Tot'ma is the first Russian town to enter the Association of Most Beautiful Russian Villages and Towns.
Tot'ma (Vologda Region) will be the first Russian town to enter the most beautiful village and town destinations across Russia.
Tot'ma was first described by a chronicler in the 12th century, but the exact date of its foundation is unknown. It is situated in the Vologda Region.
Houses of baroque and classical period constitute a notable part in the town's architectural legacy. The town abounds with buildings of civic and ecclesiastic use which were designed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Dwelling houses of baroque and classical period design alternate with buildings of religious purpose: the Spaso-Sumorin Monastery complex (end of the 18th century - 1880), the Church of the Assumption (1775, 1800-1808), the Church of the Entry into Jerusalem (1774-1794), the Church of the Nativity of Christ (1745-1748, 1786-1793), the Cathedral of the Epiphany (1863-1872) and the Church of the Trinity (1768-1722, 1780-1788). The Church of the Trinity and the Church of the Nativity of Christ remain active. Their architectural unity remains intact, since the successive architects were faithful to the original plans.
The churches of Tot'ma merit special attention. Their distinctive traits lie in the elegance of the external décor, novelty, elongated forms and majesty. The churches are brick structures embellished with intricate decorative pattern. Their décor features an original element that does not occur in any other Russian church - cartouches. The cartouche is a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription. The names of Egyptian Royalty were contained in an elongated oval called a cartouche. In the 18th century the cartouche was used a great deal in decoration of various kinds of furniture and the interior in France and later in Italy. But in Tot'ma handmade cartouche ornamentation was used to decorate the exterior of churches and temples.
The town has several museums, including the Museum of Local Lore, Kuskov Memorial Flat, Museum of the Russian Church Antiques, Museum of Russian Seafaring, Open Storage of Funds, Rubtsov Memorial Museum, Museum "Tsareva", and many historical monuments.
This year, the town has been named Russia’s most beautiful town. The official ceremony will take place on August 11th, on the day when the town was founded.
"The Most Beautiful Villages and Towns" is an international tourist brand that first appeared in France in 1982, later developing into an international federation as "The Most Beautiful Villages of the Earth," including about 20 national associations. The Russian Association was established in 2014.