Illustrated Description Of Russia

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ARCHANGEL (or Arkanghelsk), which is by far the largest government as regards territorial extent, and yet the smallest in point of population, in Great Russia, occupies the whole country from the Ural mountains on the east to the grand principality of Finland on the west, a distance of over nine hundred miles; and from the frontiers of Vologda and Olonetz on the south to the Arctic ocean and the White sea on the north, about four hundred miles. It includes the eastern portion of Russian Lapland, and also Nova Zembla (six hundred and fifty miles long by one hundred and fifty wide), and some other large islands in the Arctic ocean. Its most eastern limit is about sixty-eight degrees east longitude, and its most western thirty degrees east; its most southern point is at about latitude sixty-one degrees north, and its most northern the extreme point of Nova Zembla, in about latitude seventy-six degrees north. Its area is about three hundred and fifty thousand square miles.

The largest portion by far of this vast territory is condemned to perpetual sterility. The part of it within the arctic circle consists principally of an almost boundless expanse of sandy and mossy plains, having ice, even in the middle of summer, always a little below the surface. The country on this side the arctic circle consists, also, of immense plains, partly occupied with forests that cover more than half the entire extent of the province ; partly, but in a very inferior degree, by low pasture-grounds; and partly with lakes, morasses, &c. The principal towns are Archangel, Onega, Dwina, Mezen, and Petchora.

Owing to the severity and variableness of the climate, grain crops can not be depended upon: in consequence, even in the southern district, where the land is most fertile, they are but little attended to ; though considerable quantities of hemp and flax are raised. The principal wealth of the government consists in its immense and apparently inexhaustible forests; but fishing and hunting are the chief employments. The reindeer is the domestic animal of the Laplanders and Samoides, the former occupying the northwestern and the latter the northeastern parts of the government. Among the tribes now mentioned, dried fish occupies the place of bread; and in the more southern districts, the inner barks of trees, and certain species of moss, are intermixed with meal, or substituted for it in the making of bread. Horses and cattle are diminutive, and but little attention is paid to their treatment. The district of Kholmogorv, on the Dwina, a little below Archangel, where the pasturing is exceedingly good, must, however, be excepted from this remark. A breed of Dutch cattle, imported into this district by Catherine II., and distributed among the inhabitants, still preserves its superiority; and the calves of these cattle, being well fed, furnish the delicate white veal so much esteemed at St. Petersburg and other markets.

Ship and boat building, and the preparation of pitch and tar, are carried on to a considerable extent. A good deal of coarse linen is made by the peasantry of Archangel, and of the contiguous districts; and they also manufacture a good deal of cordage, and immense quantities of mats, with leather, tallow, turpentine, potash, &c.

The population of this province, though originally Finnish, is now essentially Russian. The Samoides, who are almost at the bottom of the scale of civilization, though spread over an immense surface, do not exceed six or seven thousand individuals. They are exempted from the obrok, and from compulsory military service, paying only the issaak, or tribute imposed on the Russian Asiatic tribes. The Laplanders, who are a little more advanced, do not amount to more than two thousand individuals. They are subject to the capitation tax.

Russian Lapland (called by the natives Sameanda, by the Swedes Lapp-mark, and by the Russians Laplandiia) comprises that portion of the country under the name of Lapland, lying between the river Tornea on the west and the White sea on the east, and is divided between the governments of Archangel and Finland. It has an area of about seventy thousand square miles, being of somewhat larger extent than that portion of Lapland lying in Sweden and Norway.

