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Tver, Central Russia

TVER, CENTRAL RUSSIA, a government of central Russia, on the upper Volga, bounded by the governments of Pskov and Novgorod on the W. and N. respectively, Yaroslavl and Vladimir on the E. and Moscow and Smolensk on the S. It has an area of 24,967 sq. m. Lying on the southern slope of the Valdai plateau, and intersected by deep valleys, it has the aspect of a hilly region, but is in reality a plateau 800 to 1000 ft. in altitude. Its highest parts are in the west, where the Volga, Southern Dvina and Msta rise in marshes and lakes. The plateau is built up chiefly of Carboniferous limestones, Lower and Upper, underlain by Devonian and Silurian deposits, which crop out only in the denudations of the lower valleys. The whole is covered by a thick sheet of boulder-clay, the bottom-moraine of the Scandinavo-Russian ice-sheet, and by subsequent Lacustrine deposits. A number of dsar or eskers occur on the slopes of the plateau. Ochre, brick, and pottery clays, as also limestone for building, are obtained, and there are chalybeate springs. The soil, which is clayey for the most part, is not fertile as a rule.

Nearly the whole of Tver is drained by the upper Volga and its tributaries, several of which (Vazuza, Dubna, Sestra, Tvertsa and the tributaries of the Mologa) are navigable. The Vyshnevolotsk system of canals connects the Volga (navigable some 60 m. from its source) with the Baltic, and the Tikhvin system connects the Mologa with Lake Ladoga. The Msta, which flows into Lake Ilmen, and its tributary the Tsna drain Tver in the north-west, and the Southern Dvina rises in Ostashkov. This network of rivers highly favours navigation: corn, linseed, spirits, flax, hemp, timber, metals and manufactured wares to the annual value of 1,500,000 are shipped from, or brought to, the river ports of the government. Lakes, ponds and marshes are numerous in the west and north-west, Lake Seliger near the source of the Volga and Lake Mztino being the most important. The forests coniferous in the north and deciduous in the south are rapidly disappearing, but still cover 32 % of the surface. The climate is continental ; the average yearly temperature at Tver (41 "-5 F.) is the same as that of Orel and Tambov (Jan. 11, July 67).

The population was estimated in 1906 as 2,053,000, almost entirely Great Russian, but including about 117,700 Karelians. The government is divided into twelve districts, the chief towns of which are Tver, Byezhetsk, Kalyazin, Kashin, Korsheva, Ostashkov, Rzhev, Staritsa, Torzhok, Vesyegonsk, Vyshniy Volochok and Zubtsov. Nearly 2,000,000 acres are under cereals. The principal crops are rye, wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. The sowing of grass is spreading, owing to the efforts of the zemstws or local councils, and improved machinery is being introduced. Livestock breeding is also important, and dairy produce is exported. Manufactures have grown rapidly. Cotton-mills, flour-mills, tanneries, sugar-refineries, iron-foundries and distilleries are the chief establishments. The government of Tver is also the seat of important village industries, of which a remarkable variety is carried on, nearly every district and even every village having its own speciality. The principal of these are weaving, lace-making, boat-building, and the making of boots, saddlery, coarse pottery, sacks, nets, wooden wares, nails, locks, other hardware and agricultural implements and felt goods.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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