Kalyazin Bell Tower is a symbol of Russia before communism: a lonely bell tower on a man-made island in a man-made lake

Large energy or infrastructural initiatives that benefit one region, country, or people frequently come with significant sacrifices. Changing the shape of vast swaths of territory, such as chopping down a historic forest, damaging agricultural soil, or drowning old cities and villages, is sometimes the cost.

Joseph Stalin and his associates did not hesitate to demolish parts of Russia in order to construct the communist state. Their ambitions for a better society included removing everything considered antiquated.

Kalyazin Bell Tower is a symbol of Russia

Two monasteries, major portions of the historic town of Kalyazin in the Tver Oblast of northern Russia, and a fertile region of land totaling around 96 square miles well as major portions of the historic town of Kalyazin in the Tver Oblast of northern Russia, as well as a fertile region of land totaling around 96 square miles, were purposefully drowned by the waters of the Ulgrich Reservoir, a man-made lake.

The Soviet government-funded projects are comparable to the creation of this artificial lake order to strengthen and glorify the new Soviet Union. At least, this is the feeling expressed in the most optimistic chapters of communist history books while portraying the communist era’s most sincere—and most naive—years.

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The region inundated by the Volga River was only a minor fraction of the cultural degradation that occurred as a result of the Soviet Union’s ascent to communism. Many ancient structures were demolished in the name of progress, the Communist Revolution, and the Soviet Union’s modernization.

Flooded belltower in Kalyazin at sunrise

The Soviet authorities decided in 1939 to build the Uglich Dam on the Volga River as part of the Volgostroy project, resulting in the massive Uglich Reservoir. This resulted in increased boat traffic on the Volga River and improved circumstances for the construction of a new power plant in the Volga water basin, but it also resulted in the flooding of huge sections of agricultural land and the loss of historic communities. Kalyazin’s ancient town was one of the towns that were in the flood zone and was destroyed.

Kalyazin bell tower cathedral Nicholas Russian

A large portion of the town was inundated. Streets, residences, the historic town bazaar, and two 15th and 16th century monasteries (Saint Nicholas Monastery and Troitsky Makariev Monastery) are now submerged. Except for the remarkable survival of Saint Nicholas Church’s bell tower, all of the inundated structures were destroyed by rising floods. The government opted to save the old structure and utilize it as a maritime landmark and lighthouse. It is presently located in the center of the artificial lake and has become a symbol of the Volga River and the little town of Kalyazin throughout the years.

Kalyazin bell tower cathedral Nicholas Russian in winter

The Saint Nicholas Church was established in 1694 and has a Neoclassical bell tower with five levels added between 1794 and 1800. Colonel Vasily Ushakov, proprietor of the hamlet Nikitsky, and a crew of peasant workmen erected the tower.

The Ulgrich Reservoir dam was erected by inmates, the majority of whom were political prisoners. During the war, this massive project on the Volga River was critical to the Soviets’ triumph over the Nazis. During the German siege of the Soviet capital in 1941-42, it supplied energy to the city of Moscow.

The flooded belfry was built in the russian city of Kalyazin in 1800. Tver region, the Volga river bank

To protect the remarkable construction from collapsing, enormous amounts of earth were put around it to form a small man-made island. The interior of the tower is now empty, as the 12 bells and everything priceless and non-precious things were evacuated before the water rose.

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