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    FEDOROFF.NET » ГЛАВНАЯ » СТАТЬИ » English version » Geography


    Последнее обновление:
    02.Августа.2010, 16:20

    City of Pskov

    Pskov is a modern regional centre in the Northwest of Russia. In Pskov one cannot escape from history. From archaeological evidence Pskov counts not less than a thousand and five hundred years. From the 6th up to the beginning of the 18th century Pskov was in the centre of historical events in Russia as an important political, administrative, and cultural centre and a centre of trade and handicraft. It was also the strongest fortress on the western border of Russia.
    From the 14th to the beginning of the 16th century, Pskov was a city-state. It was the capital of the independent land, having preserved its cultural originality and traditions even after joining the Russian State in 1510. Historians have estimated that the population of Pskovian Land numbered 150 to 160 thousand people in the 16th century. They inhabited an area of approximately 30 thousand square kilometers. The population of Pskov itself was over 30 thousand people.
    Generations of Pskovites followed one after another. The development of spiritual ideals and cultural traditions, the building up of socio-economic ties and sociopolitical relationship was not easy. Epidemics, long wars and political cataclysms often disturbed peaceful life, ruined the economy and killed people. But "Protected by Our Lord, the City of Pskov" underwent all ordeals. But at the most critical moments the people of Pskov demonstrated courage and patriotism. These features were revealed in the heroic deeds, written down in the chronicles and ancient manuscripts and found their reflection in the political and public life of the society and in great Russian art. Pskov contributed greatly to the history and culture of the Russian people. One could hardly forget the names of the outstanding Pskovites from the princes Vsevolod-Gavriil and Dovmont-Timophey, both soldiers and builders, holy patrons of Pskov, to A.S. Pushkin and M.P. Mussorgsky.
    There is a natural combination of ancient monuments and modern buildings. You can find islands of the past in today's Pskov: fortified walls with towers, churches and monasteries, and merchant's chambers. Even the ground itself within the fortification walls dating back to the 15th century is a valuable monument to archeology.
    Tourists from big cities used to be amazed by the warmth and special air, created by the ancient architecture of Pskov. But one should keep in mind that life in ancient Pskov was very active. It was rich in events. People of Pskov worked hard, fought for power and struggled against enemies. The towers of the Pskov fortress filled the enemy with fear and seemed inaccessible. Monumental churches dominated residential buildings. The architectural style of ancient Pskov was severe, deprived of outer embellishment and at the same time it created a highly spiritual atmosphere and great harmony. The Pskovites used local construction material -limestone slabs - for the building of fortifications, churches and civilian houses. Pskov architects worked out their own style of building with high artistic standards. They didn't polish the surfaces of walls but covered them with an uneven layer of white and rosy tint plaster. A special charm was added to the wall whiteness by a silver grey roofing made of lead and, later, starting from 1460, roofs were made out of moulded iron.
    One could observe the contrast between the whiteness of the monumental buildings, constructed in Pskov throughout many centuries, and the wooden residential houses and service buildings. That whiteness stressed the holiness and purity of "the town protected by Our Lord."
    Ancient chronicles contain the following names Pleskov - Plskov - Pskov which remind us of the name of the town itself. Modern linguists reject the interpretation connected with the notions:"sands", "splashes" etc. The Polish linguist S. Rospond classes Pskov with the group of topographic names of settlements, going far back to the Preslavonic root * bljsk (meaning "shine", "sparkle") But on the whole, the origin of the name "Pskov" is still under discussion.
    There are no written documents about how the history of Pskov started. The Pskovian chronicler known to be the most accurate annalist wrote: "One couldn't find any reminiscence of the town of Pleskov: where this town came from, what people founded the town. We can only be sure that it had been in existence for a long time when the prince by the name of Rurik came accompanied by his associates from Varangia to Slovenia..." We again underline the absence of the written data.
    Kiev annalists mentioned Pskov only in those rare cases when they were writing about Pskovian contacts with the Kievan princes. The writing of the Pskov chronicle began not earlier than in the 13th century.
    Experienced students of local lore and historians of ancient Pskov have been disputing for a long time about the precise date of Pskov's foundation. They couldn't come to agreement concerning the lifeline of the Holy Princess Olga, a founder of Pskov, described in the Book of Royal genealogy compiled on the initiative of Metropolitan Makary in 1560. Some historians consider St. Olga, according to the legend, to be the founder of Pskov, others have a different opinion.

    Pskov as a Settlement of the Krivich Tribe

    Archeological excavations helped to clear up the problem of the foundation of Pskov on the basis of real facts. Pskov takes its origin from the ancient hill-fort dating back to the second half of the 1st century. Studying the materials of the hillfort the scholars distinguish between two periods corresponding to the early stage (5th to 7th centuries) and the late stage (8th to 9th centuries) of the development of long tumuli. They are of the opinion that the culture was connected with the first Slavonic settlements in the northwestern parts of Eastern Europe and the development of the Krivich tribe.
    The ancient hill-fort can be clearly seen in the outlines of the promontory relief on the junction of two rivers: the Pskova and the Velikaya (Great), in the place of the Krom. Its fortifications have not remained. The remnants of the first Pskovian buildings represent rectangular caves 2.2 - 3 x 3-3.5 meters in size and dug up 0.13 - 0.6 meters deep. Common sizes of the buildings used to be of approximately 5 meters. One can see the holes for the pillars preserved up to day. The entrance looked like a narrow sloping passage, 1 meter wide. Opposite the entrance, by the middle of the wall or in one of the corners there was a stove made of stones. It was called "kamenka". Similar buildings were found in the place between the Visla River and the Elba River in the northern part of the area famous for Slavonic inhabitation.
    In the 8th to 9th centuries Pskov had grown into a rather big settlement with developed handicraft activity. It became an administrative and religious centre of the whole territory in the Lower Velikaya River. Residential houses and belongings were scattered all over the site for the exception of the centre, which was free of any buildings. It was the first square in Pskov and it was of public importance: it was here that people's assemblies and court trials took place.

