Kirzhach District

The Kirzhach district is located in the west of the Vladimir region. The population of the district is 38,080 people (2018). The federal highway M-7 Volga runs through the district. The administrative center is the city of Kirzhach with a population of 26,676 people (2018).  The district was formed on April 10, 1929 as part of the Alexandrov district of the Ivanovo Industrial Region. Since August 14, 1944, the Kirzhach district has been part of the Vladimir region. In May 2005, the district as a municipality was given the status of a municipal district.

The Kirzhach district has a rich history. The Annunciation Monastery, founded by St. Sergius of Radonezh in 1358, became one of the prominent spiritual centers of Russia and gave rise to a settlement, which later grew into the city of Kirzhach.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the carpenters called "arguny" were widely known in Russia. Immigrants from the Kirzhach lands, they became famous for their amazingly beautiful wood carvings. Renovated by modern masters, the  Argunovo carving still adorns the platbands of houses in Kirzhach and surrounding villages. Master M.E. Gashin restored in the classical Argunovo style the carved iconostasis of the St. George Church in the village of Ilyinskoye, Kirzhach district.

In the first quarter of the 19th century, silk and velvet production was rapidly developed in Kirzhach and nearby villages. The entrepreneurial dynasties of the Solovyovs, Arsentievs, Derevenshchikovs, Dumnovs and others made a great contribution to this process. By 1913, almost 20% of Russian silk fabrics were produced in Kirzhach and surrounding villages. In 1932, a silk combine was created on the basis of the Solovyovs’ factories, which became one of the largest in the country. In the village of Zarechye near Kirzhach, in the former estate of the Dumnovs factory owners, a museum complex dedicated to the history of hand-made silk weaving housed, as well as an exhibition of copyright ethnographic dolls by Galina Maslennikova, great-great-granddaughter of I.F. Dumnov.

The village of Funikova Gora, Kirzhach district, is the birthplace of S.M. Prokudin-Gorsky (1863-1944), who created a photo collection of the sights of the Russian Empire, having visited its most diverse corners and imprinted in color the life, customs and character of people and the country of his time. This is one of the first collections of color photographs in the world – in fact, a kind of visual encyclopedia of the Russian Empire in the last years of its existence.

The Kirzhach district is associated with the names of the first Soviet cosmonauts (Yu.A. Gagarin, G.S. Titov, V.M. Komarov, A.N. Nikolaev, V.F. Bykovsky, P.R. Popovich and others), which detachment was trained at the Kirzhach airport since 1960.  On March 27, 1968,  Yu.A. Gagarin and V.S. Seregin tragically died during a training flight near Kirzhach. At the site of their death, a memorial was opened in 1975.

The Kirzhach district has a developed industry, the basis of which is engineering, instrumentation, the production of building materials, furniture, fabrics.  Automobile lighting equipment, metalworking machines and parts for them, refrigerators and washing machines are produced in Kirzhach.

The areas of decorative and applied art and crafts, developing in the Kirzhach district, are wood carving (Argunovo carving), blacksmithing, the manufacture of ethnographic dolls, etc. The People’s Collective ensemble "Rossy" of the Kirzhach district Cultural and Leisure Center became the pride of the Vladimir region.

Crafts and trades
Blacksmith craft
Today, blacksmithing craftsmen are rare. But nevertheless, forges that are engaged in manual forging are preserved.
Wood carving
Argunovo carving. Morden masters of wood carving.
Russian dolls
Dolls are made by artel, manually. The labor of 10-12 people is invested in each doll.