Semenov is situated on the river Sanokht, in 69 km to the north-east of Nizhny Novgorod and more than 100 km from Dzerzhinsk.
Since the 17th century Nizhegorodskoe Zavolzhje had been a land of deep forests where old believers lived in their cells. A lot of old believers’ settlements were ruined, but some of them survived and became large villages. The town of Semenov is one of them. At the very beginning it appeared as a small village in the forests of Zavolzhje, but fifty years later it became a district town. Different hand-made wooden goods were brought to Semenov from the nearby villages. Those goods were colourfully painted at the local handicraft factories and then sold at one of the biggest trade fair of the country in Nizhny Novgorod.
Khokhloma painting made Semenov famous all over the world. Khokhloma goods had a great success due to their original style and colours. In the middle of the 19th century khokhloma crockery could be found in any place of Russia. After the World Expo in Paris in 1889 khokhloma goods were exported to dozens of foreign countries. In 1916 the school of artistic woodworking was opened in the town, later it became the association “Khokhloma painting”.
Nowadays Semenov is famous all over the world for its Khokhloma painting. It is a small and quiet town though there are a lot of tourists and delegations here especially in summer. They arrive to get acquainted not only with famous Khokhloma crafts but also to visit lake Svetloyar which is situated not far from the town.
Lake Svetloyar is a masterpiece of nature of Nizhegorodsky region and Russia as well. It is called a small Russian Atlantis: its history, the history of Kitezh town are covered with legends. The unique lake has got a lot of mysteries which can’t be explained by the explorers so far. The lake was honoured by old believers, it inspired famous artists, musicians and writers. According to ancient legends a glorious town named Kitezh was situated here. Once Kitezh was surrounded by the enemies, but the town didn’t surrender; all the citizens of the town left their houses and started praying, at that very moment the town went under the ground and a beautiful lake appeared in its place...