... In the blue sky, pierced with belltowers,
Copper bell, copper bell,
Will be joyful or will be sore.
Russian cupolas are dressed in pure gold
That the good Lord would notice them more.
Vladimir Vysotsky, The Cupolas
© Ilya Shambat. Translation, (n.d.)
Small historic towns in the European part of Russia form a precious “genetic fund” of the national architecture and town planning. The disasters of our century teach us to treat the experience of previous generations more tolerantly. Our predecessors lived for hundreds and thousands of years, while keeping the balance between City and Nature, between the regularity of the urban development and peculiarities of the local landscape, and between traditions and innovations. Overwhelmed with construction booms, big capital cities have almost completely lost the secrets of balanced architecture, when turning squares into tight crossroads, depriving monuments of necessary environment, losing and forgetting the unhasting wisdom of previous generations. Small towns have maintained the elements of stable attitude towards the development of urban environment. This very attitude is being so persistently sought for by today’s architecture.