    Pskov - the Town of St. Olga

    Pleskov - Pskov, whose history is 1500 years old is the same age as Kiev, "Mother of Russian towns". But the development of a tribe settlement into a town happened later. Chronicles and local legends connect this process with the name of the Great Princess Olga, the first Russian Christian woman and a wise governor of Russia. The Holy Princess Olga was the first Pskovian woman famous for her name and her deeds. She came from "Pskov land, part of the whole Great Russian Land, from the village of Vybuty, close to the German principality, from the Varangian Language, from the family of common people, not from the family of Princedom".
    The graveyard of Vybuty located 12 kilometers from Pskov, upstream on the Velikaya River, has preserved many traces testifying to Olga's childhood and adolescence: historical landscape, ancient tumuli, names of local places, legends. Everything reminds us of her today. Not far from there was the village of Boodnick. One of the legends tells that Prince Vladimir was born there. It was he who first baptised Russia.
    Pskov was first mentioned in the chronicle "The Tale of Bygone Years" in the year 903 in connection with the full age of the Kievan Prince Igor Rurikovich. He "had been getting the tribute after Oleg and the people obeyed him and brought him a wife from Pskov, whose name was Olga". The legend describes how romantic meeting of Olga and the young prince on the Vybuty ferry was, when he was hunting.
    Even though she was busy with the ruling of the Kievan State, the Princess never forgot her native places. In the year 947 the chronicle tells about her trip to the North of Russia: "Olga went to Novgorod and set up graveyards and ordered the local people to pay her tribute on Msta and on Luga. Places of hunting remained all over the land and evidence of her places, her graveyards and her sledge have been preserved in Pskov up to today". The clergical legend also tells of her setting up the first Trinity Cathedral: "Blessed Olga came up the river named Pskova and stood up opposite the estuary of that river. At that time the forest and the oaks were big and she suddenly saw a miraculous vision: the place was enlighted by rays. And she predicted that on that very place there would be the Holy Trinity Cathedral and a large town and that town would be glorious, and then she put a holy cross on that very place for Orthodox Christian people to worship...". 
    It was probably then, when Pskov won priority over Izbork, the other big town of local Krivich people, which had been mentioned in the "Legend of Calling the Varangians to Russian Land" in the year of 862.
    Olga's town in Pskov is a typical early urban settlement at the turn of the century. One can clearly distinguish between the three-part structure, including Detynetz, Posad and Necropol. Detynetz covered an area of 3 hectares and it was here that there was the first town settlement. Its fortifications stretched along the southern part of St. Trinity Cathedral (not preserved). The topography of the cultural layers of the 10th and early 11th centuries helps to identify three separate plots with residencial houses.
    The first centre of the Posad covered the southern area of today's Krom and Dovmont's Town with the joining area. It was probably mentioned in the year 1459 in connection with the Market place (after the construction of the Dovmont wall and establishing the Market Place - "Torg" - it was removed). A part of the Posad on the lower terrace along the bank of the Velikaya river in the direction to Velikaya street, which had been cobbled only in the 11 th century, embraced the upper part of Gorodetz from the West and from the South, where the Church of Archangel Michael was built in 1339. During the excavations in 1954 a slope of Gorodetz was found in the place of the modern Telegraph Building. That second part of the ancient Posad reached the wall of 1309 in the South (Ploskaya (Flat) street).
    The third part of the Posad was a plot on the lower terrace along the bank of the Pskova River in the direction of Petrovskaya Street. It reached a filled-up ravine from the inner side of the wall of 1309.
    Stretched along the banks of the rivers, plots of the Posad preceeded Gorodetzky and Bolovynsky (Petrovsky) ends (districts) of the 14th to 15th centuries.
    One can suppose that Pskov like Novgorod turned into a city as the result of the unification of the three first posad settlements into a federation in the 10th century (future districts of the city). Detynetz in Pskov unlike Novgorod could be a property of the Prince's Administration.
    The tumulus Necropol occupied a sandy area between two projections of the posad on the riverside terraces. During the excavations in Lenin street "a death layer" - the remnants of over 60 burials going backwards to the 10 th to 11 th centuries beneath "the life layer" (so called cultural layers of the llth to 16th centuries) was unexpectedly discovered. Among tumuli there was placed an idol "kapitsche" (a place of pagan worship).
    The main population of Olga's town came from the inhabitants of Pskov hillfort and surrounding settlements, that is, the Krivich and Slavonic people.
    Detynetz and Posad were built in wooden houses with stoves - "kamenka", typical for ancient Russian towns. The ceramics shapes and ornaments show the influence of Baltic people -Western Slavonic and Varangian - Scandinavians, Latgal and Eesti-people. This influence is not traced in topography. But we can notice the presence of Scandinavian ornaments in decorations of Detynets and Necropol, and the presence of Latgal materials in Zavelichye. Only in the ll th century were new cultural traditions formed on the basis of the Christian urban culture of ancient Russia.

