- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
188

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
we thanked our kind hosts, said good-bye and, accom
panied by the pristav and the two priests, went out
to see the town and make a few purchases before
going aboard again.
The school at the monastery we had to see. It
appeared to be a well-built, warm house with light,
clean rooms. It was a boarding-school with one room
for boys and one for girls ; but it was empty now.
The priest who was on a visit was the only person living
there. There was no schoolmaster just now ; the last
one had been a political exile, who had been allowed to
teach for a few months ; but now there was nobody to
be found. Vostrotin told me that some years ago there
were six schools in the Turukhansk district, which has
an area of a million square versts, several times larger
than Norway. Now there are only two schools left.
We walked through the town. A small part of it
was an old village which had lain here by the monastery,
with its wide street and its comfortable, low peasants’
houses ; but all the northern part had been newly
cleared in the forest, and there they were now erecting
the Government building, hospital, school, and a doctor’s
house ; but this had been burnt down again a few weeks
before. A big granary had also been built, which is to
contain 300,000 poods (4800 tons) of corn as a reserve
for the population. As yet there was not more than
3000 poods there.
All these buildings were being erected at the expense
of the Government, but a private person had contracted
for the work. As assistant architect he had a political
exile, who had been sentenced to Siberia for life and
had also lost all civil rights ; but in ten years he would
be able to recover his civil rights and start afresh. He
seemed a cultured and engaging man, and he walked
with us for some way. Loris-Melikov was astonished
188

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