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Cruises along Kama

Word etymology. A question about name origin is still open. There is one opinions, that the word Kama came from ancient Russia kama - what means a stone. From the ancient times, the inhabitants of Perm land were proud its main river, they did homage to this river, and with care used its resources.

The river Kama, beautiful Kama is the main and big river in the West of Ural, it is the largest tributary of the Volga, the symbol of Perm region. Catchment area of this mighty river exceeds area of any European state, with the exception of France. Its banks are unique beauty, it is considered as transport artery. Travel along this river is a pleasure not only for adults, but also for children.

Length of the Kama is 1805 km. In Europe it takes seven place by length, cedes to the Volga, Danube, Dnieper, Pechora, Ural. Not far from Udmurt's village Karpushata is situated the Kama's head on the upland. The Kama has two heads: The Kama has two sources: the Kama spring, flowing out with several streams under the mountain, and the Bistrushka river, beginning in the fields behind the Karpushati. In 300 m from the mouths they flow together.

The nature of the Kama basin is various. Here there are slopes of the Ural ridge and ancient plateaus and low plains. Coniferous forests, resembling Siberian taiga, surround the banks of the Kama in its head; oak-woods and rich verdure of lime reflect in the low stream in its waters. When you sail by motor ship, at first sight there is nothing notable around at first sight. The banks on the Kama branch are low, lacking of bright colors. Shoals, monotonous meadows with bushes stretch. Navigable channel is winding and Lobatch Mountain shows blue from behind and from sides.

The first height, elevated above the water-meadow from the left, is occupied by working settlement Laishev. It was built in the place of a Russian fortification, which existed in 16 century; both the river and the water-meadow before it were seen from its walls. Up to 500 barges, loaded with metal, gather to the iron fair at this meadow, in 2 km from the city, in the place where there is a landing-stage (a wharfboat). From the river Chistopol is seen well after the vessel, continuing its way, sails to the middle of the Kama. Quay buildings, landing-stages, gardens, a silhouette of a minaret, stone houses of the central part and, at last, a settlement of river transport workers near a shipyard in the outskirts all this sail by us and will be seen above the bottom land meadow or a long time.

Behind Chistopol the Kama not at once gets look, which gains the fame of one of the most beautiful rivers of the country for it. However changes are already seen for passengers. The right bank shot up by abrupt slope. A secular pinery makes a noise. Under the steep slope in the shadow the water plays with the color of blue steel and this unusual color is emphasized even greater with light yellowness of sand shoals.

The Vyatka is the most length from the rights tributary of the Kama, connected some districts of Kirov region, Udmurtia and Tatarstan. The length of the Vyatka is 1367 km. It would seen, that crossing the are,  abounding in precipitations, this river should be especially deep and convenient for navigation. But any captain will tell you that on his native land one rift falls at every three km. It is explained by the fact that the Vyatka flows in the valley, formed of easily eroded sands, which the water brings from one place to the other. Though navigation workers labour much and hard, navigation depends also on the weather. In spring motor ships can rise up by the river almost for 900 km. In a summer of a dry year the reach of the river, accessible for passenger motor ships, reduce three times. On the right bank of the Kama, at a distance of 210 km from the city Kazan, is placed a town Elabuga.

The river Belaya flows into the Kama between two banks of among the low banks of the water-meadow and perhaps the mouth of the confluent would be hardly seen but for the color of the water. Here difference in color is especially sharp and perceptible. Waters of the Belaya river cut into the Kamas ones and press them with their wide stream, above which sea-gulls fly round. Length of the Belaya, the main confluent of the Kama, is 1420 km. Beginning in the mountains of the Southern Ural, the Belaya is directed then at the plains of Bashkiria, connecting a number of cities of this autonomous republic and its center Ufa with the Kama. Actually in the basin of the Belaya there is almost the whole flat part of Bashkiria. Much timber, bread, oil are transported by the river.

The ship sails under the bridge of the Kazan railway and almost at once we notice far Sarapul. At first the low island closes a part of the city, situated in the lowland. But the island ends and the whole Sarapul is seen. It is one of the cities of the Kama, which are situated in the most attractive place. Buildings, occupying the slopes of the valley of the Sarapulka river, crossing the city, appear white against a background of the green thick coniferous forest. The central part of Sarapula is built up with stone houses, among which buildings of city soviet and vocational school, directed to us with their facades, are especially stand out. A mountain with steep slopes, ending with sharply outlined cape, reigns over all these. Sarapul was founded at the end of XVI century. The part of the city, situated near the river, has kept lines of far past to the utmost.

Here you may see the rests of old town, old cloister walls. Besides, the name later was meant yellow fish, such as sterlet, which were found here in abundance. While walking about the city pay your attention on the wooden carved elbow linings, gates and even walls of the houses: Sarapul skilled craftsmen were famous for fretworks.