    Pskov Acquires Holy Patrons

    From the ll th to 13 th centuries Pskov became the second important town in Novgorod Land. Its Detynetsz was remarkable for its mighty fortifications and from 1240 it had been subjected to raids of the German knights and due to this it was in desperate need of almost constant alterations and reconstruction. First stone fortifications were probably built at that period. Those fortifications were of the Truvor hill-fort-in Izborsk type. One German chronicler wrote about the Pskov citadel: «Their castle is so good that if they wish to settle their home affairs peacefully, none can capture their fortress».
    In the ll th and 12 th centuries three-section planning of the Posad with its tumulus Necropol in the centre underwent changes.
    The number of posad buildings had been gradually growing and it resulted in inhabiting a new territory, later it got the name of the Opotzky "end". At the same time they started to build residential houses in the area of the tumulus Necropol, which later turned into the Ostrolavitzky "end".
    In the excavations of upper Lenin street one can clearly see the stages of the pagan tumuli destruction. In the late ll th century they started to destroy sides of the Necropol. The buildings of the 12 th century completely covered the already ruined Necropol.
    Zapskovye, Zavelichye and Polonitsche were supposed to be inhabited in the ll th and 12 th centuries. First posads or slobodas, separated from the centre of Pskov by rivers or by fields, emerged there.
    On Polonitsche, on Romanov Hill there had been found the remnants of the destroyed burial mound dating back to the 10 th to 12 th centuries. It contained the burials which strongly suggest cremation and ingumation rituals. In 1881 there was also found a treasure of Scandinavian jewelry dating backwards to the 10 th and ll th centuries.
    In Zavelichye, in the area of today's regional hospital, they excavated Latgal burials of the 11 th to 12 th centuries.
    In the 12 th century, in Pskov, four monumental stone cathedrals were erected by stonemasons from other cities. In Zavelichye there have been cathedrals of the most ancient suburbian monasteries preserved: the Church of John the Baptist's Nativity, (approximately 1140) and the Cathedral of Our Saviour's Transfiguration (before 1156) of Mirozhsky Monastery built to the order of Novgorodian archibishop Niphont. In posad place a brigade of stonemasons from Novgorod had built a little church of Dmitry Solunsky (11387 1144), which was excavated by archeologists in Dovmont wall. On the territory of Detynetz the first stone building of Trinity Cathedral was built. The chronicle dates it back to 1138, though some historic-architectural data indicate 1193 and the brigade from Smolensk or Polotzk. One can suppose, that the construction of the cathedral got extended or in the late 12 th century it was built to replace the old one.
    In 1036 Prince Sudislav, the younger son of Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich, appeared in Pskov. His fate was tragic. Yaroslav the Wise had imprisoned his brother for 24 years. Whether Sudislav ruled in Pskov or was only kept in prison remains a mystery.
    Pskov of the 12 th century is a town of the blessed Prince Vsevolod-Gavriil, a son of Mstislav the Great, a grandson of Vladimir Monomakh. The first Pskovian prince ruled less than a year and died on the ll th of February, 1138. Most of his life he was a governor of Novgorod. In 1136 he was exiled from Novgorod by boyars. The Pskovites invited him to Pskov and made him their prince. His life story, compiled in the middle of the 16 th century on the basis of short chronicle records and oral tales of his posthumous miracles, glorified the prince and created him an image of a noble soldier and a churchbuilder, who had suffered from unjust persecutions.
    Pskovian people commemorate him with gratefulness and connect the construction of St.Dimitry Solunsky Church and the first stone building of St.Trinity Cathedral with his name. He was first buried beneath St.Dmitry Solunsky Church but after the canonization in 1193 his earthly remains were transfered to St.Trinity Cathedral.
    In his afterlife miracles Prince Vsevolod-Gavriil is shown as "a defender and a protector of Pskov against its enemies". The crypt with his earthly remains is the main sacred object of St.Trinitiy Cathedral and for Pskovian Christian people even today. There at the Cathedral his two-handle knight sword with Latin inscription "Honorem meum nemini dabo" (I'll be second to none in my honour) was kept. Now this sword is exhibited in the Historical Museum of Pskov. In the 20 th century arms researchers proved that it had been made in Europe and dates back to the 15 th century. In Pskov of that period "posadnik" (a mayor) was the second important person after the prince. In the 12 th to 13 th centuries Pskov was considered to be a Novgorodian suburbs and a mayor was appointed in Novgorod and sent to Pskov. Pskov of the 13 th century was the town of blessed Princes Alexander the Nevsky and Dovmont -Timophey. Their life-stories tell about their military heroic deeds, state wisdom, human dignity and posthumous miracles connected with their life.
