Location: the north-western part of the Vologda Oblast
Border regions: Republic of Karelia in the north, the Arkhangelsk Oblast in the east, the Leningrad Oblast to the west, the districts of Kirillov, Belozersk, Vashki within the Vologda Oblast
Geographic coordinates: between 60 25 N and 61 35 N, between 35 10 E and 38 20 E
Area - comparative: the oblast's biggest district
Geography - note: Volgo-Baltic Waterway that is a unique joint of the basins of the Baltic Sea, the Caspian, the Azov Sea and the Black Sea.
Hydraulic works of the district: 6 sluices, 2 hydroelectric power stations, 23 dikes, spillways, berths
Inland waters: numerous rivers - the Samina, the Megra, the Vytegra, the Andoma (all in all 108) and many lakes (the Onega, Kovzhskoye Lake, Megorskoye Lake, the Tudozero) that are used for water supply, transport communication, fishing and tourism.
Flora and fauna: species of fish - salmon, trout, white-fish, bream, pike perch, perch, pike and others; species of birds - wood grouse, hazel grouse, loom, golden eagle, black grouse; mammals - bear, wolf, fox, elk, wild boar, marten, nutria, lynx, badger and others. The plant life map looks quite mixed.
Lake Onega (9,890 sq km) situated between Lake Ladoga and the White Sea is the largest lake in the District of Vytegra. The second largest lake in Europe, it is 240 km (150 mi) long with a maximum width of 100 km (60 mi) and a maximum depth of 110 m (360 ft). The lake is located on the heavily glaciated Baltic Shield. Its shores are low and sandy in the south, rocky and indented in the north. It is frozen from November to May. The lake receives the Vytegra and the Volga rivers and drains south-west through the Svir River into Lake Ladoga. Parallel to the southern shore of the lake runs the Onega Canal, 72 km (45 mi) long, which joins the Svir and Vytegra rivers and forms part of the Volga-Baltic Waterway.
Some lakes of the District of Vytegra (the Kushtozero, Shimozero, Undozero, Dolgozero) sometimes suddenly disappear together with their fish. It usually happens in winter. In this case the inhabitants of the shores see only a silt bottom and a crater left here and there, through which all the water has gone down. Once in a while (in 2-3 years), the water comes back, very often together with fish. However, some species, such as perch and bream, do not return to these lakes for a long time. The secret of this mystery lies in the nature of Vytegra bowels of the earth. They consist of limestone layers penetrated through with labyrinths of karst cavities, which take in any quantity of water.
Protected areas: the Andoma geological profile exposing Devonian layers on the shore of Lake Onega, natural reserves located near the karstic lakes that disappear from time to time, the karstic lakes, virgin fir-woods, pine forests rich in red bilberries, rock exposure and weathering in the valley of the Tagazhma river and the Patrov brook.
Distance from Vologda: 360 km
In the branch structure of industry, timber industry takes a dominating position. Main produce: sawn wood, round wood, cabinet work, faced board, coniferous concentrated product, prefabricated houses and consumer goods.
As for agroindustrial complex, the most clearly expressed specializations of the district is grain-, potato-growing and cattle-breeding.
Attractions and tourism
Pristine forests, the expanse of still undeveloped fields and green coppices, the networks of rivers and numerous lakes that are rich in fish and game make it possible to turn the district of Vytegra into a centre for tourism.
The Vologda Oblast boasts its own "Switzerland" - the district of Vytegra which connects the Leningrad Oblast with Onega Lake. Vytegra has been known since 1710 as a village of Vyangi at the confluence of the Vytegra and the Vyangi Rivers. In 1773 the settlement was transformed into a town of Vytegra. It is a town in the north-western part of the Vologda Oblast, located along the shores of the Vytegra River on Volgo-Baltic Waterway.
The district of Vytegra is situated in a very picturesque place. The spot affords a breath-taking panorama of the soaring forests, pure rivers and lakes, the expanse of still undeveloped fields and green coppices. Its remoteness from the oblast's industrial centre Cherepovets, the networks of rivers and numerous lakes make it possible to turn the district into a centre for tourism. The pure pleasures of the great outdoors increase the number of visitors. The forests contain an abundance of wilderness, wildlife and spectacular beauty.
Next to Onega Lake there is one of the most interesting places on the planet - Atleka - the place where the basins of the Atlantic ocean, the Arctic ocean and the Caspian sea join together. This spot is accessible only for scientists, geologists and small groups of tourists who dare to carry out independent study.
