The stone Lutheran church of St. Anthony, constructed in Ust-Zolikha in 1912 in the historical style, is one of the most amazing monuments of German architecture on the right bank of the Volga. After the closure, the building was not rebuilt, due to which, even after the collapse of the roof and dome, it has survived in its original form to this day. The building of the former parsonage, which now occupies the rural house of culture, is also preserved next to the church.
The village is located in the forest-steppe, within the Volga Upland, which is part of the East European Plain, along the right bank of the Goly Karamysh River. By road, Ust-Zolikha is located 91 km from Saratov and 21 km from the regional center of the city of Krasnoarmeysk. The nearest railway station Karamysh is located 2 km from the village. The federal highway P228 (Saratov — Volgograd) passes 5 km from the village.
The Reformed-Lutheran colony at the Zolikha River at its confluence with Goly Karamysh was founded on June 7, 1766 by immigrants from Palatinate, Prussia, and Hesse. The settlement was named after the first headman I. Messer. A year after the foundation, an evangelical parish was formed. In 1768, according to the decree on the names of the German colonies, the settlement received the official name Ust-Zolikha. Since 1797, the German colonies became part of the Saratov province, Ust-Zolikha was assigned to the Sosnovskaya volost of the Kamyshinsky district.
Since the founding of the colony, a parish school existed in it. In 1870, a private comrade school was opened, one of the first among the Volga Germans. They taught Russian and German languages, arithmetic, the law of God. In 1891, a craft class was opened at this school. Children of both sexes from 7 to 15 years old studied at the parish school. The first wooden church was built in 1835. She had a parsonage and a bell tower built a little later. In 1912, a stone church was built in the village, replacing the old wooden one. According to the Big Russian Encyclopedia, the Lutheran Church was built in 1820.
History of the Lutheran church
in Russian Ust-Zolikha village
In 1860, there were 198 courtyards in the colony, a Lutheran church, and school, a post station; there were 12 sarpink and dyeing establishments and 4 mills. In 1894 there were already 348 courtyards in the village, there were: a wooden church, covered with a tree, with a parsonage; Zemskaya Yamskaya station with 8 horses; post and telegraph office. Ust-Zolikha was the seat of the zemstvo head of the 1st section and the pastor of the volost government. On Wednesdays, in summer and winter, bazaars were organized, which gathered up to 40 carts. In 1896 a zemstvo hospital was opened. By the beginning of the First World War, the population of Ust-Zolikha reached 6,000 people.
In the Soviet period, Ust-Zolikha was included first in the Golo-Karamyshsky, and then the Kamensky canton of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Volga Germans was the administrative center of the Messer village council. There was an elementary school, a cooperative shop, an agricultural credit, and a machine partnership. According to the 1931 census, 3,706 people lived in the village, of which 3,703 were Germans. The Messer name was officially returned in 1928.
In September 1941, the German population of Ust-Zolikha, like other settlements of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Volga Germans, was deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Refugees from the occupied western regions of the country came to the place of the indigenous people.
Currently, Ust-Zolikha with about 1,500 inhabitants, is part of the Karamysh rural settlement. On Central Street, there is a library, a House of Culture, a kindergarten, and a small hospital. The Saneko enterprise is engaged in the extraction of crude oil and petroleum (associated) gas, there are also collective farms.
Coordinates of abandoned Lutheran church
Coordinates: N 50° 58.581′ E 45° 32.900′
Abandoned Lutheran church on Google Maps