From both position and physical conformation, Lapland is one of the most forbidding regions of the globe, consisting either of rugged mountains—some of them covered with perpetual, and many of them only for a short period free from snow—or of vast monotonous tracts of moorland wastes. This extensive territory appears to have been at one time wholly occupied by the people to whom it owes its name; but its southern and better portions have been gradually encroached upon by Swedes, Norwegians, and Finlanders, till the Laplanders proper have, in a great measure, been cooped up within the arctic circle. There they retain their distinctive features and ancient customs, and find ample scope to follow their favorite modes of life, either as mountain Laplanders (Fjelde-Finner), leading a nomadic life, and pasturing large reindeer-herds; or sea or shore Laplanders (Soe-Finner), who, too poor to possess such herds, have been obliged to fix their residence upon the coast, and subsist chiefly by fishing. The origin of the Laplanders, as a race, has greatly puzzled ethnographers, in consequence of their presenting a combination of physical properties not possessed exclusively by either the Mongolian or the Caucasian stock, but belonging partly to the one and partly to the other. The prevailing opinion, however, is, that they are only a variety of Tschude, or Finns. Their chief characteristics are — low stature, seldom exceeding four feet nine inches high; great muscular power, shown both in their agility and in a strength of arm, enabling them to bend a bow which an ordinary Norwegian could not handle; a large head; dark, long, and glossy hair; small brown eyes, obliquely placed, and without eyelids ; high and prominent cheek-bones; wide mouth, with ill-defined lips; a scanty beard; and a skin of a yellow, dingy hue, probably rendered deeper than nature has made it, from living in smoky cabins, and neglecting habits of personal cleanliness. Their dress, at least that of the mountain Laplander, is composed almost throughout of reindeer-skin. "With the hair turned outward, it forms an upper coat, a kind of trousers, sandals and shoes, gloves, and a conical cap. In summer, the reindeer-skin is often exchanged for a woollen coat, which, in the female, is converted into a kind of pelisse, and reaches to the ankles. The cap of the female also is distinguished by its loftier peak, and some attempts at ornament; and her shoulders are not unfrequently covered with a small shawl or plaid, on occasions of display.


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The Laplanders are not deficient in either intellectual or moral capacity. They are simple-hearted, hospitable, and apparently inclined, as far as their knowledge goes, to practise the duties of Christianity, which they all profess, under the form of Lutheranism in Norway and Sweden, and that of the Greek church in Russia. The greatest exception to this practice is-an excessive fondness for ardent spirits. A more harmless vice is the excessive use of tobacco. The number of Laplanders in Russia, Sweden, and Norway, is not supposed to exceed twenty thousand of all descriptions. Probably one third of them are nomadic.

1. Shore Laplander. 2, 3. Mountain Laplanders

1. Shore Laplander. 2, 3. Mountain Laplanders
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Nova Zembla (called by the Russians Novaia Zemlia) consists of two large islands in the Arctic ocean, forming a dependency of the government of Archangel, and extending from latitude seventy-one to seventy-six degrees north, and from fifty-three to seventy-seven degrees east longitude. They are separated from each other by the narrow strait, Matotchkin Shar; from the isle of Vaigatz on the south by the strait; and from the mainland on the east by the sea of Kara. Their greatest length from northeast to southwest, as before stated, is six hundred and fifty miles, and their breadth one hundred and fifty miles. The far greater part of the interior is unexplored ; and even the northern and eastern coasts, where ice makes access almost impossible, are very imperfectly known. The southwestern and western coasts, which have been examined, are in the former direction generally low and flat; and, in the latter, bordered by sandstone cliffs, which, though not elevated, are very precipitous. The general slopeof both islands appears to be toward Matotchkin strait, on which the mouths of at least fifteen small streams have been counted. Lakes also are numerous. The whole territory is wild and desolate in the extreme. The coasts swarm with seals, various kinds of fish, and vast flights of water-fowl. The interior, which is partly covered with stunted shrubs, short grass, and moss, is frequented by reindeer, white bears, ermines, and arctic foxes. Nova Zembla has no permanent inhabitants, but is visited by Russian hunters and fishers.

Archangel, the capital of the government, is the principal city and port of trade in the north of Russia. It is situated on the right bank of the Dwina, about thirty-five miles above where it falls into the White sea, in latitude sixty-four degrees north. Its population, including that of the small dependent village of Solembolsk, is about thirty thousand. It is almost entirely built of wood, and has been materially improved since the fire of 1793. The principal building is the Gostinoi dwor, or bazar, for the exhibition and sale of merchandise, and its protection against fire. It is of stone, and of great extent. The marine hospital also deserves to be noticed. Archangel is the residence of a general and civil governor, and of an archbishop. There is an ecclesiastical seminary with nine professors, a gymnasium, a school of commerce and navigation, and some other educational establishments.

