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Pustezora on the Petzora River, just north of the Arctic Circle, on a Mercator's map published in 1595

Pustozyorsk (Russian: Пустозёрск) was the administrative center of Yugra and Pechora krais of Muscovy and Imperial Russia. It was situated in what is today Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Arkhangelsk Oblast in Russia.

Pustozyorsk was founded in 1499 in the lower reaches of the Pechora River by members of a military party led by S. Kurbsky, P. Ushaty, and V. Zabolotsky-Brazhnik. The town was built in a deserted area on a barren soil, hence the name Pustozyorsk, which literally means "deserted lakes". It was the most distant northern outpost of Muscovy and the first Russian settlement on the Pechora. Pustozyorsk was supposed to play the role of a military fort on the northern borders of the Russian state.

Pustozyorsk had been the administrative center of Pustozyorsk volost for more than two and a half centuries (until 1780). The town was most active in the 17th century, when such notable people as Artamon Matveyev, Vasily Galitzine, and Avvakum were exiled there. The spot where the latter was burnt at the stake is now commemorated by an ornate wooden cross.

In the 18th century, Pustozyorsk gradually lost its economic importance and began to deteriorate because a more convenient southern route to Siberia through the Urals had been discovered. The last inhabitants left Pustozyorsk in the early 1960s. The wooden Сhurch of Transfiguration is the only structure that remained after the abandonment of Pustozyorsk. It was moved to the nearby village of Ustye, located on the Lake Gorodetskoye.

Coordinates: 67°32′N 52°35′E / 67.533°N 52.583°E / 67.533; 52.583



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