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History of Suzdal. XX century.

    A history of Suzdal in XX century is full of as tragic as glad and encouraging events. It seems that history of previous periods was poor and bored in comparison with XX century. But that is not so: analyzing of stories about past of the town from its foundation, it is possible to understand that the majority of names and events were simply lost.
    Events and people of XX century still have been known and that period of history seems to be the most eventful. And it is worth looking at it carefully.

Turn of XX century.

    At the turn of XX century there were not too many stone buildings in Suzdal, which was come by a railway. There were mostly wooden buildings on unpaved streets. Some of those buildings have withstood the ravages of time.
    Almost every family had its own fruit and vegetables garden. The gardens were very important for citizens. They had about 366 arpents and took out about 9900 kg of fresh vegetables for a market every year, not including potatoes and cabbages (from an article of K.Liberovsky Gardening on Suzdal district. At the end of September a fair of Reverend Euphrosyne took place and all products were sold there from animals to fancy goods and icons.
    There were also small private factories and plants in the town, about 36 people worked for them:
weaving factory, lather and bells founding manufactures. A dramatic studio and two football teams also performed in the town.
    There was another group - social-democratic. A.K.Gastev and A.I.Skobennikov were its organizers and members of intelligentsia teachers and a veterinarian took part in it. The small group was closed in 1907 and after a search four its members were sent to Siberia. Others who avoided sending to Siberia, stayed in Suzdal, but stopped their revolutionary activity.
    Visit of emperors family in 1913 became a memorable event for Suzdal history. Tsar Nicolas II with his daughters visited the Convent of the Deposition of the Robe of the Mother of God, the Convent of the Intercession of the Mother of God and the Monastery of our Saviour and St. Euthimius. He gave presents and asked to turn over some valuable icons from monasteries to St.Petersburg Museum of Alexander III making copies of them in advance.

Revolution and Civil War.

    The news about February Revolution of 1917 came to Suzdal late. The meeting of citizens took place in a house of merchant Kashitsin where a town executive committee was elected. Representatives of all parts of town population were in a committee: merchants, craftsmen, teachers, clerks, church people, peasants, militaries. But in two days it was a direction to appoint Shafrov, a former Head of district authority, just dislodged by citizens, on a position of district commissar.
    Information about deposition of Provisional Government reached Suzdal two weeks later and soon an authority moved to Soviets. Bolshevic M.P.Irinin became a chair of district executive committee. On 9(22) of November the first meeting of a Soviet of peasants and soldier's Deputies was held. Mitrophan Dunin became the first district commissar.
    During the Civil War the authority wasnt changed in Suzdal, comparing to other Russian towns. There were changes only inside the town and those changes were strange for one of religious centers. Citizens didnt object to and even supported opening shrine with the relics, impressment of churches and monasteries property, burning of icons. It was continued during next years as well.

1920-1930

    After the end of Civil War, Suzdal was rebuilding and obtaining more comfortable appearance gradually but very slowly.
    In 1923 a Suzdal museum was opened. It placed in Bishops chambers. Foundation and developing of the museum was put on its first Director Vasily Romanovsky. He was succeed in a remarkable manner to gather more than 3,5 thousand items from closed Suzdal monasteries and save them by that. The items he couldnt save that self-sacrificing director measured and listed on his own. During 1920-1930s 14 churches were destroyed and very often saved churches stayed without any fences and warm aisles, laid up for bricks.
    In 1930 on request of Romanovsky a young professional, Alexey Varganov, a Leningrad superior art courses graduate was sent to Suzdal. He became the most outstanding character in saving and reconstructing of town monuments.
    In the meantime Suzdal churches and monasteries were used by new owners for their needs. A prison for political offenders was opened in the Monastery of our Saviour and St. Euthimius. A secret biochemical laboratory was placed in the Convent of the Intercession of the Mother of God. An electricity generating plant was in the Convent of the Deposition of the Robe of the Mother of God. At the same time more peaceful organizations were opened technical school of agricultural industry mechanization and art-renovation school.

