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THE NEVA PROJECT: SITE 3

History of Ust-Izhora

 

The place where the Izhora River flows into the Neva, 34 km. from the Neva Bay, is celebrated in Russian history. On July 15, 1240, a small band of soldiers led by Prince Alexander Yaroslavich of Novgorod fought the Swedish army and prevented them from advancing farther south into the territory of medieval Rus. Contemporary chronicles tell of a “great battle,” in which Alexander’s men, on foot and horseback, stormed and sank three Swedish ships, and Alexander himself wounded Birger, the Swedish commander. Following this victory on the Neva, the prince was renamed Alexander Nevsky. The Russian Orthodox Church eventually canonized him, and he is now the patron saint of St. Petersburg.

 

 

Monument to Alexander Nevsky, Novgorod

 

 

The small settlement of Ust-Izhora (“Mouth of the Izhora”), on the site of Alexander’s battle, was important in the eighteenth century as a shipbuilding center and a waystation. Peter the Great kept a palace here, halfway to Shlisselburg, as a stopping-place on journeys eastward. In 1710 the first saw-mill was constructed on the banks of the Izhora, under the direction of Prince Menshikov, Governor of St. Petersburg. The river was dammed and the Izhora Factory was founded in the summer of 1722, “for the purpose of fashioning all those things that are needed for fortifying and arming ships and other military vessels.” During the reign of Catherine II, a stone church and obelisk, were erected to mark the site of the battle and commemorate Alexander and his army.

Temple of Alexander Nevsky, Ust-Izhora

 

Not far from the factory on the right bank of Izhora the settlement of Kolpino arose. It later became a town and now serves as administrative center of one of the suburban districts of St. Petersburg. At the end of the eighteenth century Kolpino was home to a number of copper, anchor and flatting mills, which could provide all the necessary equipment for seagoing vessels. In 1866 the Izhorsky Factory became the first in Russia to manufacture armor plating, after which the factory came to specialize in ship armor and steel production. After the revolution the factory changed its specialization many times, producing equipment for heavy industry, transport, agriculture, river boats, and energetics. In the 1970s it became one of the primary suppliers of equipment for nuclear plants in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, other former socialist countries and Finland.

Further topics and interdisciplinary essays
Trade and culture

Ust-Izhora geography

Ust-Izhora History
Ust-Izhora Ecology

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