Notwithstanding its high northern latitude, and the lengthened period during which it is annually inaccessible, Archangel has a pretty extensive commerce. It owes this to its situation on the Dwina, one of the most important rivers of Russia, and which has been united by canals with the Volga on the one hand, and the Neva on the other. The greater part of the articles of export are brought by this channel, mostly from a considerable distance, and some even from Siberia. The principal are grain, flax, hemp, timber, iron, linseed; vast quantities of mats, potash, tallow, tar, pitch, train-oil, canvass and coarse linen, furs, cordage, &c. The exports vary materially in different years,-principally according to the demand for grain in foreign countries. The value of the imports, which consist principally of colonial produce, spices, salt, woollens, cottons, hardware, &c, is always much less than that of the exports. The harbor is at the island of Solembolsk, about one mile below the town; and the shipsare principally loaded direct from the prams, rafts, &c, that bring the produce down the river. There is a bar at the mouth of the river, with from thirteen to fifteen feet of water; and vessels drawing more than this must, of course, partly load and unload by means of lighters in the roads. There is a government dockyard, with slips for building ships, about twelve miles below the town, where also are situated warehouses belonging to the merchants of the city. A fishing company was established here in 1803. Exclusive of the ship and boat building, and the manufacture of cordage and canvass before referred to, there is a sugar-refinery, several breweries, &c.

The entrance to the Dwina, where Archangel was soon after built, was discovered by the famous Richard Chancellor, an English navigator, and founder of the " English Russia Company," who was the companion of Sir Hugh Willoughby in his voyage of discovery, in 1554; and from that period down to the foundation of St. Petersburg, it was the only port in the empire accessible to foreigners. In returning from his second voyage on behalf of the same company, attended by the Russian embassador and suite, Chancellor perished on the coast of Norway, in 1556.

Vologda, the largest government of European Russia, after that of Archangel, lies between the fifty-eighth and sixty-fourth degrees of north latitude, and the thirty-eighth and sixtieth degrees of east longitude, having on the north, Archangel; on the west, Olonetz and Novgorod; on the south, Yaroslav, Kostroma, and Viatka; and, on the east, the Ural mountains, separating it from Tobolsk. It comprises an area of about one hundred and fifty thousand square miles.

Excepting in the east, where it is covered with the Ural mountains, the surface of this province is generally an undulating plain, comprised in the basin of the Dwina, which is its largest river. The general slope of the country is accordingly to the northwest. In the south and southwest, the soil is fertile, but elsewhere it is sandy or thin, and the greater part of the surface is covered with marshes, and forests of pine, birch, oak, &c.

Though the climate varies with the situation, it is, generally speaking, very severe; it is far, however, from being unhealthy, and instances of longevity are frequent. The grains principally cultivated are rye and barley; but the produce of grain is insufficient for the consumption of the inhabitants. Hemp, flax, and hops, succeed, as do beans and peas. Cattle end horses are numerous and good; but a large part of the government being unoccupied and in a state of nature, the chase necessarily occupies much attention (a characteristic representation of which, in winter, is presented on the following page). The forests, the principal source of wealth, are of great extent, those of the crown alone covering eighty millions of acres. Granite, marble, salt, flints, copper, and iron, are all obtained in Vologda. It has a large number of manufacturing establishments, principally for woollen and linen fabrics, soap, leather, potash, glass-wares, and paper. Distillation is also very extensively carried on. Furs, tallow, pitch, wooden articles, masts and timber, turpentine, and other raw products, are the great articles of export; being sent, for the most part, into the governments of Archangel and Tobolsk.

The Chase in Winter

The Chase in Winter
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The population of Vologda is principally Russian, but includes some Zyrians or Surjans of Finnish stock; and, in the north, are some wandering Samoide tribes. Public instruction, owing to the thinness of the population, is necessarily very limited; but it has been materially increased of late years. This territory is divided into ten districts. The chief towns are Vologda, the capital, and Velikioustioug.

