The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire


A district capital with 2,500 inhabitants. 

That is all that Baedeker has to say of this place. But I fell into a pleasant conversion on deck with a gentleman who told me that the town had been a village for centuries until, one day in 1781, Empress Catherine II declared it otherwise. Korcheva proudly took its place on the map, so to speak, as a district town, and it thrived.

That is, it thrived until the railways bypassed it, with the main line between St. Petersburg and Moscow running just west, and the next line running from from Moscow to Kimry to the east. 

A common enough tale. And one that matters very little in the scheme of things.

Yet in the few moments it took to pass through, I was overcome with a fleeting sense of nostalgia for a place I would never know.
Distance from Tver: 87 versts

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