Libmonster ID: RU-17173
Author(s) of the publication: Olga BAZAN OVA

About 150 kilometers south of Moscow, on the right bank of the Osyotr, a tributary of the Oka (a larger river emptying into the Volga), there lies the old Russian city of Zaraisk. Its focal point, the kremlin, is perhaps the smallest in Russia. Surprisingly, it has survived intact to our days.

The first documentary evidence about Zaraisk (first known as Osyotr) dates back anno 1146--that year is mentioned in the Ipatyev and Nikonov chronicles.* Later on, Zaraisk comes up in a code of the Tales

* Ipatyev chronicle--one of the oldest dating from ca. anno 1420; named so after the Ipatyev monastery at Kostroma. It was in two parts, with the first known as the Tale of Bygone Years. The Nikon chronicle, named after Patriarch Nikon, the great Russian Orthodox reformer of the 17th century. Dated to the 16th century, it glorifies Ivan the Terrible and his reign.The name Zaraisk means a "town on the ravines" (zaras, the old word "ravine"); for just a while, before the Mongolian raids of the mid-13th century, it was named Krasny i.e., a "red, or beautiful" town.--Ed., Tr.

about Nikola of Zaraisk: in 1225 Eustachios, an Orthodox priest, brought in the miracle-working image (icon) of Prelate Nikola (St. Nikolai, St. Nicholas) from the old Greek town of Chersones (today within the city limits of Sebastopol in the Crimea, Ukraine). As the father superior of the church put up and dedicated to St. Nikola, Eustachios started putting down events related to the prelate's life, thus making the beginning of the Tales. This work was carried on by the Father's descendants and followers--Prokopios, Nikita, Vasilisk, Za-

стр. 77

charios, Feodosios, Matthew, Ioann the Clgpaug ("John the Lop-Eared") and Peter. It took them as long as 335 years to complete this opus classicum that Acad. Dmitry Likhachev, an outstanding 20th-century scholar of Slav and Russian letters, described as a signal phenomenon of old Russian literature.

The Nikola (St. Nicholas) Church, where Eustachios and his brethren were officiating, was a wooden affair. In 1681 a new church was raised on its site. Built of brick and crowned by five domes, it was dedicated to the heroes praised in the Tale of the Ravage of Ryazan by Batu-Khan* defending their homeland in 1237 against the Mongolian hordes. In 1987 a memorial plaque was put on the exterior wall of the church, with a passage from the Tales incised on it:

"Oh land of mine, my land! Oh leafy forests! Do weep together with me! How shall I name and describe this day... of anguish and sorrow, a day of bitter tears and sighs, a day of fear and tribulations wrought by the evil ones who are upon us! Woe is me!"

One of the Tales about Nikola of Zaraisk tells about the death of the local prince, Feodor, son of Yuri, executed by Batu-Khan for refusing to give up Eupraxia, his love-

See: O. Bazanova, "Two Capitals of Grand Principality", Science in Russia No. 1, 2010.--Ed.

ly wife. Learning about her husband's death, Eupraxia, together with a small child of hers, flung herself down from her solar. Both died. Eupraxia, her husband and son were buried beside the St. Nicholas Church, with three crosses mounted above the grave (restored in 2002).

The town citadel, the ostrog, was polygonal. Built of earthen ramparts, it stretched for 1.5 km in circumference. That fortress was surrounded by water-filled moats and wooden logs dug into the ground and sharpened above as pikes. It had 12 towers and turrets, five supplied with gates. Old Russia had quite a few forts like that to ward off the enemy. Yet they were an easy prey to fire. Then came changes under the reign of Grand Duke (Prince) Vassily (Basil III) of Muscovy, who held the throne in 1505 to 1533, and who was tireless in fortifying the defenses of his principality. Between 1500 and 1515 he put up a stone strongpoint at Nizhni Novgorod*, and then at Tula (1507-1520), a town south of Moscow and Zaraisk, at Kolomna** nearby ( 1525-1531) and finally at Zaraisk, or at Nikola's of Zaraisk, as the town was also called, after St. Nicholas' shrine.

See: V. Darkevich, "Where Two Great Rivers Meet", Science in Russia No. 2, 1998.--Ed.

** See: O. Bazanova, "Favorite Town of Dmitry Donskoi", Science in Russia No. 4, 2010.--Ed.

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The famous Italian architect Aleviso Friasin (Aloisio da Caresano; between 1494 and 1519 he built the Moscow Kremlin and the Grand Kremlin Palace)* took charge of the Osyotr kremlin and its construction. He placed it within the old wooden ostrog. The stone walls of the new quadrilateral (185x125 m) fortress were faced with white stone on the outside to two-thirds of their height and mounted by semicircular merlons. In the mid-17th century one of the master builders, Boris Augustov, in charge of the renovation work, filled in the spaces in between the merlons, leaving in loop-holes alone, what we can see today.

The Zaraisk kremlin, austere and straightforward in its architecture, catered to the town's defenses exclusively. Its walls, 3 meters thick and 9 meters high, were in the form of an arcade inside and built in two tiers. Three rectagonal towers provided access to the kremlin grounds. Dodecahedronal turrets at the corners served as storerooms for arms and ammunition. AH gates were equipped with suspended iron-bared screens that locked the entrance when down.