The city of Vologda, the capital of the above government, is situated near its southwestern extremity. It is built on both sides of the river Vologda, and is supposed to be one of the most ancient towns in Russia. The greater part of its houses are still of wood, but the buildings in stone are increasing, and several of its churches are of that material. It has two cathedrals, one of which was rebuilt in 1832. The palaces of the archbishop and governor, the prison, gymnasium, hospital, various asylums, and an episcopal seminary, are conspicuous edifices. Near the town is a famous convent, founded in 1371.

Vologda has manufactures of soap, potash, cordage, bells, and tallow-candles, for which last it is famous over all the north of Russia. Its trade is considerable, which is principally with the Baltic, Germany, and England ; also to Siberia, even to the boundaries of the Chinese empire. Its population is supposed to be from twenty to twenty-five thousand.

The government of Olonetz lies between the sixtieth and sixty-fifth degrees of north latitude, and the thirtieth and forty-second degrees of east longitude ; having on the north and northeast, the government of Archangel; on the southeast and south, Vologda, Novgorod, and St. Petersburg; and on the west, Lake Ladoga and Finland. Its area, including Lake Onega, is about sixty-seven thousand square miles.

The western part of this government resembles Finland, it being alternately mountainous and marshy, or covered with lakes. Of the latter, Onega is by far the largest. The principal rivers are the Onega (by which the lake Latcha discharges itself into the White sea), Vodla, Tvir, Suna, &c. For twenty-three weeks in the year the mean temperature is below thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit, and mercury sometimes freezes. Bleak winds are almost constant; but the country is tolerably healthy.

The soil is thin, stony, and not very fertile. Except in the district of Kargopole, into which some improvements have been introduced, agriculture is very backward. The grain produced is insufficient for the wants of the population. The peasantry are supported chiefly on turnips, carrots, and other vegetables, of which their bread partly consists, and on the produce of the chase, fisheries, &c. Hemp and flax are grown for exportation ; but the principal source of wealth consists in the forests, which are of great extent, those belonging to the crown covering twenty-five millions of acres. Pasturage is not abundant, and few cattle are reared. Marble, granite, serpentine, alabaster, &c, are found; and there are mines of iron, copper, and even silver, though they are but little wrought.

The poverty of the country obliges many of the inhabitants to emigrate annually into the adjacent governments, to take charge of cattle, hew millstones, &c.; and in summer the number of absentees is estimated at about a third part of the entire population. These circumstances are hostile to manufacturing industry; and, exclusive of the imperial cannon-foundry at Petrozavodsk, it has only a few tanneries and iron-forges. It exports raw produce to St. Petersburg and Archangel; from which cities grain, salt, spirits, and colonial and manufactured goods, are imported.

The government of Olonetz is under the same military jurisdiction as that of Archangel, and is divided into seven districts. Education is under the superintendence of the university of St. Petersburg, and is very limited. There is but one printing-press in the province, and that is owned by the state. The inhabitants are principally of the Greek church, and subordinate to the archbishop of Novgorod.

Petrozavodsk, the capital of Olonetz, is situated on the Lossolenka, where it falls into Lake Onega, two hundred miles northeast of St. Petersburg. It is poorly built, has two wooden churches, a school and infirmary, an important cannon-foundry, a gunpowder, fulling, and several saw mills, and manufactories of iron and copper, which find their market at St. Petersburg. It contains about eight thousand inhabitants, many of whom are employed in the iron-works and imperial foundries.

Kargopole, another town in this government, possesses a flourishing trade, and Olonetz is not unworthy of notice, as it was there that Peter the Great first attempted to build a ship-of-war, to be employed on the lake against the Swedes.

The government of Novgorod lies between the fifty-seventh and sixty-first degrees of north latitude, and the thirtieth and fortieth degrees of east longitude; having, on the east, the government of Vologda; on the south, those of Yaroslav, Tver, and Pskov; on the west, the latter and St. Petersburg; and, on the north, the last named and Olonetz. Its length, from northeast to southwest, is about four hundred miles ; its breadth varies from forty to one hundred and sixty miles. It contains an area of about fifty-five thousand square miles.

