On the high banks of the Oka River is the historical “City Of Metal” and “The Metalworking Capital Of Russia” – Pavlovo. The town’s history traces back to the 18th century.
As Pavlovo was positioned along the Moscow -Volga water route, different crafts began to emerge here. Soon locksmithing became the most important one. Pavlovo locks, penknives, table-knives, scissors, razors, and balancing levers were sold in Russia and abroad.
By the end of the 19th century, Pavlovo became the central area for large metalworking, which included two hundred villages in two neighboring provinces: the Vladimir and Nizhny Novgorod Principalities. The local peasants became rich and built a number of large mansions richly decorated with bricks, white stones, fancy forged metalwork and woodcarving. Baroque, classicism, modern, Art Nouveau – all these architectural styles are represented on the streets of Pavlovo.
The mansion of the 2nd guild merchant V.I. Gomuling was built in 1885 and soon became an architectural symbol of Pavlovo. Presently, the Pavlovo Museum of History is located here.
The main house’s interior matches the rich exterior decorations: carved wooden doors, glazed tile and decorative stoves, glued-laminated parquet, ceiling stucco artwork. The museum’s collection consists of more than thirty thousand works. Among the metal items housed in the museum, one can see a lock weighing 0.7kg, made by the legendary craftsman M.M. Khvorov. Contemporary artisan Pavel Kulokov is as skillful as the old masters. His miniatures are also exhibited at the museum: a lock for a needle’s hole that weights only 0.09 grams, a tiny knife 1 mm long and a mechanical flea. When wound up, the flea can beat an anvil with a tiny hammer while stamping its foot that is wearing a golden shoe. In 2004, a blacksmith shop was opened at the museum and one can visit a workshop in forgery there.
Among other Russian villages, Pavlovo always stood out because of a variety of activities that the locals pursued. In every spring, the cock and geese fights have been held here for three hundred years. The Pavlovo breeds of fighting cocks have always been as famous as the celebrated ones from Britain and Malaysia. The local people are so proud of this local diversion that they erected a monument to geese fights.
Pavlovo residents have also bred more peaceful birds. In the 19th century, all over the Russian Empire, one could buy Pavlovo canaries that sang a unique tune. The best known local specialty is the potted citrus breeding. It’s hard to say how the sweet-scented overseas fruit got to the village, but nowadays these Pavlovo citrus breeds are famous in many Russian towns. There is even a monument to the potted lemon in the town center.
Metalworking traditions haven’t become a thing of the past. Pavlovo craftsmen still produce such things as forged roses, steel hunting weapons, jewelry and engraved cutlery. Not long ago the Pavlovo inhabitants surprised everyone by producing a 400-kilo musical padlock. It justly entered the Guinness Book of Records. One can admire the fascinating padlock in the “Sennaya” café while listening to the canaries singing.
Two private hotels are at the tourists’ disposal in Pavlovo.