figurines were dirt-cheap. They were bought along with pottery to amuse children. They did not last long. The amazingly decorative ducks, bear-cubs, chickens, whistles are still manufactured locally. Kargopol's children know about Barbie, but continue to play with these clay hens, ponies and young deers. Another kind of local handicrafts are articles made of birch bark: caskets, boxes, baskets, vases and what not. Women in Kargopol and neighboring villages are skillful in manufacturing patch-work quilts, all sorts of rugs and rag dolls. All these handmade articles exude warmth. They decorate homes, making them cozy and turning them into comfortable dens, not faceless urban dwellings. Adults and children can take a master class in local folk crafts at the Bereginya handicrafts center. Traditional cuisine (cheese cakes, pies, dishes of fish, mushrooms, berries) is also a remarkable piece of local culture, available for tourists. Kargopolye is a land of wonderful northern sceneries with wavy lines of hills, blue lakes and green forests. A significant part of the district is occupied by the Kenozersky National Park with unique natural and architectural memorials. The Park is reach with diverse flora and fauna, including 534 species of plants, 50 species of mammals, 264 species of birds and 30 species of fishes. Numerous old-aged log churches, chapels and secular constructions in natural environment retain indelible impression.

Tourists are welcome in Kargopolye. New museum expositions come out. The new comfortable hotel Kargopol is open since the end of 2005. Many families offer hospitable homestay in the town as well as in villages.

 

 

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