    The Livonian war of 1240-1242 took a peculiar place in the life of Prince Alexander Yaroslavich, which was full of military and political affairs.
    Having seized principalities of Eesti, Liv and Latvian people "The Brothers-knights" intruded in Pskovian Land and made a siege on Izborsk. Pskovian troops with Gavrila Gorislavovich at the head had been beaten. Six hundred Pskovites and the mayor were killed in that battle. Isbork was captured. Then the enemies besieged Pskov. Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich was a pretender to Pskov Princedom and he had his supporters in Pskov. So he came together with the German knights troops. Posadnik Tverdila "had secret talks with him" and after that he let the German knights' detachment enter the town. Pskov was envaded by the Germans. Settling themselves in Pskov, German knights started to plunder the neighbouring Novgorodian principality. Prince Alexander Yaroslavich was commander-in-chief of the Novgorodian troops. He got his nickname Nevsky for his victory over the Swedes on the Neva River in 1240. Suzdal regiments under his brother, Prince Andrei came for help. In 1242 the united Russian troops came up Pskov, liberated the town and moved to the principalities occupied by the knights. Having discovered the information about the enemy dislocation, Russian troops took the direction to Uzmen between Chudskoye and Pskov lakes. A decisive battle took place on the 5th of April on the ice of Chudskoye Lake. Even today one can't stop being excited reading the lines of the prince's life story, composed in Rozhdestvensky (Nativity) Monastery in Vladimir in the late 13 th century. «It was Saturday that day, and the sun was rising, and both troops met. And there was a fierce battle and there was heard a crash of broken spears and there was a sound of swords like a frozen lake ready to move. And one couldn't see ice: it was flooded with blood...» Historians consider 10-15 thousand people from both parts to have been fighting in that battle. The troops of the knights having been wedge-shaped broke through the Russian regiments but were surrounded and beaten. The famous Battle on the Ice entailed peace with the officially recognized Northwestern boundaries along the Narva River, the Chudskoye Lake, the Pivzha (Piuza) River and the Meguzitza (Meeksi) River having been in existence till the early 17 th century.
    The frontier established by Alexander Nevsky became a borderline between two civilizations: Orthodox Russia and Latin Europe. This borderline has been in existence with only minor alterations up to today.
    When leaving Pskov Prince Alexander Nevsky took an oath from the Pskovites to swear allegiance to their postrunners and they did that and later they proved it by their deeds many times. The second half of the 13 th century is connected with the name of Prince Dovmont Timophey. He came from pagan Lithuania but he was baptised and accepted as the Prince of Pskov. So he ruled Pskov for 33 years and proved his faithfullness to it. All his life was full of battles against Lithuanian and German knights. He followed the path of Alexander Nevsky, whose granddaughter, Maria Dmitriyevna, became his wife.
    A tale of Dovmont starts all Pskovian chronicles . The Dovmont's sword with its gothic blade forged in Austrian town of Passau on the Danube River was first kept in St. Trinity Cathedral next to his earthly remains as a sacred object. In the 15 th century it was used as a symbol of the coronation of the prince of Pskov. In the 15 th century Prince Dovmont was canonized. In the late 14 th century the image of Prince Dovmont with his sword was moulded on Pskov coins and seals dating back to the 15 th century.
    During the reign of Dovmont (1266-1299) a part of Posad adjasent to Detynetz was surrounded by a stone wall which was repeatedly repaired and rebuilt since then.
    In the southwestern corner of the Dovmont wall buildings of the Prince's Court emerged. In 1268 the Church of St. Timophey Gazsky, a holy protector of the prince, was built. In 1269 they constructed the Church of St. George in commemoration of the victory over Germans in 1267. On the 8th of July, 1272, they erected the Church of St. Theodore to revere Theodore Strate-lates memory. The memorial churches devoted to holy soldiers were placed in the Dovmont Wall, between the Prince's Court and St. Dmitry Solunsky Church (not remaining).
    In 1299 the German knights suddenly attacked Pskov. They destroyed unfortified posads and suburbian monasteries. The clergymen of Snetogorsky and Spaso-Mirozhsky monasteries loasaf and Vasily died from torture. Elderly Prince Dovmont with his little detachment left the town to meet the enemy and won a victory in the battle near the Church of St. Peter aud Paul. It was his last fight. Soon after that he died.

