The Volga is especially loved by our people. Truly Russian natural miracle, the great river - mother, one of the largest on the planet and the largest river in Europe. The name Volga came from the Proto-Slavic Volga - the volga - moisture.
The power and grandeur, the fabulous beauty of the surrounding nature and the richest history glorified the Volga to the whole world. We are used to the fact that the Volga is an immense width and scope. But there is a place in Russia where you can stand with your right foot on one Volga shore, and the left one on the other, and it is at the source of the great river in the Valdai Upland, territorially in the Tver Region near the village of Volgoverkhovye. From a small, wooded swamp near the south-western outskirts of the village flows a small streamlet about half a meter wide. It's hard to believe that the very powerful river that carries its waters to the Caspian Sea starts here. The pilgrimage of those wishing to see the birthplace of one of the greatest rivers in the world is observed all year round. Right above the spring there is a wooden chapel, to which from the arch, symbolizing the entrance to the source, leads a wooden bridge.
The source is a sacred place, there is a special energy here. It is not for nothing that a prosperous Olginsky women's monastery was founded here a century ago. In the Revolution, it was partially destroyed and abolished, however, something has survived to this day. To the left is the Nikolsky Temple and the figure of Nicholas the Wonderworker, and to the right is the red stone Savior-Transfiguration Cathedral. Here, the very first bridge across the Volga is built - an extent of as much as 3 meters.
The stone church on the source of the Volga is still very beautiful. The main throne is the Transfiguration of the Savior, the right side-chapel is dedicated to the holy princess Olga, the left one - to John the Baptist. The main throne was consecrated on April 23, 1920. Five-domed temple was built in pseudo-Russian style. The building project was completed in 1904 by the Tver architect Victor Nazarin. The preserved engraving of the design drawing of the cathedral clearly shows that the stone temple of the source of the Volga repeats the forms of the Moscow Cathedral of the Intercession on Red Square, better known as St. Basil's Cathedral.
There is a ceremony of consecration of the source, so that the river carries holy water across the entire Russian land. Before the revolution, the consecration of water was performed here every year on May 29, but, unfortunately, this tradition was interrupted in the Soviet years. In 1990, the tradition of water education was resumed by the Ostashkov archimandrite Vassian. And on July 5, 1995, the order of the small water consecration was performed by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II who led the celebrations on the occasion of the transfer of the holy relics of the Monk Nil Stolobensky from Znamensky Cathedral Ostashkov to Stolobny Island. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church could not help but visit the source of the Volga.
Poet Nikolai Palkin wrote wonderful lines that convey the atmosphere of this amazing place:
"It's from here, from here,
From the depths of the forest spring,
A blue miracle runs out -
Russian great river.
Easy house, like a girl's light.
Elm, alder, gloomy spruce.
Worth the people!
Here the Volga was born,
Her home and her cradle are here. "
Approximately 250-300 meters from the source are the remains of the first dam on the Volga, which was built of stone during the period of the Olginsky monastery. Here, the Volga does not immediately notice - so well it hides among the trees.
After the first three to a few kilometers of the current, the Volga flows into the flowing lake Malye Verhity, then to the Bolshaya Verkhity Lake. And only 8 km from its beginning, the Volga will flow into Lake Sterzh, and its current will forcefully pass through the waters of the lake, without intermixing with them. The locals say that in the clearest weather, you can see how the waters of the Volga pass through the lake.
Taking into account the uniqueness of the source of the Volga as a natural monument, a reserve was established in its area, which includes protected forests with a total area of more than 4100 hectares.
Thousands of years the great and mighty Volga continues its glorious path. And today invites everyone to an amazing journey through the expanses of Russia, full of unforgettable impressions and meetings with the history of the country and the wonderful Russian nature.