Artificial Channel “Kopan”

Ocher, Living history

“Kopan” is an original monument of nature and history. This is an artificial channel connecting Cheptsa River to Ocher River.

At the beginning of XIX century Ocher Ironworks of of Count Stroganov had the power problems. While the advanced Western, in particular English, metallurgy used the steam services and constantly improved their technique, the Ural plants were still fed by the energy of the water.

The hammer factories were operated using the various waterwheels. The energy of Ocher pond, especially in winter, often was not enough. For more reliable filling of the pond, it was decided to transfer to it a part of water from Cheptsa River through a deep, up to forty meters, dredge cut or digging, as it was said, with a length of 1.5 km and a width of about 100 meters.

The channel was built in 1813-1814 by the efforts of peasant serfs who manually, by shovels, picked out and transported a huge mass of soil – more than 400 thousand of cubic meters. Five thousands of peasant farms were engaged in the construction of the channel. According to the chronicler, during these debilitating and slave work “often the disturbances occurred and the sticks and stones were flying to the foremen”.

This project was developed and implemented also by the peasant serf – the hydraulic engineer I. F. Bushuev. At the expense of enormous human efforts the dredge cut has been made, but it did not justified the hopes – the water from Cheptsa was delivered but it was not enough to increase the water content of Ocher and the pond. “Kopan” is a monument of serfdom law.

Address: Ocher, Kuliki

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