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Towns near St.Pitersburg Pskov Novgorod Karelia
Mirozhsky Monastery Izborsk Pechory manuscripts, chronicles, acts, icons ancient Kremlin Church national park wooden architecture Kizhi Pogost Orthodox Christianity iconostases Monastery

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The most beautiful ancient russian towns are ready to open to you their mystic secrets!


There is some information about ancient places you can see.

Pskov | Novgorod | Karelia

03.03.2005 - 03:43:25
Pskov

Pskov, one of the ancient Russian cities, is located in the north-west of Russia. This typical Russian city attracts numerous tourists due to its wonderful combination of the new and the old.
The chronicle contains the first reference to Pskov under the year 903. From the 11th century it was 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 for many historic events significant for the destiny of this country. In April of 1242 the Russian warriors led by Prince Alexander Nevsky, a famous commander, defeated German knights on the ice of Chudskoye Lake. Stephan Batory, the 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 the Second World War 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 world-wide fame and are under the UNESCO protection.

Pskov's neighbourhoods are also well-known for its sights of interest. Izborsk** (32 km west of Pskov) was mentioned in the chronicle for the first time under the year 862. It 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 very 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.

Mirozhsky Monastery*. (Duration - 1.5 hours). Mirozhsky monastery was founded in the 12th century. It not only was the most ancient and one of the richest monasteries in Pskov, but also a significant cultural center. It took a few centuries to construct the monastery buildings. The most ancient of them, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Savior, was commissioned by the Archbishop Nifont of Novgorod and built in the 12th century. On the architectural style the Cathedral differs from all the churches not only in Pskov, but also in entire Ancient Russia. Niphont, who was of Greek origin, wished to build a church according to the Byzantine pattern in Russia. The walls of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of our Savior are decorated with frescos. They were painted by the Byzantine artists in the middle of the 12th century. 80% of the original frescos have survived. Mirozhsky monastery is included in the UNESCO list of the most outstanding architectural landmarks of the world.



Izborsk**. (Duration - 6 hours).Izborsk is located 32 km west of Pskov. In The Tale of Bygone Years - the most outstanding literary work of Kievan Russia - Izborsk was mentioned in one of the first chapters, when in 862 three Varangian princes were asked by the Slavs to rule over their towns. One of them, Truvor, became a prince of Izborsk. In the 14-16th centuries Izborsk was a reliable outpost of Pskov, its "younger brother". The perfectly preserved Izborsk fortress had to withstand 8 long sieges from the 14th to the 16th century and was never captured by enemy. Sightseeing in Izborsk will not be complete if you do not have a look at its ancient buildings. The Church of St. Sergius (16th century) is the most interesting among them. Now it houses a museum of the archaeological finds. The ethnographical complex Peasant Farmstead was recently opened in Izborsk. Here you can taste Russian traditional dishes cooked according to the old Izborsk recipes.


Izborsk fortress

Pechory***. (20 km of Izborsk, 52 km of Pskov) is a tiny neat town, located on the very Estonian border. Its main attraction is Pskov's Monastery of the Caves. Founded in 1473, the monastery has never been closed. The magnificent architectural ensemble of the monastery was formed over many centuries, and nowadays its extraordinary beauty makes a great impression on everyone who comes here for the first time. The perfectly preserved powerful fortress of the 16th century was an impregnable outpost in the western part of the Russian state. At the same time, the monastery was one of the largest cultural centers of ancient Russia. Chronicles and literary works were written here, as well as priceless samples of Russian painting, applied art and jewelry were made and collected by the monks. The name of the monastery was derived from the Old Russian word "pechera" meaning "cave", as the monastery originated from the caves. The caves are located in a steep sandy slope of the Kamenets Stream, in a hill that was considered as a holy site since pagan times. Amazing climatic conditions (the constant temperature in the caves is +5°C all the year round) made the caves a convenient refuge for the people who wished to live in solitude away from the distractions of the world. The ancient caves are an enormous burial vault where nearly 10 000 people are buried - monks, worries, statesmen, peasants and townspeople. The first monastery church was also a cave church. It was sanctified in 1473 in honor of the Dormition according to an ancient tradition. Annually, on August 28 lots of pilgrims and tourists come to the monastery to celebrate its main feast, the Dormition of Virgin Mary.

Pechory monastery


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