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Entries / Volga-Baltic Waterway

Volga-Baltic Waterway

Categories / City Topography/Waterways and Currents/Canals

VOLGA-BALTIC WATERWAY, an artificial hydrotechnical structure in the north-west of Russia, linking the basins of the Neva River with those of the Volga and Northern Dvina. Its history dates back to the Mariinsky Water System (called so in honour of Empress Maria Fedorovna), its construction being started out in the late 18th century and 1810 put into operation. The route took off by the village of Rybinsk running across the Sheksna River, White Lake, Kovzha River, Mariinsky Channel, further across the Vyterga River, Onega Lake, Svir River, Ladoga Lake and the Neva River. With a length of approximately 1,100 km it is considered Europe's largest waterway. The Northern Dvina Channel branching off the Sheksna River (opened in 1828) provided an outlet over the Sukhona and Northern Dvina rivers to the White Sea. To secure a safe passage for compact flat-bottomed vessels the Belozersky, Onezhsky, Novoladozhsky canals were later constructed. At the turn of the 20th century the system has not already met the country's needs. A major reconstruction of the Volga-Baltic Waterway started after the Great Patriotic War 1941-45 and was completed in 1964 with minor changes in the route direction. The new system was fitted out with five high-capacity water-systems with seven chamber single-canal locks. The northern part consists of four water-systems: Vytegorsky, Belousovsky, Novikovsky and Pakhomovsky situated on the hoisting from the Onega Lake to the watershed with a height of approximately 80 meters. The fifth, Cherepovetsky hydro-unit is set on the southern slope of the Sheksna River. The depth of Volga-Baltic Waterway is about 4 meters which allows ships with a tonnage of approximately 5 ,000 to pass through. Frieght transport is carried out mainly via self-propelled frieght ships and ships for river-sea navigation which run directly across the lakes instead of along the bypass canals. Volga-Baltic Waterway is used also for passenger communication and tourist river itineraries. Capital bridges were constructed at the intersection of rail and highways.

References: Стромилова Е. Н., Славина И. И., Манкуни Г. Г. Волго-Балт с борта теплохода. Л., 1984.

Y. P. Seliverstov.

Maria Fedorovna, Empress
Maria Fedorovna, Empress