Monastery Ponds. A snapshot of a simplistic world.

Monastery Ponds. Novyi Afon Monastery
Taken in 1905, Wooden boat sheds sit on the peaceful Monastery Ponds.

This picture was taken during a period of time in Russia where there were numerous reforms going on socially and economically but you had leadership trying to play both sides of the street since they were trying to remain in power but also wanting to help those as best they can. The thing is this picture helps tell that story as these were built since this area was previously occupied by the Turks who were kicked out of Abkhazia in 1810 which is within Georgia. However, than the Russian Federation annexed the area in 1864 but after a brief Turkish occupation during the Turkish War this place would be built in the 1890s.

Now to me when I think of Russia I think of the cold, the worn out buildings, and the trees being dead and no sign of life but with this colorful image you see the hidden beauty of the trees and the almost peaceful calm in the area that also has vineyards and gardens due to having a supply of water to help maintain and these boat houses were built to house them, obviously, but it was also so they had a place to stop either from another town or when they wanted to go out fishing. But this was taken during the 1905 Revolution as in the book “Russia A History”, “various historical actors had followed a single trajectory even if at times displaying a modicum of coordination”. So with that even though it is a picture of peace the times that was going on where very dangerous and unknown.

So with that the old saying is that is a “picture holds a thousand words” but in the case of Russia there was more going on that could not be seen within this picture and it shows how being out in the far reaches of the Federation you feel the natural environment but it shows how untouched and possibly not getting the information as fast as the main cities are but it also maybe abandoned due to its location and would explain how the peasants and workers might have moved in order to get more money or even try to join the fight for economic equality.

Works Cited:

Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: a History. Oxford University Press, 2009.

4 thoughts on “Monastery Ponds. A snapshot of a simplistic world.

  1. I agree with your first thought of Russia, “the cold, the worn out buildings, and the trees being dead and no sign of life.” However, it is nice to see a different side especially such a surreal scene at this pond. The simplicity of this scene highlights the contrast between the violence that is occurring elsewhere in Russia. What do you think he was thinking when he took this photo? Or why do you think he took this particular photo?

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    1. I think he took this picture to show what the world was like for researchers in the future to look back like us to make our own inferences on what life was like and to show the landscape for those who might not have financial stability and may have to work really hard to make ends meet.

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  2. I’m curious about the monastery! Was it an Orthodox Monastery? It sounds like this region (Abkhazia) was much disputed in the nineteenth century, so I agree that the peaceful vibe of the photograph is at odds with what we know about its context. Alyssa also wrote about a photo taken in Georgia and posed similar questions: https://blogs.lt.vt.edu/alyssadavid3644/2020/01/30/noblewoman-having-a-spa-day-on-the-eve-of-revolution-its-more-likely-than-you-think/#comment-4

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  3. I like this picture a lot because at first glance many may think it’s just a beat-up looking building with no historical value. However, when you really look at the photo you can see how serene of a place this must have been with many stories lost to time. Your explanation of why the building was abandoned was very educational and was intrigued by how easily miscommunication of information could be in a time without electronics.

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