The surface of the country, which in the north is low and level, rises gradually toward the southwest, where the Valdai plateau reaches an elevation of. one thousand feet above the level of the sea. The government is well watered: the principal rivers being the Volkhov, Mesta, Chexna, Mologa, Lovat, &c, some of which run toward the Volga, and others toward the lake of Ladoga. Among"the lakes are those of Bielo-Osero, Voje, and Ilmen. The climate, especially in the north, is more severe than in the government of St. Petersburg, not being tempered by the sea-breezes.

Except in a few districts, the soil of Novgorod is not eminent for fertility, and night-frosts often spoil the crops. Scarcely any orchard-trees are met with, but hemp and flax are grown for exportation, and rye, oats, and barley, are extensively cultivated. Timber is an important product; a large part of the government is covered with forests, those belonging to the crown amounting to seven millions of acres. Few cattle are reared. Next to agriculture, fishing is a principal occupation. The salt-springs of Staraia-Rous furnish an adequate supply of salt for this government and that of Tver. Manufacturing industry is very backward : there are a few copper, glass, tile, leather, woollen-cloth, and other factories. The population have, however, a turn for commerce, and the different fairs and markets are well attended.

Novgorod is divided into ten districts. Among its chief towns are Novgorod, Tikhvin, and Valdai. Except some Lutherans among the Finnish inhabitants, the population is principally of the Greek church. Education is very little diffused. The capital has a gymnasium, and there are schools there and in other parts of the government. There is not supposed to be a single printing-press in the province. This territory was made a separate government in 1776.

The city of Novgorod (called Veliki, or "the Great"), formerly the most important in the empire, and capital of the government of Novgorod, lies on the Volkhov, near its escape from Lake Ilmen. It is about one hundred miles south-southeast of St. Petersburg. Its population, which, at the present time, does not exceed fifteen thousand, was estimated to have amounted, in the height of its prosperity, in the fifteenth century, to four hundred thousand, though this, probably, is much beyond the mark. At this period, Novgorod, with London, Bergen, and Bruges, constituted the four principal foreign depots of the Hanseatic League; but the fall of the League, and still more the massacres perpetrated by the bloodthirsty barbarian Ivan Vassilievitch II., in 1570, proved fatal to this great emporium, and it soon after fell into all but irremediable decay. La Motraye, who visited it early in the last century, gives the following description, which will apply nearly as well in the present day: —

" Nothing is more deceitful than the view of Novgorod from a distance: its extent, and the number and height of its towers and spires, seem to announce one of the finest cities in Europe; but, on nearing it, the traveller perceives that its walls and houses are only of wood; and on entering, he finds it ill built and wretchedly paved. Only the churches and a very few private residences are of stone or brick. There may be from eighty to eighty-five churches, including those of the monasteries ; besides which, the castle, a large fortress bristling with artillery, is the remaining principal edifice."

The town, in fact, though comprising a large space, consists principally of scattered groups of miserable habitations, separated by ruins or by fields, which it is evident had once been covered with houses. It is divided into two parts by the Volkhov, here crossed by a handsome bridge of eleven arches, which is almost the only modern structure in the city. The piles, &c, of this bridge are of granite ; the rest is chiefly of timber. Its entire length is two hundred and seventy yards, and the breadth of its central arch eighty-five feet. In the Torgovaia, or market town, are the governor's residence, an ancient palace of the czars, and most of the shops and warehouses. The Sofuskaia, on the opposite bank of the Volkhov, is about one and a half miles in circuit, and surrounded by an earth rampart and a ditch. In it are the Kremlin, or citadel, the cathedral of St. Sophia, built after the model of St. Sophia at Constantinople, the archbishop's palace, and the various tribunals. The citadel is in many respects similar to the Kremlin of Moscow, having a stone wall, flanked with many round and square towers. The cathedral, built between 1044 and 1051, and repaired in 1832, has some remarkable bronze gates, with sculptures in alto-relievo, representing passages in scripture history; and many of the paintings on its walls are curious, being said to date from a period previously to the revival of the arts in Italy. Among its buildings, the monastery of the Annunciation, of which we give a view on the following page, is a remarkably elegant structure.

