Managing Space: The Structure and Organisation of the Communication System in the Spaso-Prilustky Monastery (16th – 17th Centuries)
The strengthening of governmental structures and an increase in economic activity between the 16th and the 18th centuries in Russia contributed to the formation of a system of roads and waterways. Water transport has some advantages over moving goods by land. The capacity of river and coastal vessels was greater than horse-drawn transports, which meant that the former was less costly. Certain topographical features, varied hydrological conditions in rivers, and diverse weather conditions required a flexible system of waterways as a means of communication. In a preindustrial landscape, the transport network was a compromise between the needs of the individual and the problems imposed by natural factors. The effectiveness of transportation systems depended on organisational and economic factors: governmental structures and communities could obviously provide a greater level of organisation than individuals. One of such communities was the monastery: the Spaso–Prilutsky monastery was a considerable force in the organisation of trade in Northern Russia. On the basis of materials from this institution, the author examines the ways in which natural phenomena shaped the monastery’s transportation network and how the monastery maintained and developed this network.
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