The trade route from the Volga to the Baltic Sea along lakes, smaller rivers and boat-dragging paths has been known since ancient times — the same route was used by brave Novgorodians travelling towards the White Sea during their Russian North expeditions.
Peter the Great made a decision to join the Vytegra river and the Kovzha canal. «Peter’s idea was implemented by Maria» — the canal was built in 100 years and the Mariinsky waterway system appeared. And in 150 years it was replaced by the Volga-Balt water way.
In 1981 the former Mariinsky Canal Hydroelectric Station was opened as a museum housing the exhibition: “Northern Waterways”. The exhibition depicts the history of the construction and operation of the Mariinsky and the Volga-Baltic water routes.
Museum visitors will learn about the most intriguing engineering and technical decisions used during the construction and refurbishment of the canals, labor conditions at the old Mariinsky canal, and will get to see with their own eyes the still standing structures of the Mariinsky canal system.
The diorama “Construction of the Lock in 1799″, featuring “Boat haulers at the Mariinsky Canal”, has proved especially popular with visitors, as have models of locks, ships, and dredgers, original photographs and documents, as well as paintings by the artists B. Shvarkov and V. Vetrogonsky that depict both the construction of and the everyday life around the Volga-Baltic Canal, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2004.