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In 1693, Tsar Peter I (Peter the Great) arrived in Arkhangelsk, where he founded the Solombala Shipyards. In 1702, Peter made Arkhangelsk the territorial administrative center, and six years later, a provincial city. Peter himself approved the city's coat of arms. In honor of Peter's great contribution to the territory's development, the notable late-19th-century Russian sculptor M.M. Antokolsky raised a life-size bronze sculpture of him near Gostiny Dvor. The Four dates-1693, 1694, 1702, and 1911-are incised on the faces of the five-meter gray granite pedestal. The first three dates refer to the years of Peter's visits to Arkhangelsk and the fourth to the year the monument was created (it was actually unveiled in 1914).

 

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monastery-vi.jpg Founded in 1436, the Solovetsky Monastery was the greatest cultural and religious center of Russia until its very abolition. Antique books were collected here for centuries, and the monastery's library was believed to be one of the best in the world. Its collection of icons, church utensils, and embroidery was also considered priceless. In the middle of the 19th century, it became the place of exile of many notable political and religious figures, but the most tragic events occurred during Soviet times, in the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1921, the monastery was closed and it became one of the most feared concentration camps in the gulag system. During WWII, the gulag was closed and the monastery served as an important naval training school. The Orthodox Church reestablished itself here in late 1980s, and instantly became a place of pilgrimage.
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