The lost Russian city of Mologa rises from underneath the Rybinsk Reservoir


Located at the convergence of the Volga River and its tributary, the iconic city of Mologa existed as far back as the 12th century. However in 1935, Stalin ordered the evacuation of the historic Russian trading post for the construction of the enormous Rybinsk Reservoir and the corresponding hydroelectric power plant.

Nearly 150,000 people were uprooted from Mologa and 663 neighboring villages, and were forced to move elsewhere. Of these, some 294 inhabitants refused to relocate and were left to be drowned when the site was flooded in April, 1941. Since then, this episode in history, marked by its blatant dismissal of the interests of common people, has been increasingly regarded as typical of Stalinism. Today, April 14 is observed as the Day of Mologa, with priests and former citizens sailing to the area every  year and offering their prayers.


After this year’s unusually dry winter and terribly hot summer, the water level of the artificial lake has dropped to a record low of 63m 70cm, leading to the emergence of lost city of Mologa. Battered remnants of some of the previously existing buildings have arisen, as if from the dead.

Parts of the drowned Cathedral of the Epiphany and the adjacent streets are now the sole reminders of the once-thriving  Mologa and its people. Nikolai Novotelnov, an inhabitant who had lost his house when he was a teenager of 17, is so far the only one to have come back to visit his erstwhile hometown.

In an interview with TV reporters, Nikolai talks about the then Mologa, as he remembers it:

Here was the inn, over there was the Voikov school and the flour store. Communist Street ran that way, towards the district administration building, the chemists, and my house.


Via: BBC News

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