    Master Pskov

    At the beginning of the 14th century Pskov won independence from Novgorod. That act was ratified by the Bolotov Treaty, signed by Alexander Michailovich Tverskoy, then prince of Pskov (1327-1337). The essence of the treaty is known from the letter of the Novgorodians to the Pskovites dated back to 1348.
    "...Brothers - Pskovites! We fulfilled your request in Bolotov: let our posadniks not be in Pskov, let them not act as your arbitrators. Let your Pskovite administer justice and we promise not to call you from Novgorod... But you forgot our good will soon...."
    Pskov Veche became an administrative organ. It adopted Pskovian Code Legislation, other laws, and amendments to the laws. It held disputes on all vital problems of life and policy.
    It was a quite organized assembly of citizens, that was able to work on important problems few days long and to make competent decisions. Veche assemblies of the "ends" (districts), streets and suburbs of the town were subordinated to it as the head administrative body of Pskov.
    One should understand that Veche was not an assembly of common people in the full sense of the word. It consisted only of the richest and most powerful people of Pskov and the ruling elite was in control of everything. But beyond doubt it was democratic.
    It was Veche, that elected and invited a prince to the Pskov principality. In the 14 th century most princes were invited from Lithuania as two thirds of its population were Russian Orthodox people, inhabiting western Russian lands. Quite often local princes shared power with the Lithuanian princes. In the 15 th century Rostov and Suzdal princes, who turned into retainers of the Grand Prince of Moscow were mainly invited to Pskov. In comparison with Novgorod, a prince in Pskov played an important role. He was a commander-in-chief and exercised as a Supreme Arbitrator. He was a head of the Pskovian government, consisting of "namestnic" (a governor of the suburb), scribes, "pristav" (a kind of a policeman) and other prince's people-in-service. But the prince in Pskov didn't exercise the entire power. He shared his power with elected "posadnics" (a mayor) and "sotskys" (a head of a hundred people) who had been Pskovian citizens.
    Mayors who stood at the head of the municipal council were usually elected out of the limited boyar families at the Veche. Under election a mayor swore an oath: «To be a fair arbitrator, not to take bribes, not to use law for revenge, to protect an unguilty person and to punish a guilty one.» Mayors stood at the head of the Veche, they were responsible for the construction of fortress and fortifications, they concluded treaties and agreements, they had talks; they participated in trials and military affairs.
    At the beginning of the 14 th century only one mayor was elected for a life term. The first elected mayor was mayor Boris, who died in 1312. At the time of his ruling, Torg square (Market Place) was cobbled and the first posad wall and the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin in Snetogorsky monastery were built. From 30 - 40es there was elected a Board of four mayors, representing boyarship of the oldest town "ends" (districts): Gorodetzky, Bolovinsky, Ostrolavitzky and Opotsky. By the middle of the 15 th century new districts emerged in Zapskovye. The necessity of consolidation of different groups of boyars and taking into consideration the interests of the residents in the new districts entailed reforms. The political system of Pskov overlived two epochs of reforms which promoted the development of the boyar council with the mature mayors at the head. They had been elected for half a year.
    As a result of the reforms of 1406-1425 and 1460s real power got concentrated in the hands of few boyar families. The families of the Kartatchyovs, the Doynikovs, the Vinkovs, the Krotovs got their heritage power as a matter of fact.
    Side by side with the "End" System (the system of districts) there was a system of the "hundred", which united free people of low origin, so called "black people", the inhabitants of the trade and artisan districts, who happened to be in residence within the town walls. "The hundreds" having come from the ancient Slavonic communities were under the elected "sotsky". (the head of the "sotnya" - a hundred.) The "sotskies" took part in recruiting soldiers, were members of the law court, and held investigations on disputable allotments.
    The Church played a peculiar role in the public life of Pskov. 39 churches and 39 monasteries are mentioned in Pskov chronicles and private acts dating to the 14th to the early 16th centuries. In the late 15 th century nearly 36 - 38 monasteries were considered to be in existence in Pskov at the same time. Pskov wasn't just a big religion centre, it was the face of the entire Russian Orthodox Church. It was here that there was a borderline between two civilizations.
    Religious life of Pskov was dependent on Novgorodian Archibishop for a long time. He appointed his vice-gerent to Pskov. The Master himself arrived in Pskov once in four years for a month to take a contribution from Pskovian clergymen. The Bolotov Treaty had kept that tradition, that is the dependence on the Archibishop of Novgorod, but to tell the truth, they started to appoint his vicegerent from Pskovian clergymen. Archeologists have found the chancery of the vice-gerent of the Archibishop of Novgorod, dating back to the 15 th century on the underground floor of one of the buildings in Dovmont town. It showed 521 hanging plumbum seals for the documents (not preserved).

