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Mologa was a small town in the Yaroslavl Oblast of Russia. Nicknamed "Russian Atlantis" it sank underneath waters of the Rybinsk Reservoir in 1941.




Location: Yaroslavl Oblast  Map





Description of Mologa

MologaMologa was a historic medieval town that existed at least since 12th century. In 1321 it became the center of independent principality after the death of Yaroslavl Prince David. His oldest son, Vasily, kept a throne in a capital, while his younger son Michael started to rule in Mologa. Michael brought an icon of Tichvin Icon of Holy Mother and presented it to Afanasyevsky Convent (pictured on the left) that once stood here. A strong fortress was erected to protected citizens of Mologa. However Ivan III Tsar of Muscovy annexed the city and its surrounding lands. Its rulers Princes Prozorovsky and Shakhovskoy moved to Moscow. The town itself became an important trade center the confluence of Mologa river and Volga river. It was famous for its trade fairs or yarmarka (ярмарка) that was held here annually.


The Russian Revolution passed Mologa without much trouble. People were self- reliant and independent from the centre. However all that changed when Soviet Union decided to construct a hydro electric plant near Rybinsk on 14th September, 1935. Initially the plan was to raise the water level by 98 meters, however later calculations increased this level to 102 meters that was supposed to increase productivity of hydro plant by 30%. Area of the Rybinsk artificial lake increased almost twice. This spelled the doom for the Mologa and villages around the town.


Sinking began on April 14th 1937 and reached its maximum point four years later. Over 130,000 were forced to abandoned their homes in Mologa and surrounding lands. Over 4600 sq km of dry land was submerged including 700 villages, 140 churches and 3 monasteries. Few wooden houses were moved to higher grounds, however most of private buildings, churches, schools and many other were partly destroyed and eventually submerged.


MologaMany people went to the cemetery, undug coffins of their ancestors and carried them to the higher grounds along with their families and few possessions that could carry away. Not everyone agreed leave their home town, however. Some 294 of its residents chained themselves to the buildings and drowned when the level of the reservoir raised. Many of the pictures below were made in the late 30's just few years before the life in Mologa stopped and it disappeared below the waves of the man made lake. Even today 70 years later the pain of relocation haven't subsided. Those who were born and raised here come with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to this spot to commemorate the memory of a life long gone.


The memory of Mologa did not disappear completely. During hot summers when the level of the water have subsided many of its former citizens came here to search for their homes and tombs of the loved ones. Many even planted trees in hopes that the water will never return and life in Mologa will resume again. Today many people take diving trips to the bottom of the lake and explore remains of the former beautiful town, its churches and monasteries. Some of the artefacts discovered at the bottom of the Rybinsk Reservoir are kept in the museum in the town of Rybinsk. April 14th is celebrated as a Day of Mologa. Many priests and monks come here on boats and serve a divine service in front of the remains of the church that is still visible picking out of water.


Mologa                            Mologa

Afanasyevsky Convent          Bogoyavlensky Cathedral

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Mologa  Mologa  Mologa Mologa  Mologa  Mologa

Mologa  Mologa  Mologa  Mologa  Mologa  Mologa  Mologa











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