Administrative division

223 settlements

Geographical location

Location: the south-eastern part of the Vologda Oblast

Geographic coordinates: between 59° 00" N and 59° 40" N, between 44° 30" E and 46° 30" E

Border regions: district of Babushkino in the west, district of Kichmengsky Gorodok in the north, and the Kostroma Oblast to the south

Terrain: wavy plain divided by the Northern Ridge into the northern and southern parts. The ridges serve as a watershed of two river basins - the Northern Dvina and the Volga.

Inland waters: numerous rivers (all in all 700) that are used for water supply, fishing and tourism. The Yug is the longest water course known on the territory of the district of Nikolsk.

Plant life: The district of Nikolsk is a vast wooded area with some 87 percent of its total land area covered by coniferous and deciduous forests. The plant life map looks quite mixed.

Fauna: mammals - wild boar, bear, elk, lynx, fox, true otter, marten, wolf, hair, beaver; species of birds - black grouse, wood grouse, hazel grouse; species of fish - pike, bream, eel-pot and others

Transport

Nikolsk is located on the southern bank of the Yug.

Distance from Moscow: 800 km (via Shar'ya), 950 km (via Vologda)

Distance from St.Petersburg: 1200 km

Distance from Vologda: 442 km

Economy

Industry: wood industry, food industry, textile industry, production of flax fibre

In the branch structure of industry, timber industry takes a dominating position.  19 enterprises make up the forest and woodworking industries. They employ nearly one third of all people working in the economic sector of the district.

Agriculture of the District of Nikolsk is represented by enterprises of various organizational and legal forms. By virtue of natural conditions and economic factors, the following branches are developed in the region: flax-growing, dairy farming and cattle-breeding.

Now the main wealth of the district of Nikolsk is wood. This occupies over 87% of the territory. Timber industry has been one of the leading branches of Nikolsk's economy since 1930. At present the town delivers timber to a plywood factory of Cherepovets, to woodworking plants of Vologda and also exports woodworking articles. The town produces raw materials for chemical and optical plants.

As far as other industries are concerned, livestock and dairy farming is highly developed. As far back as 1955 a creamery was built in the town. Its production capacity was 3000 tons annually. In 1990 after the reconstruction works of the butter-dairy had been finished, the industrial capacities came practically to 16000 tons. The staple products of the creamery are in high demand. Casein is exported, dried milk is purveyed to Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Vologda and Kirov. Not once the produce of the Nikolsk creamery got the first prize at the Oblast's competitions (in 1996, 1997, 1999).

The fair and market activity was one of the most important instruments of the town's development.

Attractions and tourism

Nikolsk district is picturesque and fascinating. Those who have visited it will never forget its soaring pine forests with the smell of resin, birch groves with the rustle of foliage and transparent rivers. The forests and rivers of Nikolsk contain an abundance of wildlife. Bears, elks, foxes, lynxes, otters and beavers can be found there.

Through the forests and meadows, the past villages and the town of Nikolsk flows the Yug, the busiest river of the district. Near Veliky Ustyug the Yug interflows the waters of the Sukhona river and together they form the Northern Dvina. Over the past centuries the Yug was the main transportation route to carry freight (mostly bread, flax, tar and resin) to Arkhangelsk. The river was also used for wood floating. Except the Yug and its two branches the rivers of the Volga river basin flow on the territory of Nikolsk.

The monuments of architecture preserved in its original appearance are - the Kazan Church (which remains active now), the Cathedral of Purification (located in the very heart of the town), the building of the former seminary, the house of V.Spirin, a horticulturist.

Protected areas: six natural reserves and a geological preserve with a total area of 25,270 has, a game preserve (20,000 has), fishery zone (156,000 has), hunting ground (307,000 has), cranberry bogs (943 has)

History

Before the Slavs settled along the river banks, the Finno-Ugric tribes inhabited the place. Geographical names testify to this fact. The Slavs cultivated the land, hunted, went fishing and shared their experience with the local residents.

Since the 12th century the district of Nikolsk had been in the possession of Veliky Novgorod. Moscow and Novgorod were constantly fighting for new lands. The border between the Moscow and Novgorod principalities passed through Nikolsk. Only in 1478 Moscow Princes won the lands of Nikolsk.

The unification of the lands initiated by Moscow boosted development of the district.

As history annals say, the settlement of Nikolskoye was mentioned in the documents of the 15th century. It was used as a dock and a staging post to carry freight from the south of the country to Arkhangelsk.

On August 16, 1780 the settlement was given the status of a town by the decree of Empress Catherine II. The blazon of it was endorsed on October, 2, 1781. The upper part of the coat-of-arms depicts the blazon of Vologda, the lower - rye sheaves in the green field symbolizing abundance.

The town did not grow fast enough. In 1796 only 304 residents lived there. In 1847 - 1106 people, in the year 1910 - 2780, and at present its population numbers 9200 inhabitants. The population was mostly engaged in farming, handicraft and trade.

The 19th century saw the opening of small plants and factories: two dyeworks, a creamery, four brickworks and a distillery. In late 19th century the district of Nikolsk had 87 churches, 3 of them were situated in Nikolsk.

The first educational establishment - the seminary - was opened in 1822, in 1837 - a parish school appeared and in 1875 - the first female gymnasia. By the beginning of the 20th century the town boasted six educational institutions, a printing house, a hospital, a post office, a library and an orphanage.

Nikolsk history is also the history of many exceptional people. The novelist P.Zasodimsky spent his childhood there. N.Shelgunov, a democratic publicist and G.Potanin, a traveller, geographer and ethnographer were in exile there.

The scientist Grigory Potanin collected ethnographic material about Nikolsk, its customs and culture. The result of his research was an article "Nikolsk and its residents", a herbarium compiling 238 species of plants growing in the terittory of Nikolsk and a collection of minerals. The residents of the town are proud of the central district library which is named after G.Potanin.

Before the revolution (1917) a Nikolsk-born Vladimir Spirin, a follower of Ivan Michurin, grew fruit trees and bushes. I.Michurin highly appraised the work of his disciple and called V.Spirin "the best gardener in the North".

The locals honour Ivan Konev, Hero of the Soviet Union, Alexander Yashin, the renowned Russian poet and generals Alexander Kudrinsky, Nikolai Laskin, Grigory Leshukov. The traditional Days of Poetry commemorating A.Yashin are held in Nikolsk early in July.

Administrative centre: Nikolsk
Administration: ul. 25 Oktyabrya 3, 161440 Nikolsk, Vologda Oblast, Russia
Head: Vyacheslav Panov. Tel: 8(81754)2-12-34. E-mail: nikolskreg@mail.ru
Population: 20571
Square: 7476,71 km2