    Ancestral Lands of the Grand Prince of Moscow

    The joining of Pskov with Moscow and its inclusion into the Russian State didn't happen all of a sudden. Since the 1460s Pskov had accepted princes appointed by the Grand Prince of Moscow and he recognized Pskov to be his ancestral land. The Moscow government with amazing virtuosity used the poor Pskovites, who were unsatisfied with their boyars. Besides, it enjoyed the loyalty of the common people of Pskov.
    Beyond doubt the sharp turn of 1510 brought a lot of troubles and sorrows to the Pskovites: "On January 13 the Veche bell was removed... and the Pskovites started to cry over their old times and liberty". But on the whole the procedure went peacefully. At the same time the Pskovites didn't agree with the definition "The Capture of Pskov" by Vasili III: "We are and have always been his land, and his fathers' land and his grandfalhers' land and his great grandfather's land".
    Arriving in Pskov, Vasili III introduced severe ruling. They exiled "all top people of Pskov State": boyars and mayors, merchants and "the richest townspeople". They were granted manors in other regions. They were made fully dependent upon the will of the Grand Prince of Moscow. The Market Place was removed to the Outer town. There was introduced "tamga" - a special trade tax to increase the municipal treasury. The residential houses of the Middle town became empty and soon afterwards were inhabited by the retainers of the Grand Prince. A new administration body was established. It included 2 mayors, 2 deacons - vice-gerents in suburbs and twelve Moscovian elders and twelve Pskovian elders. The Grand Prince of Moscow got all Pskovian lands in his possession. He presented the confiscated lands to his retainers and turned them into the landowners. All land issues were under the jurisdiction of mayors, and deacons. The new officials protected the interests of the Grand Prince and of their own first of all.
    "Vice-gerents and other officials of the Grand Prince swore an oath to be fair but didn't follow their oath and were unjust and the poor Pskovites couldn't enjoy the justice of Moscow". But sometimes there were fair and educated people. The Official (Dyak) Misiur Munekhin, who had lived in Pskov for 18 years and executed the entire power in his hands, was remembered to be a fair governor. When he died in 1528, a chronicler commented: "And there were after Misiur many officials in turn and they were wise but the land was empty; and the treasury of the Grand Prince in Pskov had been growing and none of them left Pskov for Moscow on his good will but they had been constantly fighting with each other".
    The joining of Pskov and then Ryazan to Moscow accomplished the creation of the great national state of Russia and was a great historical event. Even contemporaries were able to estimate the historic importance of that event. Philophei, the monk of Eleazarov monastery in the outskirts of Pskov in his letters to Vasili III, Misiur Munekhin and Ivan IV supported the ideal of the great and united Russia with its centre in Moscov and its close connection with the rich and strong Orthodox Church. He was the author of a famous quotation: "Moscow is the third Rome". Other ideologists, though having not denied the importance of the event, feared the excessive absolute rule of Moscow. The Father-Superior of the Pechory Monastery, Reverend Kornilius, was executed by Ivan the Terrible in 1507 and his associates regarded the joining of Pskov to Moscow as an act of violence. In the Pskov chronicle book of the late 16th century the information about mutual actions of the Pskovites and the Moscovites was consciously missed and shortened. In "The Tale of the Establishing of the Pechory Monastery", written by Kornelius in 1531, there was not a word of the official Misiur Munekhin, who had given a helping hand to the monastery, but had just been mentioned "of the numerous intrigues carried on". 
    The author of the tale of the union of Pskov with Moscow feared that Pskov could come to an end: "Those foreigners, who had been living in Pskov, left for their lands as it was impossible to survive in Pskov. Only the Pskovites continued to live there as the soil wouldn't part and they couldn't fly up to the sky". 
    This apprehension didn't come true. The system of landownership, developed connections with other regions of Russia, coming of new people and the development of new ideas entailed the revival of trade, handicraft, and construction. Pskovian schools of Architecture, Arts and Applied Arts enjoyed prosperity.
    Extensive construction of the fortifications had been carried on. In the 16 th century the reconstruction of the Outer town fortifications in stone was finished. Pskov became the largest fortress in Russia. It was defended by four rings of stone walls fortified by 39 fighting towers. It was a complicated fortification system including ditches, drawbridges, gates, zakhabs, hiding-places, eavesdropping galleries, gun-loop holes with cells, watch-sites, gun-tents.
    Increased in number civil and ecclesiastical administration needed new service buildings. The beginning of the construction of imposing buildings for public needs was set up.
    In 1589 the independent Pskovian eparchy (in 1682-1717 - metropoly) was established. That administrative body had revoked council synod principles of the ecclesiastical government. The Lord's Spiritual Court in the Krom which had replaced the former Veche Square became its symbol.
    Since the 16 th century the ownership of big churches and monasteries had been enormously enlarged at the expense of the royal grants, testaments of the secular landowners, other donations and contributions. The Church got over half of the Pskovian land fund. In the middle of the 17 th century Pskov monasteries owned 2951 peasant holds, in 1700 - 2881. The ancestral lands of the Trinity bishop's hold had grown to 1154 peasant houses by 1700, those of the Pechory Monastery - up to 1073; the private domain belonging to the Snetogorsky Monastery had 382 peasant houses. The Administrative Board for the patrimonial estate management had been set up in Pskov. Under the construction there had been ensembles including churches and civil buildings: The Pechory estate with the Church of Maria Oranta, the Snetogorsky estate combined with the Church of loann the Theologian, the Eleazarov estate.
