An old house in the small town in Solovki was originally built to house prisoners in the 1920s and 1930s.
But the Volga is more than a river. It is an elaborate system of lakes, locks and manmade canals that links Russia’s two most famous cities. This network also reaches far to the north into the White Sea. For centuries, it was the shortest route to Europe and it became Russia’s main center of trade and defense.
The Solovetsky Islands, less than 100 miles from the Arctic Circle, have become a popular destination. Their history is dramatic — and that drama is still being played out.
For Russian tourists, the trip north to Solovki, as the islands are known, is worth the voyage. These remote islands sum up their country’s greatest achievements and its greatest tragedy.
Father Porfiry is abbot of the newly restored Solovetsky Monastery.
“For 500 years, this place reflected the genius and power of God. The Communist revolution was the story of a great fall. Now we have overcome all that and see the restoration of Russia and its spiritual life,” he says.
- “Ugol” Meaning “Angle” – The Volga bends here – Uglich, Central Russia, Russia (travelpod.com)
- You: Scholar sees Russian-held isles slipping away (search.japantimes.co.jp)
- U.S. backs Japan over isle dispute with Russia (search.japantimes.co.jp)
DATE WITH HISTORY – Hiroshima – reel 1 & 2 – British Pathe. Call to Enola Gay and B29 bomber flying overhead.1945
From an ornate balcony above a ballroom on the East Side of Manhattan, a nine-piece string ensemble played a sprightly number Wednesday evening for the benefit of several dozen people who stood below. None had heard the two-minute piece before. How could they have? “Tommy Polka,” as it was called, had not been played in public for 150 years.
Collection of Tom Burnett
But in 1860 New York it was at the top of the charts, or whatever passed for the charts back then.
Tommy was a visiting Japanese samurai, Tateishi Onojiro. The name was an awfully big mouthful for the locals. In short order, it morphed into Tommy. All of 17 years old, he was the youngest of 76 samurai who, swords and all, toured the United States in 1860 on Japan’s first diplomatic venture beyond its shores after more than two centuries of near-total isolation.