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Swept by the waves: The vanishing church at Krokhino

Each year thousands of tourists on cruises between Moscow and St. Petersburg pass by one of the most dramatically visible architectural landmarks in Russia — the semi-submerged Church of the Nativity at the former village of Krokhino. Although originally on the high left bank of the Sheksna River near the town of Kirillov, the Nativity Church was engulfed by the waters of the Sheksna Reservoir, created after World War II by damming the river for a hydroelectric project.          

We are fortunate that the photographer and inventor Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky recorded this monument during an expedition in Summer 1909. At that time, the church stood on solid ground in its small hamlet, untouched by river waves. My photographs of the ruined church were taken from the deck of a river cruiser in August 1991 and July 2007. (Depending on the cruise schedule, the church is not always visible in daylight.)   

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William Brumfield