    In the early 16 th century, all over the town of Pskov and the entire Pskovian land the churches built in the traditions of Pskovian architectural style but bigger in size, had been under construction or reconstruction and restoration. The Pskov cadastre of the 1585-1587 stated of 41 churches and 46 monasteries to be in existence in Pskov, in Pskov suburbs and outskirts - 140 churches and 50 monasteries. Before the crisis, caused by the Livonian War and the siege of the 1581 - 1582 one could find a staggering sight of 120 stone cathedrals dispersed within a compact area of the town.
    In 1679 the Pskov eparchy counted 189 churches. The records going back to the late 17 th century list 49 monasteries of Pskov "uyezd" (region) (42-43 monasteries on each list) having peasant houses in their possession.
    Pskov had preserved its religious image up to the 18th century. After the pressing reconstruction under Peter the Great's reign and after the design of the regular reconstruction of the city in the 18 th to early 19 th century was confirmed in 1778, many dilapidated churches had been demolished by silent consent with the Synod in spite of the protests of the local community.
    The scale of the church building, the growth of the church treasures and its influence upon all spheres of Russian life are very impressive but they have never been a selfgoal. Even during the Moscovian period, when the Church paid special attention and energy to the outer side of its activity, the major goal had always been a spiritual hermitage. A great example to it was a heroic deed of the blessed Nicholas, who had saved Pskov from being destroyed by Ivan the Terrible's troops.
    In 1510 the private warehouses were removed from the territory of the Krom. But the yards of the common Pskovites continued to be small: according to the cadastre of the 16th century having the list of Pskovian suburbs, the average area occupied by the low-born people and soldiers in town was 41 square "sazhen" (approximately 200 sq. m) and in the suburbs - 46 square sazhen. In the vicinity appeared bigger yards of the rich Pskovites, who had to store their property at home. The yard of the landowners by the name Nazimovs, situated in the Middle Town in Velikaja (Great) street and bought for 200 roubles, covered an area of 260 square sazhen (over 1000 square meters). In that yard there stood a basement stone vaulted chamber (for storing belongings) without a floor and stoves, a lignt house with a stove, two servant houses connected with moss instead of the usual passage, a storeroom and a shed (for keeping tools). It was typical for rich yards to have stone chambers with light wooden houses for living, placed either in the basement stone chamber or close to it. At the same place they constructed servant houses and service buildings (storerooms, granaries, barns, cattle-sheds, stalls). For the rest of the yards it was typical to have a combination of a house (usually consisting of two buildings connected by a passage) with one to three service buildings. The yards of the Pskovian merchants were especially rich. The buildings of the 16th century have not been preserved up to today, they were ruined during numerous sieges and revolts. But about 20 stone residential houses dating back to the 17 th century and belonging to the Pogankins, the Menshikovs, the Rusinovs, the Podznoevs and other family dynasties remained. Due to the research work of Yu. P. Spegalsky we can create an image of those two to three story houses with thick walls, vaulted basements for storing goods, main halls for the reception of guests and wooden residential floors. 
    We've got useful and interesting information about Pskov of the 16 th to 17 th centuries from the records of foreign travellers. They describe it as a large and crowded city, full of life, with numerous churches and civil buildings. They compared it with Rome or Paris and give us exciting ethnographic details.
    I.D. Vunderer, who visited Pskov in 1590, remarked that "nearly all houses have niches above the door for the icons (moulded or painted). There was a tradition for the inhabitants to stop in front of it on entering and keeping their hat on their head, bowed to it twice with the words.... "Save me, oh, Lord..." Then, when a guest entered a house, he used to greet the host without shaking hands but giving a kiss to him, saying: "Let Our Lord grant you good health". After they made a bargain, they used to tell each other good-bye in a similar way." He gave a description of the Pskovites' garments. They wore long dresses, made of colourful cloth without pleats, white hats and red leather boots ("yuft" or Russian leather) with steel heelplates on them. It was a surprise for him to view unusual things: a copper monument on a stone basement just in front of the Kremlin. It was erected in 1491 and possibly commemorated the tsarevich Ivan, the son of the tsar Ivan III, who died in 1490; a kind of a zoo with bears, wolves and aurochs called "zverinetz"; the main hall with the ivory throne; the pagan worship place with two stone idols near the Pskov walls. Vunderer gave a description of memorial slabs dispersed all over the town (probably near churches). Those slabs bore short epitaphs, reminding one of the ceramic tiles of the Pechory Monastery. In 1586 S. Kikhel paid attention to the so called "skudelnitzy", the common burials of the poor Pskovites, known from the Russian sources and archeological finds. He had also encountered a burial procession, where according to the ancient Russian custom, the dead had to be brought in a sledge.
    Pskov, on the threshold of new times, was painted on the icons dating back to the 17 th and 18 th centuries and was drawn on the town plans of 1674, 1694 and 1740. All these sources give a vivid representation of the great medieval Russian town.

