Title of the article:



Mikhail V. Stroganov

Information about the author/authors

Mikhail V. Stroganov — DSc in Philology, Professor, Leading Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya St. 25, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7618-7436
E-mail: mvstroganov@gmail.com


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 67


pp. 95–111


February 07, 2022

Approved after reviewing

August 03, 2022

Date of publication

March 29, 2023



Index UDK


Index BBK



The city is a natural expression of human civilization, and it is the only place where the formation of man could have begun. The temple was the city`s heart, it was there that the deified fire and, consequently, life itself was kept alive. There are two versions of the temple-city: the immaculate virgin-city (Jerusalem) and the sinful harlot-city (Babylon), and respectively two versions of their destiny: Kitezh or Atlantis. The space of the Tver region, including the cities whose destiny is connected with water, is constantly being mythologized. In legends like that of the invisible city of Kitezh they tell about churches or villages that went under water, not specifying the causes of these phenomena, or stressing out that these catastrophes came to be a punishment for unnamed sins. According to a legend of the early 2000s Kitezh-grad (the Kitezh-city, now no longer having anything in common with the virgin-city) was located exactly in the Tver region, on the bank of the Mologa river in the Maksatikhinsky district. However, by now, after the death of its author, this legend has ceased to be relevant and is found only in the documents of the 2000s. In contrast with the Tver Kitezh, the phrase the Tver Atlantis has recently become more and more stable in the Tver region as a tourist brand. This concept is applied to the cities that were flooded during the construction of hydroelectric power stations on the Volga river: Korcheva, Kalyazin, the bell tower of which spawned a number of legends, and Vesyegonsk. The Tver “Atlantis” was no harlot, and died not for its sins, but on the orders of the Soviet government. Therefore, the national consciousness confers to the submerged places the qualities of sanctity and purity. The Tver Kitezh is not the virgin-Kitezh, and it perishes for its sins, while the Tver Atlantis is not the harlot-Atlantis, and the stories of the flooded cities contain no hints of their sinfulness; on the contrary, emphasis is made on their holiness and righteousness. We cannot say that invariant mythological models have been forgotten, but they are working in the opposite direction. This change can be explained by the fact that the relocation of residents and the flooding of cities did not take place “by God’s will”, but on the decision of the worldly authority, and that their residents did not view those facts as a punishment for their sins. The way of thinking remains mythological, even though people are not aware of the fact.


City, Mythology, Legend, Kitezh, Atlantis.


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