The history of Verkhoturye


On the Siberian tsar’s road, settlements grew and expanded under close attention from the central Moscow state. According to the tsaris edict, 50 coachmen from coastal towns moved to Verkhoturye in 1600. So, the coachmen township, Yamskaya, was formed.
In the middle of the 17th century on the right bank of the Tura-river, opposite the fortress, the Zarechny township was founded, whose settlers were mainly peasants as well as retired streltsy and gunners.
The frontier position of the town, through which goods went both from Russia to Siberia and China and vice versa, required the establishment of a customs court in Verkhoturye. All the traders and passers-by came in person to customs, showed their documents, paid duties and got trading licenses. By tsar’s edict the Customs House of Verkhoturye was granted the exclusive right to subject the property and goods of the Siberian voivodes5 to customs examination and even confiscate them to the treasure.
Gostiny Dvor, already established by 1600, was used as a storehouse for merchant goods; the wholesale trade was carried out here too. In 1б07, alongside Tobolsk and Beryosovy, Verkhoturye was granted the first town seal. This confirmed the important place of Verkhoturye in the customs system of the Moscow state. A sable under a tree was depicted on the seal. Later, letter «B» was added here, referring to the name of the town.
The symbol of the sable revealed the main purpose of Russian expansion in Siberia – furs enriched the state treasury.
The administrative influence of Verkhoturye spread and, as a result, in 1687 an arrow was added to the seal. The arrow reflected the special strategic position of Verkhoturye which lay on the border of European Russia and Siberia.
In 1783 the Tsar approved the coat-of-arms of the dis¬trict town Verkhoturye, of Perm vicegerency (Perm province afterwards). At the top of the heraldic shield there was a governor’s coat-of-arms which represented a silver bear in the red field, with a Gospel in a gold set¬ting placed over it. A silver cross above it meant «firstly -wild manners of the inhabitants, secondly – enlightment through the adoption of Christian law». The sable with the arrow and letter «B» were placed in the silver field at the bottom.
Though nominally the voivodes of Verkhoturye were under those of Tobolsk, the special town position on the border between the central Russia and Siberia led to their taking direct orders from Moscow. The Russian nobility and those from high-born families were appointed the voivodes in Verkhoturye. Sometimes among them were those, related to the Bar”s family, such as Miloslavsky Lopukhin, Naryshkin.
The Moscow government in every way possible encouraged local initiative to organise Orthodox monasteries and temples. In 1604 a religious monk Iova the Gothamite received permission to found St. Nickolas Monastery in Verkhoturye – the first Christian cloister in Zauralye.


Verkhoturye kremlin

Verkhoturye Kremlin

As well as for many other cities, which were the first advanced posts of development of Urals Mountains and Siberia, the wooden fortress served as the beginning of Verhoturye. It was erected on ennobled rocky bank of the river Tura in 1598. On the territory of the fortress there were barns for treasury, House of Commander, court yard, wooden Trinity church, and other administrative and economic constructions.

Up to the end of XVII century the wooden fortress repeatedly suffered from fires and was reconstructed. In 1698 in, as well as in Tobolsk, under Peter I decree the construction of the stone Kremlin began. The territory of the Kremlin was enclosed by fortifications and towers. Inside of the new stone House of Commander, Decrees chambers, barns, guards’ room and cooks’ room were erected. The brightest architectural dominant of Verhoture Kremlin became stone Trinity cathedral constructed on blessing of the Siberian metropolitan Filofey Leschinsky.

Today on the territory of Verhoture Kremlin there are several administrative buildings, which are the monuments of architecture of XVIII – XIX centuries. Among them: the House of Commander, Decrees chambers, barns, district exchequer.

The history of my town

 I begin my story.

Among the Urals historical settlements the town Verkhoturye is district, surrounded by a special halo. A small town became the “gates to Siberia” – a gigantic country added to the State of Moscow.

Artemy Babinov became a pioneer and builder of a new road. The Babinov Road connected Solikamsk with the upper reaches of the river Tura. As a result, the distance between Moscow and Siberia was cut down by 1000 versts.

The construction of Verkhoturye began in spring 1598 by the Tsar’s edict. The fortress was erected by people hired from Cherdyn, the streltsy from a small town Lozva and war prisoners taken under the fall of the Kazan Khanate. Already in August 1598 a messenger arrived in Moscow with a «draught» for the Verkhoturye wooden kremlin and ostrog (stockade). The first fortress or wooden Kremlin was felled on the sheer stone bank of the Tura-river. Here the money, sable and salt treasury, munitions and grain supplies for Siberian towns were kept. The military garrisons were also quar­tered in this place. In the 1600s the youngest sons of the Russian nobility, clergy, townspeople, peasants and streltsy formed a settlement next to the kremlia, The new settlement – «posad» –gradually filled the interfluvial area of the Tura-river and its two tributaries. The fortifications of the kremlin and the posad converged. In the second half of the 17th cen­tury they extended for 640-645 sagenes. The wooden 10-13 sagenes in high towers of ostrog, were linked with wooden walls too, thus making Verkhoturye an impregnable place.