Institute for Sustainable Innovation

Tolga - Genius Loci

Natural and cultural complexes having a well-known name and spiritual significance play a significant role in achieving sustainable development of the territories. This factor is the dominant of the project "Natural Monuments of Special Spiritual Importance - the Basis for Sustainable Development of Countries and Peoples" (on the example of the cedar grove of Tolga Convent) implemented by the Institute “Cadaster.”

Emphasizing the universal significance of this project, it should be noted that the image of the cedar grove is inextricably linked with the history of the Tolga Convent (the Tolga Convent of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary) that attracted people over the centuries and influenced the spiritual life of the Orthodox world. The image brings the legend. The significant appearance of the Tolga Convent in the difficult time for Rus was preceded by the radiant phenomenon of the icon of Our Lady on the Tolga River. A special purpose - to symbolize the unity of Nature and Spirit, the uniqueness of this place - was also meant for Tolga cedar grove. The oldest surviving convent parks of the Russian North, which has a huge sacral value. A noteworthy fact: the complex of the cedar grove of the Tolga Convent was visited at various times by the Emperor Nicholas II and all the presidents of Russia.

It is known that the course of events after 1917 dramatically influenced the fate of the Tolga Convent. And by 1970, when the first restorers came to the Convent, only partially preserved walls reminded the majestic temple ensemble. In November 1987 Tolga Convent was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church. The first convent in the modern Russia was established here, and today it is among the best in the country in terms of its state. Miraculously preserved in the Soviet era, the ancient man-made complex of the cedar grove, which was also irreparably damaged, now requires special care.

Starting the large-scale project «Natural Monuments of Special Spiritual Importance - the Basis for Sustainable Development of Countries and Peoples", experts of the Scientific-Production Enterprise "Cadastre" realized their responsibility for taking care of the holy place of national importance. The emphasis of the project was on the synthesis of historical and cultural, natural-science and engineering approaches in accordance with the accepted methodology for designing the development of specially protected areas of special historical significance. Analytical conclusions and proposals in the project are formulated on the basis of field research and observations, the study of library and archival materials, the results of previously completed design projects, expert assessments. Visualization of the results obtained was carried out with modern and historical photographs, graphic images and diagrams.

Undoubtedly, the specialists of “Cadastre” took into account the fact that the return of the Convent to its historical role must ensure the revival of the former glory of the cedar grove as a spiritual and ecological sign of Orthodox Russia and the basis for a new socio-cultural focus of environmental activities in the region. For cedar was and remains a symbol of the unity and harmony of human with nature.

Thus, during the development of this project, it was proposed to legislate for the cedar grove the status of a "specially protected area of special spiritual significance ", which extends not only within the Yaroslavl region, but throughout the Orthodox world. The Regulations on the natural monument "Cedar Grove of Tolga Convent as a specially protected area of special spiritual significance" was prepared. The designers proposed to harmonize the mutual development of the landscape and the Convent, "turning" the territory toward a reviving spiritual center. Particular attention was paid to identifying the main visual dominants, preserving the beauty of the Convent complex as the basis for place development. Thus, the problem of identifying "key" microzones as nature conservation areas and giving them a legislative status was solved.

Detailed list of measures to preserve the natural monument of regional importance "Cedar Grove of Tolga Convent"

1. Research, survey and design work:

- hydrological survey (collection and generalization of the existing geological and hydrogeological documented information on the location of the Convent, detailed hydrogeological research on the territory of the natural monument, monitoring the dynamics of groundwater level over the year, development of a mathematical model for the groundwater occurrence);

- soil exploration;

- comparative analysis of the features of the growth and development of trees in the cedar grove and in Siberia;

- preparation of a comprehensive landscape plan, with the definition and justification of the boundaries of the buffer zones of the natural monument;

- monitoring of the state of the natural monument, including its natural complexes in general, the state of each Siberian cedar, the spread of pathogens on the territory of the cedar grove, as well as developing and maintaining a database containing the results of the monitoring of the state of the natural monument;

- carrying out works to support the image of the natural monument as a unique object - the ecological symbol of the Yaroslavl region, including the preparation and publication of a booklet on the cedar grove, search for grants to study Tolga cedars and creation of nursery "Tolga cedar".

2. Major measures:

- restoration of ponds, design and construction of polder system that ensures preferable level of filling of ponds in spring and drainage in summer, restoration of cedar nursery within the territory of the Convent.

3. Ongoing technical measures on the territory maintenance:

- carrying out regular work to prevent the spread of pathogens, felling trees and shrubs of unwanted species, windfall cleaning, uprooting, gathering of fungi and infected wood, sanitary felling of tree plantations and bushes, grass mowing.

An important conclusion made by the project developers: for creation of the modern image of the country's unity between of the Siberian cedar-givers and Yaroslavl tradition-keepers, it is important along with Tolga cedar grove to support young cedar grove in Nicholo-Solbinsky convent. It was designed in 2003 as part of the public initiative and began its history on September 11, 2003 thanks to the middle school students in Porosinsk, Tomsk region, with the support of the Yaroslavl eparchy, Yaroslavl Region Government, Department of Environmental Management and Natural Resources Conservation of the Yaroslavl region and specialists of "Cadastre".

This project helps to promote different methods and forms of the work on the revival of objects having special spiritual significance, along with anthropological-natural systems in Russia and abroad.

STC "Resources and Consulting" 2023   |