February 11, 2016

2282 RUSSIA (Vologda Oblast) - A log windmill in 1909

A major component of the Volga-Baltic Waterway (formerly called the Mariinsk Canal System), linking Saint Petersburg (therefore the Baltic Sea) with the Volga River basin, is the Sheksna River, which drains the southeastern part of White Lake (Beloe ozero). The original length of the Sheksna was 395km, from White Lake to the Sheksna’s confluence with the Volga at the town of Rybinsk. The Sheksna is now largely hidden by vast reservoirs created in the mid-20th century that submerged the land along the river.

Among the lost villages was Leushino, located below Cherepovets near the present village of Miaksa. This 1909 view of a rye field is centered on a log windmill (for grinding grain). The upper part rotates on a cuboid base to face the wind. Attached to the hub are six wooden blades that could be folded to reduce damage from strong winds. The overcast sky required a longer than normal exposure and restricted the depth of field, resulting in a blurred foreground.

The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.

About the stamps
The two stamps are part of a series dedicated to Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.

Windmill. Russian Empire - World Digital Library

Sender: KatrinFO (postcrossing) RU-4336938
Sent from Moscow (Moscow / Russia), on 30.01.2016
Photo: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii / 1909

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