PLOTINKA (THE DAM)

The first industrial facility that started the construction of Ekaterinburg in 1723.

Peter the Great’s reforms at the beginning of the 18th century led to rapid development of the Urals and formation of a new industrial area. Uktus Ironworks was built at the confluence of the Uktus and Iset rivers.

In the early 1720s a new head of the Ural Mining Administration Vasily Tatishchev (who later became a famous statesman, historian, and geographer) arrived in the Urals. A decision was made to build a new large ironworks on the Iset, about 7 km up the river “in between all works”. The new plant was meant to tie together mining and metallurgical industry of the entire region. Timber harvesting for the future dam began in March 1721, but soon the project was suspended and resumed only two years later, when general Georg Wilhelm de Gennin was appointed the new head of the Ural Mining Administration.

The construction of a fort to protect the future ironworks from the Bashkirs, who occupied this territory at the time, began in 1723. Over 1 000 peasants from 20 villages worked on the construction of the dam led by foreman Leonty Zlobin. They dug a deep ditch then used rows of wooden piles and decks to form the body of the dam, all the gaps were filled with clay.

The dam was originally earthen with larch wood base which does not rot, but hardens under water without oxygen. The granite cover was added much later during a reconstruction of the 1830-1850s. The researchers argue that having served without a single repair for almost three hundred years, the dam could easily stand for as much longer.

In the 18th century just like a human heart transporting blood the Dam transferred the energy from the Iset to the first industrial objects of the city: ironworks, mint, and stone-cutting factory. Today it’s the historic center of Ekaterinburg, a place very popular among citizens and affectionately called “Plotinka”.

INTERESTING FACT

Contrary to popular belief, the current central drain of the dam has never had industrial use. It was necessary to get down vernal waters and regulate the flow rate, to prevent the risk of flooding the plant. The actual industrial drains were located on both sides of the central. One of them nowadays serves as an underground passage, and the other one is used to store cleaning equipment.

 

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