The history of the town of Tosno
The building of the Museum of Local History and Tradition
The historic exhibits of the museum
The Makarievsky Monastery and Mar'ino estate
Geology and nature of the Tosno lands

The history of the town of Tosno

Fireplace in the Fireplace hall  Streets of the town of Tosno  Monument on the common grave

The territories of Tosno district were part of Vodskaya pyatina (domain) of the Novgorodian State. Tosno as a tiny settlement (of just two households) is first mentioned in levy books of the 15th-early 16th centuries.

During the Swedish rule when the indigenous population moved far inland, Finnish peasants were resettled to Ingermanlandia (Izhorskaya land) from the northwest of Finland giving birth to Finno-Ugric groups that still reside here.

Rapid development of the area started in the 18th century. A road between St.Peterburg and Moscow passed across the area providing work and support for local peasants. New villages sprang up. The coach service was organized and a post station arranged in Tosno.

By that time the center of the town (between the Smolin stream and Tosno River) took its shape with dwelling houses, shops, inns and the earliest wooden church. The big wooden Temple of Our Lady of Kazan was erected later at the confluence of the Smolin stream and the Tosno.

The construction of the Nikolaevskaya (Oktyabr'skaya) railroad in the 19th century changed the local way of life urging new services to be introduced. Many locals earned their living as carriers delivering timber, coal, ice, raw materials, refuse etc.

During Great Patriotic War the town was occupied by the Germans. There were no army operation in the town and buildings suffered mostly in air attacks.

After the town was liberated, its industries grew fast. It is in 1944 already that a car-repair enterprise and a plant of construction components were founded. In 1963 Tosno, earlier an industrial community, got the status of a town.

The building of the Museum of Local History and Tradition
Interior of a dwelling house of the early 20th century Sculptured lion decorating a porch  Typical building-up in Tosno

The museum collections are displayed in the brick house that once belonged to the Smolins family. The building was chosen to house the museum exhibit for its good proportions and showy look.

The Smolins were natives of Tosno and a rather well-to-do family. As follows from the plan outlined by Lidia Smolina, the last owner of estate, the household consisted of two houses - the front brick and "sleeping" wooden one across the court-yard. A plot of land extended behind the inner house.

One or two-storied wooden buildings with a small vegetable garden behind for one or two families were more common in old Tosno.

In 1950 a monument on the common grave of 1941-1944 opposite the museum building was erected. Later on, in 1970, the eternal flame was ignited in the memory of the Soviet soldiers died in the battle for Tosno liberation.

The historic exhibits of the museum

The history of Tosno is documented by many materials, with a copy of the edict by Peter I on arrangement of coach service and stations signed by Prince Menshikov being among them.

A sculpture of a lion is displayed in the museum. It decorated a porch of the house in the Shapkinsky Park that belonged to Aleksandr Balashov - a dignitary who tried to conduct negotiations on non-aggression with Napoleon on behalf of Emperor Alexander I. A portrait of Balashov is placed in the Gallery of Heroes of the war of 1812 in the Hermitage.

The "Partisans of Tosno" exhibit shows photographs, personalia and letters of E.Komleva and other partisans. Scale models of a training plane and light night bomber made by children under the direction of a war veteran V.Rumyantsev, photographs and personal belongings of pilots defending the skies above Tosno are on display here.

A painting by N.Kryukovskikh shows typical building up of the town. Wooden 1-2-storied houses along the main street of Tosno survived till 1980, giving place to high-rise buildings in the 1980-ies. An exhibit section is devoted to Boris Numerov (1891-1941) - a prominent astronomer, land-surveyor and geophysicist, a creator of various astronomic instruments and means of minerals exploring. His family has lived in the town of Lyuban' not far from Tosno since 1922. In the times of Stalinist repressions Boris Numerov was arrested and executed in 1941. In 1957 he was rehabilitated.

The Makarievsky Monastery and Mar'ino estate
Mar’ino estateMakarievsky Monastery Icon of Rev.Makary Rimlyanin

A separate window-case is dedicated to the history of the Makarievsky (Resurrection) Monastery founded by a miracle man Rev.Makary Lezensky (Makary Rimlyanin) in the 16th century. The mission activities, teaching the sober way of living, monastery services and miracles by Makary made the monastery quite popular among residents of Petersburg province. The icon of Rev. Makary Rimlyanin is displayed in the exhibit.

A watercolor album by Valentin Baltorin recreating views of the Makarievsky Monastery from the postcards donated by locals is exhibited here.

Another painting in the exhibit is a copy of a watercolor by E.Isakov "The Mar'ino estate". He pictured the process of the estate construction in more than 10 watercolors that are now deposited in the State Russian Museum in St.Petersburg.

The estate that belonged to the family of Princes Stroganovs-Golitsyns is located 12 km south of the highway Moscow-St.Petersburg. A big palace with five front porches towers above the bank of the Tosno River. The parish church and family burial-vault were situated nearby. A pond with decorated bridge, greenhouses and vegetable gardens, innumerous household constructions made up the estate structure.

Geology and nature of the Tosno lands

B.Numerov Stuffed she-bear with bear-cubs   Window-case showing minerals of Tosno district

The very environs of Tosno and nearby village of Sablino represent sort of a museum of geology, not to mention the scenic views they provide.

Ancient Palaeozoic rocks (limestone and sandstone) form the waterfalls (3.5 m high) on the Sablinka River. A picturesque steep on the bank of the Tosno River shows rock outcrop. The famous Sablinskiye caves attracting a lot of adventurers can be entered there. The caves are of artificial origin being digged in the 19th century to extract the source material for glass manufacture.

One of the window-cases shows the quartz sand (Middle Cambrian period) from the Sablinskiye caves. Glauconitic limestone from the Tosno River outcrop (Lower Ordovician period) is used for lime and cement production and in covering construction materials manufacture.

Blue montmorillonite-hydromica clays of the Siverskaya suite (Lower Cambrian period) are used in brick and claydite manufacture, as well as in furnace lining and craft art.

The exhibit devoted to the beginnings of life on Earth shows a geological time scale and a spiral of animal world development. Various fossils are presented in a window-case: bioglyphs (prints of worm crawl) in the Lower Cambrian clays, brachiapode valves and trilobite shells in glauconitic limestone of Lower Ordovician period, cephalopoda shells in limestone of Lower and Middle Ordovician periods.

The stuffed she-bear with cubs displayed in the museum hall of nature is very popular among children.