- Walking tour of Vytegra;
- Tour to the Andoma hill, rest on the Onega shore;
- Visit to the Vytegra museum and its affiliates (museum of nature, museum of local lore, museum of water iteneraries of the North);
- Museum of poet Nikolai Klyuev;
- Unique museum ship - B-440, Soviet Foxtrot (641) - class submarine. The Foxtrot class was the NATO reporting name of a class of diesel-electric patrol submarines that were built in the Soviet Union. The Soviet designation of this class was Project 641. The Foxtrot class was completely obsolete by the time the last submarine was launched. The Russian Navy retired its last Foxtrots between 1995 and 2000. The museum ship in Vytegra was opened on December 10, 2005. Numerous visitors flock to the museum from different parts of Russia and abroad.
Vytegra is called a port of five seas. In the reign of Peter the Great the Mariinskaya water system passed through the territory of the district. Now it boasts the Volgo-Baltic Waterway with six sluices.
In the panorama of its historical centre the dominant feature is presented by the town's oldest building - the Cathedral of the Resurrection (1796-1800). Built in the period of baroque it was characterized by vertically elongated forms. Unfortunately, the posterity could not admire it in all its beauty because the sculptural group got lost and was never returned.
Later the building was turned into the Palace of Culture. To get the structure adjusted to it, the bellfry, drums and domes were disassembled and since then it has no longer been a monument of Russian church architecture.
By the beginning of the 19th century the town had 5 stone mansions that belonged to the merchants. The first dwelling houses made of stone were characterized by an austere and laconic décor. These two-storeyed houses looked alike. The only distinctive trait was an iron-barred balcony. The proprietors of these mansions were K.Galashevsky, Nevezhin, A.Vikulin, Shalapanov and I.Galashevsky. The house of Kozma Galashevsky is easily identified by scale. Little wonder. Being quite active by nature, Kozma owned a linen factory, candleworks and brickworks. He was Vytegra's burgomaster and a member of the Saint Petersburg City Construction Committee.
The Mariinsky Canal began functioning in 1810. It connected St.Petersburg with the central part of Russia. Thus, the role of Vytegra as a staging post gradually diminished. As St.Petersburg developed, the textile mills of Vytegra fell into decay. These changes had an impact on town planning. In the 19th century Vytegra led a quiet life of a provincial town. Since the 1830s timbering and half-timbering have been the most common building style in the town, owing to the high cost of stone. Like other Russian cities and towns Vytegra saw some of its darkest days - it was hit by fire several times. The most part of the town was ruined in 1847.
The second half of the 18th century saw the erection of the Church of the Purification (1869-1873). It was designed by A.Chetvertukhin, a gubernia architect from Olonets. The consecration of it was timed to coincide with 100th anniversary of the town. Its architectural style has a special term in art criticism "Russian-Byzantine" style. Situated on the hilly bank of the Vytegra river, the Church of the Purification dominates the whole town and forms the nucleus of the historical centre. This stately structure attracts the visitor's attention even from a distance.
Since 1918 the Church of the Purification has been home to the Museum of Local Lore. Quite original and distinctive are the collections of early Russian painting and of folk artists. The local traditions of decorative and applied arts have their roots in the hoary past. And the productions of local craftsmen acquired the value of genuine art. Among the exhibits that merit special attention are the icons. Of the earlier works of Russian art to be found in the museum, the icon Trasfiguration is of great interest. As far as the colour range of the icon is concerned, it has something in common with Novgorodian art. At the same time it reveals some points in common with the northern school. The conclusion may be drawn that the icon was painted by a northern master influenced to a certain degree by the Novgorod school of painting.
The museum of local lore also boasts a fine collection of distaffs decorated with fretwork and oil painting, handicrafts made of birch bark and ceramic utensils. All the exhibits are executed with great skill and are unique works of art reflecting the talent of the masters who created them.
In 1886 the Mariinsky Canal was reconstructed. This event led to the rapid development of the town, dwelling construction and brisk trade at the beginning of the 20th century. The houses which appeared at this time are wooden structures embellished with intricate decorative patterns from timber. They belonged to the well-to-do people and testified to their prosperity.
The Chapel that now stands near the Church of the Purification was built on the Besednaya (Conversation) hill at Vytegra in 1881. As history annals say Peter the Great visited the place in passing and talked to the inhabitants of the town about the junction of two rivers - the Kovzha and the Vytegra. And that determined the name of the hill - Besednaya. The building's architecture featured all characteristics of the "Russian style" of the 19th century.
On August 1, 1927, the District of Vytegra with the administrative centre in Vytegra was established as a part of Lodeynoye Pole Okrug of Leningrad Oblast. On September 23, 1937, it was transferred to newly established Vologda Oblast.