In 1430, in the lands of the ancient, almost epic country of Bjarmaland (a civilization centered around Perm and the shores of the river Dvina and the White Sea), which for a millennium had traded with Persia and Khoresm (present day Central Asia), the Russian salt industry appeared along the Kama river.
Over time, the town founded there – Solikamsk (which means, literally, “salt of the Kama river”) – gained the name “salt capital” and developed into one of the most beautiful of Russian towns. In the 17th century, local craftsmen built stone churches without equal in the richness of their decor. The intricate carvings of their porticoes and moldings were a joyful, resounding embodiment of the Russian Soul. In fact, for someone interested in comprehending this mys- terious essence, the churches and palaces of Solikamsk offer no less enlightenment than the famous Rostov kremlin or the wooden splendors of Kizhi.
Thankfully, the city’s most valuable historic monuments survived the ravages of the Soviet era. But the fairytale town itself has practically disappeared, the center having been built over with scruffy five-story apartment blocks.
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