The citadel had its baptism of fire in 1533 as a 40-thousand-strong force of the Crimean Tartars besieged

See: T. Geidor, "Masterpieces That Endure", Science in Russia No. 1, 2009.--Ed.

Zaraisk. The townspeople beat off the attack valiantly. Other attacks were repelled, too-in 1541, 1551 and 1570. It was only once that the enemy captured the impregnable citadel, in 1608, at what became known as the Time of Troubles (1605-1613): supporting the self-styled czar, False Demetrius II, a Polish continent led by Colonel Alexander Lisowski seized Zaraisk, defeating the local garrison and detachments of volunteers that rushed in from the towns of Arzamas and Ryazan.

Says the New Chronicler*, "Lisowski smote Muscovites hip and thigh... and he captured many alive, with as many as three hundred men of Arzamas slain in that battle. Lisowski ordered that their bodies should be buried in one pit, and he had a big mound built above to cap his glory; this mound still stands..." Yes, it is still over there. A wooden Annunciation Church was erected in 1614 close by to commemorate the brave warriors, and in 1777 it made room for a stone one.

In 1609 a troop of militiamen under Prokopios Lyapunov expelled the Poles. The next year the Moscow

* This is a 17th century chronicle that gave an official interpretation of Russia's history of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Based on many older chronicles and official sources, it must have been compiled ca. 1630 at the court of Patriarch Filaret, the father of the first Russian czar of the Romanov dynasty, Mikhail Feodorovich.--Ed.

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czar sent in Prince Pozharsky* as the voivode (military governor) of the district. The prince completed the struggle against the local supporters of False Demetrius II and drove out the band of voivode Isaac Sumblov that, entrenched at Zaraisk, made common cause with the enemy. In 1611 Prince Pozharsky, the liberator of Zaraisk, and his druzhina (troop) raised from local folks set out for Moscow within the first home guard to chase the invaders out of the Russian capital. Thereupon the prince captained the second home guard that finished the liberation mission.** In memory of those epic days a monument to Prince Pozharsky was unveiled at Zaraisk in 2003 on the bank of the Osyotr (sculptor, Yuri Ivanov).

In time Zaraisk lost its significance as a stronghold and turned into a brisk industrial town of crafts- and tradesmen at a crossroads from Moscow to Tula and Ryazan. In 1778 Zaraisk got an emblem of its own and a town-building plan that touched off the architectural renovation of the inner town. The old kremlin, no longer a fort, received a St. Trinity Gate in its eastern wall (1789), today the only entrance into the erstwhile forbidden grounds. Side by side with the St. Nicholas, there also stands the St. John the Baptist Church where divine services are officiated. This church was erected in 1901-1904 on wherewithal donated by Alexei Bakhru-shin, a merchant and a native of these parts. As an art

See: L. Lyashenko, "For the Sake of Peace and Accord", Science in Russia No. 2, 2010.--Ed.

** See: A. Bogdanov, "All of Us Should Be in Chime and Union...", Science in Russia No. 6, 2007.--Ed.

patron and collector, he did a remarkable lot for Russian culture--for one, founded the Theater Museum in Moscow now bearing his name.*

In 1918 the Zaraisk kremlin became a national historic museum. Apart from architectural and archeological monuments, it offers specimens of applied, decorative and pictorial arts of the 17th-early 20th centuries wrought in Russia and outside: furniture, porcelain, glass and bronze articles, fabrics, embroidery, lace and clothes manufactured at Ryazan; there are also urban dresses of the 19th and 20th centuries, sculptures, paintings, drawings...

In 1983 the Zaraisk Kremlin Museum opened a section featuring Russian portraiture of the 18th and 19th centuries. Its exhibits include items from the private collection of Prince Alexander Golitsyn, a statesman and art connoisseur, and his descendants. In 1800 Madame Elisabeth Lebrun, a French portrait-painter, happened to see this collection of pictures. She said "had the pleasure of viewing a very good gallery..."

Next to the ancient Zaraisk kremlin are witnesses of prehistoric times dating to the Late Paleolith (Stone Age), i.e. 17 to 23 thousand years ago, and discovered only in 1980. Coming from the oldest human settlement at Muscovy, these artifacts have been listed among historical and cultural monuments of national significance. In 1995 afield party of the Moscow-based RAS Institute of Archeology began comprehensive studies out there under Dr. Chizri Amirkhanov, a Corresponding Mem-

* See: O. Borisova, "Russian Theater's Encyclopedia", Science in Russia No. 5, 2010.--Ed.

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ber of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The collection of finds is fantabulous indeed: hundreds of thousands of tools and other items, skulls, lots of polar fox paws, large bones of mammoths with ornaments, the jaws and tusks of those huge animals used as a building material, and so on.