Great Patriotic War

    In advance of the war with Germany, some changes happened in the Monastery of our Saviour and St. Euthimius. A prison for political offenders moved away and intern Czechs located there. They had crossed a border and prepared for a war in favor of Soviet Union.
    912 citizens went to the war from Suzdal, 466 of them didnt come back.
    Battle actions didnt reach the town, but influenced on it. 315 kg of bronze were confiscated for a defense fund. At the beginning of 1942 students of a military road school of NKVD located in bishops chambers.
    Saving museums values from unconscientious soldiers of Red Army was as difficult as dangerous deal.
A concentration camp was opened again in the Monastery of our Saviour and St. Euthimius the Bastille of Suzdal. It was opened again for USSA nationals for former war prisoners that time. Since 1943 it was a prison for German captive officers. There was a field marshal Friedrich Paulus among them who fell prisoner near Stalingrad and left memoirs about Suzdal after coming back to Germany.
    After a hard war period bishops chambers were given back to museum. Suzdal monuments and museum personnel attracted attention of eminent people academician P.L.Kapitsa, architects B.M.Iofan and N.I.Brunov. It is known open letter of Kapitsa to Malenkov. a Central Committee Secretary about a value of Vladimir area monuments. But despite of soviet scientists support, Suzdal museums personnel should fight for the town by themselves.

10 post war years.

    The end of the war, giving some relief to people, didnt bring expected improving for historical monuments. In most of the cathedrals there were domestic offices garages, smithy, warehouses etc. Varganov wrote a lot of letters to authority with desires to oblige renters to keep buildings in a good form but without any results. Furthermore empty cathedrals were destroyed much faster.
    At last research work in bishops chambers started slowly, with great difficulty.
    After finishing of restoration at the turn of 1940-1950s a reconstruction of other Suadal monuments began, first of all the cathedral of the Nativity in the Kremlin.
    The reconstruction of monuments often followed by their handover for domestic needs again.
    Nevertheless efforts of Varganov and his colleagues brought measurable results: in 1958 two local history museums of Vladimir and Suzdal were united into Vladimir-Suzdal State museum-reserve. Suzdal started attracting much more tourists, a group of guides appeared. In 1956 a bus route Vladimir-Suzdal was opened.

1960-1980s. Museum-town.

    In 1961-1963 a new road to Suzdal was built instead of old one, rock paved, winding between surrounding villages. It made easier a way from Vladimir for both tourists and citizens.
    Long-expected time of restoration of the main, the most ancient and interesting monuments started.
In the 1960s the church of St. Boris and St. Gleb, St. Nicholas church in Posad, the Convent of the Intercession of the Mother of God, the Cathedral of the Deposition of the Robe of the Mother of God were rebuilt. Magnificent double-headed holy gates of the Convent of the Deposition of the Robe of the Mother of God and the main cathedral - the cathedral of the Nativity were reconstructed in original appearance.
    A bit later a reconstruction of bishops chambers started which became a life work of A.D.Varganov.
    In the middle of the 1960s interest in old time raised an inrush of tourists to old Russian towns. Most of them were foreign tourists. A famous banker baron Rothschild said after his visit to Suzdal: Im a rich person, but if I got Suzdal for some years, I would double my capital. After his words the program of developing of a touristic center in the town was accepted.
    The program had a lot of disadvantages; funds, staff and energy were limited, but anyway Suzdal became coming to life. Amount of tourists rose every year: in 1967 the town was visited by 366 thousand guests, but in two years there were more then 700 thousand.
    It was planned to accommodate a tourist camp (hostel) of All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions (VTsSPS) in Monastery of our Saviour and St. Euthimius. It had been a colony before 1967, which was moved quickly to another place and instaurators became to work there. Sudden speechification of museum director A.I.Aksenova helped to prevent placing a hostel in the historical and architectural monument. After that the monastery was handed to the museum completely. Touristic camp was placed in the surrounding and it wasnt seen from a distance.
    Those years Suzdal became one of film centres. Townscapes you can see in famous films such as A marriage of Balzaminov, Andrew Rublev, Snowstorm, Youth of Peter I and others.