After two hours, the ship finishes its rout near Molotov river boat station, but closeness of the town is naturally felt.

Here from the left there is a river-boat station Zakamsk. It is already Kirov area of Molotov, located on the other side of the river. The pinery stretches far along the steep bank. But look narrowly: pine-trees were left only at the very bank and farther, deep down, all is occupied with blocks of flats, departments of plants. In some places pine-trees are thicker, either houses of dacha type or light constructions of pioneer camps. Right now spans of a railway bridge, which was built more than fifty years ago, stand out distinctly above the Kama. Both before it and right behind it the bank from the right from us is occupied with berths of industrial plants. Smoke of factory chimneys float above the river. An elevator rises as a rock. Cranes are seen again it is one of the sections of an old Molotov port. In this area there are many other plain houses and warehouses, which were built by Kama motor ship workers. Molotov berths of internal traffic began. A tower of the picture gallery and a high building with columns a department of Molotovles company, standing at the very edge of the slope, - are seen. City Molotov, the largest industrial and cultural center of the territory near the Kama, is much younger than many Ural cities. It is truth that a settlement of Egoshikhinsky copper-smelting plant was situated in its place in the time of Peter. But the history of Perm itself begins with 1781 when by order of Catherine II under ringing of bells and cannonade the settlement was renamed into principle town of province.

Lock world of the Kama

The vessel sails to the lock. It doesnt resemble any of constructions, which are met on the way from the capital. The fact is that the Kama is the first locked river with huge floats of timber in the country. The lock of a usual construction would never have passed during navigation those 10-12 million cubic meters, which sail through a staircase of the Kama waterworks facility. The right down-current or, so called, Western string is meant only for launching rafts; the eastern, or the left one, passes both vessels and rafts according to necessity. All constructions of the lock stretch for 2.5 km. our vessel is directed to the left string. The vessel passes the first, the second, the third, the forth cameras
If we voyage before the second camera of the Kamera reservoir is filled, then behind the forth camera to the very way out of the reservoir we will meet no locked gates any more. It seems as if last two cameras are temporarily turned into a channel; their gates will be needed only after the water in the sea rises to the target horizon.

The Kama reservoir

A lighthouse on the dam near the lock is seen already. The vessel is gathering way. Inhabitants of the territory near the Kama lovingly call the Kama reservoir Kama lake. The whole area of the Kama sea is estimated in imposing figure: 200,000 ha. Flood of the sea made 270 settlements change their places fully or partially. Maximal depth of the reservoir (in the part, situated near the dam) makes up 30 m. In the navigation period fluctuations of the water level reach 1.5-2 m; in winter, when water entry into the reservoir reduces, fall of the levels can be 7-8 m. The Kama reservoir was filled in 1954 after completion of construction of the dam, partitioned off the valley of the Kama within the precincts of Perm.

At the distance above the forest light train of smokes flutters. With approaching to it becomes imposing, occupying already a part of the horizon. If the vessel is approaching to it in the evening, a fantastic picture appears many kilometers from it. The huge plant bulks of unusual form are illuminated with many lights. They stretch, casting smokes of various tints out of their chimneys: orange-yellow, ash-grey, white. Characteristic smell penetrates into the cabins. Whistles of railway engines, hissing of steam are heard. Streams of hot water flow into the Kama with noise; not by chance the river doesnt freeze here at all, and lower Berezniki, quite to Orel, these waters hasten drifting of ice and slow down freezing-over even in very severe winters.

Berezniki were conceived and built as a city-garden. Light houses of lime-sand brick were erected along asphalted highways, edged with a belt of parks, lawns and flower gardens. A part of the street is turned into a boulevard. Much green is especially in the place where Pyatiletka street crosses Stalin avenue. A city park, which citizens of Berezniki are proud of, - is one of the largest on the territory near the Kama. Citizens of Berezniki create yet a number of parks, justifying the reputation of its city as one of the greenest area in the moderate climate of the Russian Federation.

Our voyage comes to an end and we have only some time to say few words about the upper Kama. First of all about the famous Kerchevsky road, the largest booming ground in the world. At Kerchev the Kama is partitioned off by booms of tablet-logs, tied together by steel ropes. It is the main boom of the road, capable to keep back a pressure of more than 100,000 cubic meters of timber, floated from the head.

Upper Kercheva the Kama crosses forest areas, where there is no city, there are few settlements, but there are many settlements of timber cutters. In early spring before the boom in Kerchevo closes, motor ships in the head are directed to settlement Monastir. It is not far from the places where within the bounds of Kirov region the Kama winds as a narrow blue ribbon, accessible only for cutters.

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