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RUSSIAN CITIES - KOSMODEMYANSK

 

Kosmodemyansk is a local government center of the Gorno-Mari region of the Mari El Republic. It is on the right bank of the Volga. It was founded by Tsar Ivan IV in1552 after his conquest of Kazan. as another of the frontier fortresses to guard against Tatar attacks. The town was named after Saints' Cosmis and Demyan. For many years there was nothing at the location besides a streltzi fortress.As the Volga route was opened a town gradually grew around the fortress. Many famous Russian personages passed this way. But the region remained largely populated by the Mari people. The town had a fair at whiich local craftsmen were noted for production of wooden and wicker ware goods. The town was very active during summer, but winters brought a halt to river traffic. In the 20th century the town gained industrial enterprises and a full range of schools.
A local museum was opened in 1919 which now contains paintings by many Mari and Russian masters. A regional museum to preserve artifacts of the Mari culture was begun in 1979. This open-air Ethnographic opened in 1983. It contains over 60 varied buildings typical of Mari culture. They house over 2000 interesting exhibits of artisan craft and tools. Even the variety of fences around the grounds display typical Mari designs. We show photographs here of some of the buildings in this museum as well as others of 'downtown' Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Local district museum near the Volga River dock in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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American tourist group walking in downtown Kosmodemyansk.

 
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American tourist group entering the extremely interesting museum to Mari culture at Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Buildings at outdoor museum in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Buildings at outdoor museum in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Display of typical Mari clothing at museum in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Display of some of the handicraft machinery for cloth making.

 
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Notice describing Mari society.

 
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Samples of local wicker baskets. Special skill in wicker work is a traditional craft for Kosmodemyansk artisans.

 
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More varied samples of Mari skill in making useful items of wickerwork.

 
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More typical buildings in the outdoor museum - note the wooden swing for children.

 
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Ladies selling locally handbags.

 
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A windmill is an ideal source of power considering the strong winds across the Volga valley. American tourists admiring local handcrafts of which there are far more than can be carried away.

 
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The 'shaduf' is has been a means for raising water since ancient Egyptian times. Note the view over the lower town and across the Volga.

 
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Every town with wooden architecture has its variety of 'gingerbread' decoration for window surrounds.

 
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A typical dwelling in the outdoor museum.

 
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View from the museum across the lower town and its cathedral to the Volga River.

 
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The Cathedral in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Partial view of the iconostasis - interior of the Cathedral in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Museum of local life in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Ruth savoring tea in the museum - the rooms have period furnishings.

 
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View of side of the museum of local life.

 
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Tourist group passing local building in central Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Motorcycles with side cars are very popular in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Remodeled home - note the new rain downspouts.

 
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Local school building in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Display of late medieval arms and armor in the local history and arts museum.

 
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Diorama model of the original fortification of Kosmodemyansk in 17th century.

 
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Display of 17th century arms and armor in history museum in Kosmodemyansk.

 
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Ruth and John (partially hidden by bush) with rather laconic local guide in the Kosmodemyansk history museum.

 
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Display of local arts and crafts in the Kosmodemyansk museum.

 
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Museum diorama depicting a local story of two con-men.

 

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