The small town of KimryRussian: Кимры is located 160 km from Moscow in the Tver RegionRussian: Tverskaya Oblast on the bank of the VolgaRussian: Волга River. The first mention of the settlement dates back to the time of Ivan the Terribleruled from 1533 to 1584. Tourists are attracted to this city mainly due to the diversity of its architecture. In total, Kimry has over 100 architectural landmarks, among which the wooden architecture in the Art Nouveau style is the most popular.
Kimry holds the unofficial title of the capital of wooden Art Nouveau. Why Kimry? Its concentration of Art Nouveau landmarks may be due to the fact that in 1859, most of the village was destroyed in a fire. Importantly, in the 18-19th centuries, Kimry was an extremely prosperous village, a major centre of shoe manufacturing and trade. Its craftsmen were suppliers of footwear for state needs, including the large Russian army. Hence, considerable financial resources were available for construction. When commissioned to build new houses by wealthy local people, architects, to their credit, were guided by the contemporary style of eclecticism. As the Art Nouveau was the most popular architectural style in Moscow at the turn of the 20th century, this featured predominantly in the new constructions.
Art Nouveau is characterised by the rejection of straight lines and angles; the style gravitates to nature, generously using floral designs and animalistic motives. Art Nouveau is very decorative and detailed. Each Art Nouveau building is a unique example of channelling the building exterior and interior to one common idea. Everything from the house facade to the cutlery within it could have been designed by one person. The new style spread quickly throughout Europe. In France it is known as Àrt Nouveau (‘new art’), in Austria it was called Secessionsstil (‘Secession style’), and in Germany – Jugendstil (‘young style’). Russia was not far behind Europe and quickly began to accept Art Nouveau, as evidenced by numerous buildings built in this style in different cities around the country.
A good way to explore the town’s major attractions is to walk from SavelovoRussian: Савелово station towards the embankment along Tupoleva StreetRussian: ulitsa Tupoleva or улица Туполева and then along KommunisticheskayaRussian: Коммунистическая Street. On your way, you will see a TU-124 airplane, the symbol of the local engineering plant. Once on Tupoleva Street, you can catch any bus going to the town centre.
The highest concentration of architectural landmarks is found on three streets: KirovaRussian: Кирова Street, LeninaRussian: Ленина Street, and UritskogoRussian: Урицкого Street. It will take you about two hours to see everything at a leisurely pace. If you get off the bus on Kirova Street, near the bus stop you will see a small wooden house painted yellow (28 b, Kirova str.). This house was built at the turn of the 20th century and was owned by the Luzhin merchants. The unusual facade of the building with its round window openings and a turret as well as its unique wood pattern really makes this house stand out. Just opposite is the trading family Serepiev’s house (23, Kirova str.), built in the style of a Russian teremthe upper storey of a house or castle, often with a pitched roof with a bay window transforming into a turret. In contrast to the former Luzhins’ house, it is much more sombre in its colour scheme.
You can now proceed along Lenina street. At number 15, there is an very old, gigantic two-storey house. The outside is not painted and it is made of dark brown wood. This monochrome colouring makes the wood pattern appear quite gloomy and mysterious. Another example of wooden architecture worth seeing due to its lavishly carved ornament on the facade is located at the intersection of Lenina and LunacharskogoRussian: Луначарского streets.
The Saviour-Transfiguration CathedralRussian: Spaso-Preobrazhensky sobor, or Спасо–Преображенский собор, built and consecrated in 1911, is situated at 65 Uritskogo Street. The cathedral was closed down in 1929 along with the overwhelming majority of other churches across the country. It was reopened after World War II in 1947. Further along the street, you will see many more interesting mansions.
For example, where Teatralnaya SquareRussian: Teatralnaya ploschad' or Театральная площадь now stands used to be Sobornaya SquareRussian: Sobornaya ploschad' or Соборная площадь with its Gostiny DvorRussian: Гостиный двор , of which only the original facade remains.
A number of buildings which were part of the merchants’ building development at the turn of the 20th century have lost their initial function and are now used as shopping centres. You can discover what the town of Kimry used to look like in the local history museum at 13/8 Kirova street. One of its most interesting displays is a collection of 18-20th century shoes. In 2014, a monument to a shoemaker was erected in front of the Town Hall, as this is the most long-established and important trade of the town.
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