Monastery of the Annunciation, at Novgorod

Monastery of the Annunciation, at Novgorod
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Novgorod is the seat of a military governor, whose authority extends over the adjacent government of Tver. It has a few manufactures of sailcloth, leather, and vinegar, and some trade in grain. Though not the original capital of Rurik, it became the seat of the Russian government in 864. In the beginning of the eleventh century, the inhabitants obtained considerable privileges, that laid the foundation of their liberty and prosperity ; and as the city and its contiguous territory increased in population and wealth, they gradually usurped an almost absolute independency: so that, in effect, Novgorod, in the middle ages, should rather be considered a republic, under the jurisdiction of an elective magistrate, than a state subject to a regular line of hereditary monarchs. During the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, Novgorod formed the grand entrepot between the countries east of Poland and the Hanseatic cities; and its wealth and power seemed so great and well established, and the city itself soimpregnable, as to give rise to the proverb —

" Quis contra Deos et magnam Novogordiam?" "Who can resist the Gods and Great Novgorod?"

But in 1477 it was obliged to submit to Ivan I., great-duke of Russia. So great was its riches, that in 1480, Ivan, after he had conquered the republic of Novrogod, despatched from the city to Moscow three hundred chariots laden with articles of silver and gold. In 1554, it was visited by the famous Richard Chancellor (to whom we have referred in treating of the government of Archangel), who describes it as the " great mart town of all Moscovie, and in greatnesse beyond Moscow." But not long after, it was subjected, as already stated, to the scourge of the destroyer, and fell, never to rise again. The foundation of St. Petersburg took from it all hope of ever recovering any portion of its ancient prosperity.

Pskov lies chiefly between the fifty-sixth and fifty-eighth degrees of north latitude, and the twenty-eighth and thirty-second degrees of east longitude; having, on the north, St. Petersburg and Novgorod, of each of which governments it formerly made a part; on the east, Tver and Smolensk; on the south, Vitepsk; and on the west, Livonia. Its greatest length, from northwest to southeast, is two hundred and two miles, and its greatest breadth one hundred and ten miles, comprising an area of about twenty-two thousand square miles.

The surface of the country is nearly flat, with a slope to the north, the direction taken by most of the rivers. None of these are of considerable size; but the government is, notwithstanding, well watered. At the northwestern extremity is the lake of Pskov (twenty-Seven miles long by fifteen broad), connected by a strait, three miles wide, with that of Peipus. The whole government belongs to the basin of the Baltic, the river Duna, which drains the southeast, carrying its waters into the gulf of Riga, and the Velikaia, Chelon, and Lovat, with other small tributaries, carrying the rest of the drainage into the gulf of Finland. Toward the southeast the country is traversed by the Valdai hills. Immense numbers of blocks of granite lie scattered in all directions. Marshes are numerous. The atmosphere is usually damp, though, on the whole, the climate is far from unhealthy.

The soil is thin, and not very fertile; but, owing to the fewness of the inhabitants, more grain is grown than is required for home consumption. The produce averages twenty millions of bushels a year, of which upward, of five millions may be exported. It consists chiefly of rye, barley, and oats, the proportion of wheat being small. A good deal of hemp and flax is raised. The forests are extensive, and abound with game. Cattle are not of great importance, and bees are less reared than in most provinces. Manufactures have increased during the present century, but they are still of no great consequence. The leather of this government is much esteemed, but its principal wealth consists in its grain and natural produce.

The government is divided into eight districts; the chief towns are Pskov, the capital, Torepetz, and Velikie-Louki. Its population consists mainly of Russians, with.some Lithuanians and Finns. Public education is little extended, and until recently only one printing-press existed in the government.

Pskov (or Pleskov), the capital of the government just described, is situated on the Velikaia, one hundred and sixty-five miles southwest of St. Petersburg. It contains about ten thousand inhabitants. The city covers a large space of ground, and is divided into three parts, the Kremlin or citadel, the Middle Town, and the Greater Town, all surrounded with an earthen mound. All the private houses, and the greater part of the public edifices, are of wood. The finest buildings are in the Kremlin. Among others are the cathedral, of very little architectural merit, but gorgeously decorated; and the palace of the ancient princes of Pskov, now occupied by the archbishop. The number of churches amounts to thirty, but more than a third of them are in disuse. The principal manufacture is Russian leather; and there is a considerable trade in hemp, flax, tallow, hides, &c, with Narva, and other seaports, on the gulf of Finland. A great annual fair is held here in February, at which large quantities of woollen, silk, and cotton fabrics, leather books, jewellery, &c, are sold. Pskov is the see of an archbishop; and possesses a theological seminary, a bible-society, and a well-managed hospital. It is said to have been founded by the princess Olga, toward the closeof the tenth century, being mentioned in history as early as 903.

