Volzhskaya Belyana

Few probably know that Russian river Volga anything else that a hundred years ago swam Court, in its displacement exceeding the cruiser "Aurora", and they were built out of wood ...!

They were called Bielany and entered the history of Russian shipbuilding as the most unique river vessels in the world.

The size of a ship

First of all, speaking of Bielany, it should be noted that they were very great, at least for riverboats. There is evidence that there Belyany to one hundred meters in length, and height of the board have reached six meters!

Payload Belyaev correspond to their size and may be 100-150 thousand pounds (pud - 16 kg). In Belyaev small, but have big it reached 800 thousand pounds.! That is, it was the size though not very big, but still ocean liner, although they sailed exclusively from the upper and to the lower reaches of the Volga and have never been more Astrakhan!

Volzhskaya Belyana

It is known that for the construction of a secondary Volga Belyany took about 240 logs of pine and fir 200. In this flat bottom was made of spruce boards, and boards - pine. The distance between frames - no more than half, due to which Belyany body strength was extremely high. At the same time, as it often happens with us in the past, we built Belyany first without a single nail, and has only later they began to knock together with iron nails.

sailing astern

Housing Belyany was pointed at both the front and rear, and ran it with the help of a huge wheel - lots, which took most of these kind of deal gate, which is rotated by a huge length of the log output from the stern on deck. Because of that lots Belyaev alloyed down the river is not the nose and stern. From time to time, moving his huge lot like a lazy whale tail, so she swam with the current, but, despite his clumsiness, has excellent maneuverability! In addition to the lot, at Bielany were large and small anchors weighing 20 to 100 pounds, as well as a great variety of the most different ropes, hemp and Mochalny.

, multi Belyana

But the most interesting in Bielany was, in general, its cargo - "white wood", that is, devoid of bark white-yellow timber. It is believed that because of this, something like her and called, but there is another point of view that the word "Belyana" associated with the White River. In any case, any Belyana was always white, because these ships served only one navigation and therefore never resins!

Volzhskaya Belyana

But Belyany shipped as not loaded and not loaded, no ship in the world, as evidenced by even a saying here: "disassemble Bielany one hand, nor gather Belyany all the cities." This occurred because the forest was laid in Bielany not just a pile, and the pile with many spans, to have access to her bottom in case of a leak. In this case, load boards Do not touch or put pressure on them. But since then they pressed sea water, between the load and the sides were inserted special wedges as they are replaced by drying larger and larger in size.

At the same time, as soon as the wood begins to exceed the height board Belyaev began to stack the logs so that they were in favor of the board, and a new load was placed on them. Such projections called dissolution or reprimands that it was necessary to be able to place so as not to upset the balance of the ship. At the same time, dissolutions were sometimes overboard on four or more meters to the side, so that the width of the top of the vessel is much greater than on the bottom, and reached some Belyaev 30 meters! A log-on luggage in Bielany body too it was not continuous, but composed of spans with holes for ventilation. Therefore, in the old days of the size Belyany judged by the number of spans on her and Bielany were about three or four spans, and so on.

"kasenka" deck and pump

Interestingly, the Bielany deck too is nothing other than the cargo, and any flooring of boards or boards of sawn, and is so large that resembled the modern aircraft carrier deck. She put the gates 2-4 to lift the large anchors and tensioning ropes holding the auction.

But closer to the stern on Bielany for equilibrium is established by two small huts - "kasenka", which served as home to the crew. Between the roofs of huts tossed high cross a bridge with carved booth in the middle, which was the pilot. In this case, the whole booth was covered with carvings, and sometimes even painted with paint under the "gold".

Although the ship and it was purely functional, Belyaev, nevertheless, richly decorated with flags, and not only government and trade, but also its own flag of a particular merchant, usually depicting saints bless or any suitable characters on the occasion. these flags were sometimes so great that fluttered over the Bielany like a sail. But with spending on them is usually the merchants were not considered, because the main thing here was to declare itself!

Volzhskaya Belyana

Working at Bielany were 15 to 35 people, and the largest - from 60 to 80. Many of them are working on the pump that pumped water from the body, and these pumps was 10-12 pieces, because the body is always a little Bielany I proceeded. Because of this, Bielany loaded so that its nose submerged deeper than the food, and all the water would drip down there!

Court on one navigation

Special flourishing construction Belyaev on the Volga reached in the middle of the XIX century, in connection with the beginning of a mass movement of the steamer. Since the ships while walking on the wood (and there were about 500 pieces), it is easy to imagine what an enormous amount of wood required all this fleet.

The wood imported into the Volga ports exclusively on Bielany and only gradually, due to the oil passage, the demand for firewood fell on the Volga. Nevertheless, even at the end of the XIX century they are continued to build up to 150 units per year, and by downloading the forest, rafted down the river up to Astrakhan.

Volzhskaya Belyana

Volzhskaya Belyana (photo by the end of the XIX century)

Then these unique vessels understood, so much so that from them in the literal sense of the word had no choice! "Kasenka" sold as a ready-made house, the forest went to the building material, hemp, burlap and ropes, not to mention the hardware - everything brought income owners Belyaev! Only small Belyaev, load the Astrakhan fish came back, drawn by the boatmen. But then they also dismantled and sold for firewood. Bielany keep afloat for more than one season turned out unprofitable!

ingenuity and resourcefulness

Belyaev history interesting by the fact that some of them during a single navigation and assemble and disassemble twice! For example, small Bielany in the place where the Volga comes close to the Don, moored to the bank, after which the entire load with their horse-drawn carts transported to the Don. After that, assorted and very Bielany, were taken after the load, again collected and loaded it on a new place. Now the forest they floated in the lower reaches of the Don, where Belyany dealt for the second time!

Volzhskaya Belyana

And now judge for yourself how creative and savvy were our ancestors, who managed to create such a huge lifting and river vessels represent virtually waste-free vehicle for one season.