One pretty precious find: a surprisingly true-to-life bison statuette carved from a mammoth's tusk. Another one made of the same material pictures a classical "Venus". There is also a lovely necklace with a polar fox's teeth instead of beads. Thus far, however, no other material traces of man have been recovered. Why did he leave the encampment? We cannot tell. It was decided to leave all these artifacts as they were, intact, and conserve the site as an openair museum. Fine sterile sand will be used for the purpose. This site is a real archeologist's bonanza: several medieval monuments were likewise unearthed there in 2003.

Zaraisk and its environs are rich in historic sites. Like the village Dedinovo that had a shipyard on one of the banks of the Oka, where Russia's first man-o'-war, the Orel, was built (of a frigate type). Supervising that work were Afanasiy Ordin-Nashchokin, a high-born Russian noble (boyar), and Colonel Kornelius van Bukoven, a Dutch shipbuilder to whose design this vessel was built. Her practical builders were Dutchman Lambert Helt, and Russian masters Jacob Poluektov and Stepan Petrov. The timber was shipped in from Kolomna, and the iron hardware, "the best one for shipbuilding", was brought in from Tula and Kashira.

The Orel was a real beauty: she had two decks, and was about 250 tons burthen per register. As long as 24.5 m, 6.5 m wide, and 1.5 m of draught, this stout warship was armed with 22 harquebuses. The crew comprised 22 sailors and 35 shooters under captain Butler of the Low Countries. Thirty-four statue articles regulated the service aboard, both when at anchor and during fighting. These articles provided a basis for Russia's first marine service regulations.

As the Orel was still in the yard, one began to make pennants and a drapeau tricolore of white, blue and red stripes for her; this flag had an eagle's image embroidered on--the eagle became then our national symbol. A corresponding entry was made in the ledger. That is why Dedinovo is considered the birthplace of Russia's state emblem.

In 1669 the Orel, supported by a yacht equipped with a sloop of war and two boats, set out for Astrakhan to protect our merchant marine in the Caspian. The voyage took three months and a half. During the peasant war of 1670 and 1671 under Stepan Razin the ship was seized by the rebels. According to one version, she was committed to the flames; but according to another one, she was sent to the Kutum, one of the channels in the Volga delta, where, standing idle for quite a while, fell into disrepair.

And now perhaps the most striking place that Zaraisk boasts of--one connected with the great Feodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881). His father, Mikhail Dostoyevsky, employed as a staff apothecary at the St. Maria Hospital for the poor in Moscow, purchased a landed estate at Zaraisk in 1831 with cultivated fields, forests, meadows and an orchard. A hamlet attached to it, Darovoye by name, was also in his ownership. Two years after, he bought a neighboring village, Cheremoshnya. The Dostoyevskies went there for summer several times between 1832 and 1838--to that "small and wondrous place," as the great writer put it.

"Our village was quite pleasant and scenic," the author's junior brother, Andrei, recalled. "A small outbuilding of wattle and daub where we were put up had three small rooms; it stood in a lime grove, rather large and shady. Separated by a small field, this grove passed into a copse of birch-trees, quite dense and somber, amidst the ravine-cut wilderness. This forest was called Brykovo... My brother Fedya [Feodor] came to love this forest very much, and so our family dubbed it 'Fedya's Coppice'..."

Science in Russia, No.3, 2011

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What he saw and lived through out there made an abiding, lifelong impression on Feodor Dostoyevsky. He fell in love with Mother Nature and felt her great esthetic impact on the human soul. Yet these two villages, Darovoye and Cheremoshnya, witnessed a great tragedy. In 1839 his father died suddenly there: by the official version, from a stroke; yet it was rumored he was killed by his serfs. It was a great shock to Feodor Dostoyevsky. Subsequently this drama was pictured in his works, particularly in the novel The Brothers Kara-mazov (1879-1880).

For many years after 1838 the writer did not visit Darovoye, though he thought back to those scenic landscapes for solace and strength. He went there only in 1877, almost forty years after. "...My husband visited all kinds of places..," his wife recalled. "Old men and old women as well as age-mates, who knew him ever since childhood, greeted him gladly, they invited him to their izba homes and treated to tea. The trip to Darovoye called up many fond memories about which my husband told us with great animation..."

The wooden manor is still there. In the 1920s a library was opened there. The Dostoyevsky memorabilia were sent to Moscow, to the wing of the St. Maria Hospital (built by architect Ivan Giliardi to the drawings of

Jiacomo Quarengi in 1803-1805). The present Dostoyevsky museum was opened in 1928. Today this hospital houses the phthisiopulmonological (lung diseases) department of Sechenov Moscow Medical University. In 1955 a Dostoyevsky memory hall was opened at Darovoye where photomaterials sent from Moscow were put on display.

In 1974 the Zaraisk country estate became a federal museum working, since 1990, as part of the Zaraisk Museum of History and Arts. A Dostoyevsky memorial exposition is being held there. Both at Darovoye and at Cheremoshnya there still stand old structures like the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit (1863) as well as the lime alley, orchard and pond, the haunts of the novelist and his family. A Dostoyevsky monument (sculptor, Yuri Ivanov) was unveiled in 1993 next to "Fedya's Coppice" and its age-old oaks, with the words, "TO THE PROPHET, FATHERLAND".


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