Earth Wall of Belozersk
Belozersk is one of the most ancient cities of the Russian North. It’s located in Vologda Oblast on the southern coast of the White lake, 214 kilometers to northwest from the city of Vologda.
The City of Beloozero (lit. White Lake Town) was first chronicled in 962. This place is connected with legendary Rurik and his brother Sineus. In the XIII century Beloozero became an independent princedom. The convenient geographical position turned the city into one of the major trading – craft centers in the north of Russia. The look of the city has been formed for centuries. Each epoch has left its own unique trace.
One of heroic pages in the history of the White lake region is its participation in the battle of Kulikovo (1380). Soon after that the Princedom of Belozersk joined Moscow.
Beloozero becomes very important both as a commercial center and an advanced post of all Russian lands in the northeast. Ivan III contributed a lot to the fortification of the city of Beloozero – one of the northern advanced posts of Moscow. According to the Grand duke’s order a big earth wall (vallum) was made here in 1487 («rublena syp’»). It was 550 sazhens long and up to 30 m high. In front of it they dug out a ditch as deep as 3, 5 sazhens and filled it with water. At the top of the wall they put a wooden fencing which was two sazhens in height and had also 8 towers. The towers were tetrahedral, covered with boards, and besides the two gate-towers had three tiers, and the rest, blind towers had only two. Over the ditch there were wooden bridges leading to the towers.
The foundation of the wall is made up as a system of log cages. These cages, resistible to destruction in sandy ground, have come down to us with minimal sinking of the foundation that is visible only in the three places of late breaks. At that period the Wall was a strong fortification. During the Time of Troubles in the fortress they managed to save both state and personal treasury. The Wall of Belozersk is a unique defense construction, a pearl of architecture.
Today the earth banks have lowed a little: the height of the Wall is about 15 meters, and difference of height from its top down to the bottom of the ditch is more than 20 meters. The slopes of the Wall are very steep, and they can hardly be climbed at any place, while the top is completely flat. The Wall forms an almost perfect circle, broken in two places.
It is possible to come up onto the Wall over the three-span bridge. The bridge was constructed in the XVIII century, and presently two small wooden turrets have appeared.
The Earth Wall of Belozersk has witnessed the history through five centuries, and today it strikes our imagination and evokes pride and respect for people who have created it. We are struck by our ancestors’ mastery, keenness of wit and hard labour which they put into the construction of the wall. It belongs to the number of the best survived monument in the country.