Torepetz, another important town in this government, is situated on the Toropa, two hundred and forty-five miles south of St. Petersburg. The population is about ten thousand. It is entirely surrounded by lakes and rivulets, and communicates by the Toropa with Riga, which renders it a place of some trade. It has thirteen churches, including a cathedral, and two convents. A few of its houses are of brick or stone, but the major part are of wood, the streets also being paved with planks. On an island in the Toropa is a dilapidated fort. This town, under the name of Krivitch, is mentioned as early as the introduction of Christianity by Vladimir, about 990. It was the capital of a republic, which lasted through the whole of the twelfth century, but which in the thirteenth became subject to hereditary princes. Toward the end of the fifteenth century it belonged to the Poles, but it was retaken by the Russians in 1500.

Yelikie-Louki, the other town previously mentioned, contains about seven thousand inhabitants, several churches, and about thirty manufactories of leather, which is transported to the St. Petersburg markets, a distance of three hundred miles, by water. This town "was, in 1611, taken and burnt by the adherents of the pretender Dmitri.

The government of Tver extends from the fifty-sixth to the fifty-ninth degree of north latitude, and from the thirty-second to the thirty-eighth degree of east longitude; having Novgorod on the north, Yaroslav and Vladimir on the east, Moscow and Smolensk on the south, and Pskov on the west. It has an area of about twenty-four thousand square miles.

The surface of this government is generally more elevated than that of other parts of European Russia; and several large rivers, particularly the Volga, rise within its limits. In its western part are several lakes. The Volga has its source in the lake of Selighur, and afterward traverses the government in nearly its whole length from west to east.

The climate is severe, and the soil is but indifferently fertile. The harvests are precarious, and scarcely ever produce more than sufficient for home consumption. A good deal of hemp and flax, with beans, &c, are grown; but few kinds of fruit succeed. The forests are extensive, particularly in the north, and about one million of acres of forest-land belong to the crown.

Its manufactures are of little consequence, but increasing; those of dyeing-materials and spirituous liquors are the principal; and there are others of bricks, glass-ware, ropes, leather, woollen-cloths, &c. This government is, however, distinguished for its commercial activity; and the capital of its merchants has been estimated at seventeen millions of roubles. The trade centres mostly in Tver, the capital, and is facilitated by the Vishni-Volotchk canal, which establishes a water-communication between the Baltic and Caspian seas. The district of the government traversed by this canal is inhabited by a tribe of Carelians, and inthe capital is a German colony; but the population is mostly Russian, of the Greek church. This government is divided into twelve districts; the chief towns are Tver, the capital, Torjok, Rjev, and Bejetsk.

Tver, the capital of this government, is situated on the Volga, which is here crossed by a wooden bridge five hundred and fifty feet in length, and on the high road between Moscow and St. Petersburg, ninety miles northwest of the former. Its population is about twenty-five thousand. In respect of the regularity of its streets and buildings, Tver ranks next to the two Russian capitals, but wants their bustle and animation. It is divided by the several rivers into the town proper, suburbs, and citadel. The last, surrounded by a rampart of earth, comprises the governor's residence, an imperial palace, the cathedral, and seminary ; and its numerous towers and cupolas give it, at a distance, an imposing appearance. The cathedral is a square edifice, with a lofty spire, surmounted by a gilt copper dome, and surrounded, lower down, by four similar domes. The seminary, founded in 1727, for the instruction of seven hundred pupils in the sciences and ancient languages, is established in a convent built in the thirteenth century. There are numerous churches, government buildings, barracks, inns, a theatre, &c, and several public promenades, planted with trees.


Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855