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The second chapter moves inland from the White Sea to a historic waterway connecting settlements in the western part of contemporary Vologda Province, beginning with the Vytegra area linking Lake Onega and White Lake. The settlements include some of Russia’s most ancient, such as Belozersk on the southern shore of White Lake near the Sheksna River. In the eighteenth century this network of rivers and lakes was developed into a main water route between St. Petersburg and Moscow. After Belozersk, the route continues to Kirillov, with its monumental St. Kirill-Belozersky Monastery. Nearby is the smaller Ferapontov-Nativity Monastery, with its miraculously preserved early sixteenth-century frescoes by one of medieval Russia’s greatest painters, Dionisy. The chapter concludes with Ustiuzhna on the Mologa River, a tributary of the Volga. This small town has a major landmark in the Church of the Kazan Icon, built by the Stroganovs and containing eighteenth-century frescoes.

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