Pskov Discovery ancient Russian city
Pskov, one of the most ancient Russian cities, is located in the north-west of Russia. This typical Russian city attracts many tourists due to its wonderful combination of the new and the old.
Pskov is the administrative centre of Pskov region with a population of 210 thousand. The climate is moderate continental. Average temperature in January is -5 C, average July temperature is +18 C.
The chronicle contains the first reference to Pskov under the year 903. From the 11th century onwards it became one of the most important trading centres of ancient Russia. Pskov, a strong outpost in the struggle of the Russians against foreign invaders, was a scene of many historic events significant for the destiny of the country. In April 1242 Russian warriors led by Prince Alexander Nevsky, the famous commander, defeated German crusaders on the ice of Chudskoye Lake. Stephan Batory, king of Poland, failed miserably to capture Pskov in 1581. Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus who besieged the town in 1615 experienced a complete failure.
During World War II Pskov was occupied and most of it was reduced to ruins but there has been much restoration and there are still more than 100 architectural and historical monuments. The most ancient of them, the Mirozhsky Monastery and the Convent of St. John, were built in the 12th century. The frescoes of the Mirozhsky monastery created by Byzantine painters enjoy worldwide fame and are under the UNESCO protection.
The suburbs of Pskov are also well-known for its sights of interest. Izborsk (32 km west of Pskov) is famous for its ancient fortress. From the 14th to the 16th century the fortress withstood 8 sieges and was never captured by invaders. The town of Pechory (52 km west of Pskov) is located on the Estonian border. Its main attraction is the Monastery of the Caves founded as early as 1473.
Many outstanding people used to live in Pskov region. Among them famous Russian composers N. Rimsky-Korsakov and M. Mussorgsky as well as the greatest national poet of the 19th century Alexander Pushkin. He had to spend 2 years in exile at Mikhalovskoye (125 km south-east of Pskov), this family estate where he composed over 100 significant works. Mikhailovskoye was a spiritual homeland of the poet. Now it is a place of pilgrimage of all Russians.