It was first mentioned in the chronicles in 1137 (according to other sources—in 1138) as the pogost of Todma (Тодма). It was founded by Novgorodians, who used the Sukhona as the main waterway leading to the north and eventually to the White Sea. The name "Totma" is nevertheless of Finno-Ugrian origin, which, together with archeological discoveries, indicates that an earlier settlement on the site of the present town was established by the Merya people. The original pogost was located 16 kilometers (9.9 mi) downstream of the current location, close to the mouth of the Staraya Totma River. In the 13th century, salt production started around Totma and the town was relocated. In 1539, Totma was plundered by Kazan Tatars; a fortress was built after this event. In 1554, monk Feodosy Sumorin founded the Transfiguration Monastery. In the 16th–17th centuries, Totma was one of the most prosperous towns of the Russian North, due to the trade and to the salt production. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Totma was visited several times by Peter the Great, which was rather exceptional given the remote location of the town.
In the 19th century, Totma quickly lost its significance as the foreign trade was rerouted from Arkhangelsk to St. Petersburg and the river transportation was gradually replaced by railways and highways. The railway from Vologda to Arkhangelsk was constructed along the shortest way via Konosha and bypassed Totma, while the old highway from Moscow to Arkhangelsk never ran via Totma. Until the late 1990s, the only road through Totma connected Vologda with Veliky Ustyug via Nikolsk. In the second half of the 19th century, Totma was frequently used as a destination for political exile.
On July 15, 1929, several governorates, including Vologda Governorate, were merged into Northern Krai and the uyezds were abolished. Totma became the administrative center of Totemsky District, which included parts of former Totemsky Uyezd.
The most important industry in Totma is the food industry.
Paved roads connect Totma with Vologda via Kadnikov (southwest), Veliky Ustyug via Nyuksenitsa (northeast), and Nikolsk via Imeni Babushkina (east). Before the road between Totma and Veliky Ustyug along the Sukhona was completed in the first decade of the 2000s, the only connection between the towns was via Nikolsk.
The Sukhona is navigable in Totma; however, there is no passenger navigation.
Culture and recreation
Totma is a historical town which preserved, along with other heritage, several churches which have all similar structure not related to any other region of Russia. A Totma church is a building on which the church proper is based on one side and the bell-tower on the other side so that the construction reminds a ship. This style is sometimes referred to as Totma Baroque.
Totma contains twelve objects classified as cultural and historical heritage by Russian Federal law and additionally seventy-four objects classified as cultural and historical heritage of local importance. The town of Totma is classified as a historical town by the Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation, which implies certain restrictions on construction in the historical center.
The monuments classified as cultural heritage by the federal law are the following:
The Church of the Entry into Jerusalem
The former Spaso-Sumorin Monastery
The complex of the Resurrection Church and the Assumption Church (1744–1755)
The Nativity Church (1746–1748)
The Trinity Church in Zelenskaya Rybatskaya Sloboda (1768–1772)
The complex of the Church of the Entry into Jerusalem and the Church of St. John the Baptist (1738–1740)
The Kholodilov House (middle of 19th century)
The ensemble of Spaso-Sumorin Monastery (1685–1689)
^Правительство Российской Федерации. Федеральный закон №107-ФЗ от 3 июня 2011 г. «Об исчислении времени», в ред. Федерального закона №271-ФЗ от 03 июля 2016 г. «О внесении изменений в Федеральный закон "Об исчислении времени"». Вступил в силу по истечении шестидесяти дней после дня официального опубликования (6 августа 2011 г.). Опубликован: "Российская газета", №120, 6 июня 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Federal Law #107-FZ of June 31, 2011 On Calculating Time, as amended by the Federal Law #271-FZ of July 03, 2016 On Amending Federal Law "On Calculating Time". Effective as of after sixty days following the day of the official publication.).
^Музеи Тотьмы (in Russian). Российская сеть культурного наследия. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
Законодательное Собрание Вологодской области. Закон №371-ОЗ от 4 июня 1999 г. «О вопросах административно-территориального устройства Вологодской области», в ред. Закона №2916-ОЗ от 7 декабря 2012 г. «О внесении изменений в Закон области "О вопросах административно-территориального устройства Вологодской области"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Красный Север", №124–125, 29 июля 1999 г. (Legislative Assembly of Vologda Oblast. Law #371-OZ of June 4, 1999 On the Matters of the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Vologda Oblast, as amended by the Law #2916-OZ of December 7, 2012 On Amending the Oblast Law "On the Matters of the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Vologda Oblast". Effective as of the day of the official publication.).
Правительство Вологодской области. Постановление №178 от 1 марта 2010 г. «Об утверждении реестра административно-территориальных единиц Вологодской области», в ред. Постановления №686 от 25 июня 2012 г. «О внесении изменений в некоторые Постановления Правительства области». Вступил в силу 20 марта 2010 г. Опубликован: "Красный Север", №29, 20 марта 2010 г. (Government of Vologda Oblast. Resolution #178 of March 1, 2010 On Adopting the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units of Vologda Oblast, as amended by the Resolution #686 of June 25, 2012 On Amending Various Resolutions of the Oblast Government. Effective as of March 20, 2010.).
Законодательное Собрание Вологодской области. Закон №1124-ОЗ от 6 декабря 2004 г. «Об установлении границ Тотемского муниципального района, границах и статусе муниципальных образований, входящих в его состав», в ред. Закона №3670-ОЗ от 1 июня 2015 г. «О преобразовании некоторых муниципальных образований Тотемского муниципального района, о внесении изменений в Закон области "Об установлении границ Тотемского муниципального района, границах и статусе муниципальных образований, входящих в его состав" и изменения в Приложение к Закону области "О некоторых вопросах организации и деятельности органов местного самоуправления на территории Вологодской области"». Вступил в силу через 10 дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Красный Север", №242, 11 декабря 2004 г. (Legislative Assembly of Vologda Oblast. Law #1124-OZ of December 6, 2004 On Establishing the Borders of Totemsky Municipal District, on the Borders and Status of the Municipal Formations It Comprises, as amended by the Law #3670-OZ of June 1, 2015 On the Transformation of Several Municipal Formations in Totemsky Municipal District, on Amending the Law of the Oblast "On Establishing the Borders of Totemsky Municipal District, on the Borders and Status of the Municipal Formations It Comprises", and on Amending the Appendix to the Law of the Oblast "On Various Issues of Organization and Functioning of the Local Self-Government on the Territory of Vologda Oblast". Effective as of after 10 days from the day of the official publication.).
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