    The Guardian of the Russian Land

    The city of Pskov is a feast of fights. Its military history contains information beginning from local border skimishes and conflicts, separate marches, long - term wars, some against military coalitions, attacks and defences, sieges of Pskov and its suburbs, battles in the open field, devastation of Pskovian districts. Military actions took place both on Pskovian soil and in the neighbouring principalities.
    In the ll th and 12 th centuries Pskov had been a starting place of the attacks under Kievan Princes and later Novgorodians to the lands of Eesty and Latgal. From the 13 th to 15 th centuries Pskov was a leader in the struggle against the German knights and the Lithuanians. The Russian-Livonian border was 500 km long and the Pskovian detatchments were defending 480 km of it and 250 km of the Russian-Lithuanian border. From the 15 th to 17 th centuries the Pskovites participated in all major wars of Russia against its enemies in the north and in the west. Only after the Northern war of 1700-1721 did Pskov lose its military-strategic importance.
    During the period from the llth to the early 17 th centuries there were over 60 wars, separate operations and conflicts. Individual episodes of that struggle produced national symbols of courage and heroism.
    The defence of Pskov in 1581-1582 during the Livonian war (1558-1583) was of great historic and moral importance. The war was unleashed by Tsar Ivan the Terrible and his goal was to gain access to the Baltic Sea. The war resulted in the exhaustion of Russia. Having fought against Sweden and the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom alone, Russia found itself to be very close to utter defeat and the disintegration of the country. A decisive battle occurred at the foot of Pskov's walls.
    On August 24, 1581, a Polish army fifty thousand strong with the Polish king Stephan Bathory at its head drew near to Pskov and laid siege to the city. The beautiful panorama of a large city embraced by four rings of fortification walls, with numerous churches and rich inhabitant yards took the enemy's breath away. The secretary of the Royal Chancellery Jan Piotrovsky wrote in his diary: "I found Pskov a staggering sight! Oh Lord, what a great city! What a beautiful city! Like Paris! Help us, oh Lord, to conquer it!"
    The Pskovian garrison numbered approximately seven thousand soldiers, but the whole population of Pskov came to help. The tsar delegated command over the Pskovian troop to the experienced commander-in-chief I.P. Shuisky, to the Pskovian mayor V.F. Skopin-Shuisky and to four additional commanders. He received an oath from them not to surrender Pskov to the enemy. A.I. Khvorostinin supervised the defence of the Outer Town between the Pokrovskaya [Intercession] and the Svinuzskaya Towers, where the Polish began laying their siege of Pskov.
    While waiting for the attack, the Pskovites dug out the trench and erected an inner wooden wall.
    Before the decisive attack the blacksmith Dorofei from the Pokrovsky [Intercession] Monastery had seen a vision of the Mother of God. She appeared in the sky from the Pskov-Pechory Monastery and, standing on the town wall together with the other saints, She ordered the Mayors and the Pechory's
    Father-Superior to pray hard for Pskov and bring an "old" icon of the Dormition (dating from 1473) from the monastery to town. Then She ordered the guns to be put in the pointed places and the people to confess their sins. "And when the Son of God hears their praying and watches tears on their faces then he'll deprive that attacking king of his mind and the latter will be confused and won't make good decisions and will be defeated and then he'll leave Pskov with nothing."
    After saying that the blessed Virgin disappeared. That miraculous vision encouraged the Pskovites and the image of the God's Mother supported them in their belief of her being with them and they were able to perform unbelievable heroic deeds during the most difficult day of the siege.
    On September 7, 1581, the Poles bombed the town all day and all night and seriously damaged the wall and the towers of the Outer Town.
    In the morning at 5 o'clock the enemy detachments launched an all-out attack. The Pskovites repelled them with fire, stones, logs and hot pitch. All townspeople "from the younger to the elderly ones" fought in the battle.
    At a critical moment the women of Pskov "having flung aside their feminine feebleness" fought alongside their men. The Pskovites realized that it was here, in the Bathory's break, between the Intercession and the Svinuzskaya towers, that the fate not only of the town but the fate of all of Russia was being decided.
    The enemy managed to capture two half - destroyed towers and to break through the damaged section but they were unable to get over the moat and the inner wall. Soon the Pskovian gunners began to fire their huge cannon, called "Snowy Leopard" at the Svinuzskaya tower and "they succeded..." Then the defenders of the town penetrated underneath the tower, laid powder there and blew it up along with Stephan Bathory's intruders. On September 9th, at midnight, the invaders were finally beaten off from Pskov's walls.
    So the decisive attack on Pskov was a great failure. The further attempts of Stephan Bathory to conquer Pskov through a siege of 170 days was not a success either. The Pskovites stubbornly resisted a superior Polish siege force . The attackers recognized that their defeat was through the heroism and courage of the city's defenders. "When the Russians protect their cities they never think of life, they replace their fallen in cold blood and they barricade the breaks with their bodies. They are able to fight all day and all night. They have only bread, they are dying from hunger, but they never surrender..." On February 4, 1582, the last detachments of the Bathory's army left the unconquered town.
    N.M.Karamzin recognized the heroic defence of Pskov in 1581-1582 in his work "History of the State of Russia", using the following words: "Pskov or Shuisky saved Russia from the greatest danger. We should always remember this great service to Russia and keep it in our history if we really love our Motherland and the name of it."
    The Pskovites could hardly recover from the Livonian war when the next evil occured. In the early 17 th century, "Time of Troubles" came to the Russian land. There followed people's uprisings accompanied by treason and raids by Polish and Swedish regiments. The pretenders to the Russian throne emerged.
    In October 1612, the second volunteer corps directed by Kozma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky liberated Moscow from the Poles. In 1613, Michael Romanov was enthroned in Russia, but the war and devastation continued.
    The Swedes, having captured Novgorod, made Pskov an object of their invasion in 1615. The city had been weakened by long-term troubles. The Pskov garrison under the tsarist mayors Plestcheyev and Sobakin numbered a little more than 4000 people.
    On July 30th, the young king Gustav-Adolphus arrived in the Swedish camp at the Snetogorsky Monastery. During the parade of the seven thousand man army, the Pskovites suddenly attacked the Swedes. The Swedish general Gorn fell dead in that fight.
    So the Swedes decided to beseige the town, having first captured Russian monasteries in the outskirts. The Pskovites resisted actively, combining attacks with cannon firing.
    After being reinforced, the Swedish Army prepared to storm the city. In the middle of September, the Swedes made an attempt to break into the city from the north through the lower watergates and on the territory between the Iliinsky Gates and the Varlaam Tower but they were beaten back. On September 17, they bombed the fortifications in Zapskovye. On October 9, they fiercely attacked the Varlaam Gates and the Lower Watergates but without success. Architectural-archeological finds and investigation of the towers and walls in Zapskovye testified to the strength and the destructive power of the Swedish firing. After the enemy's retreat the whole sections were rebuilt.
    On October 17th, Gustav-Adolphus left the camp and began to withdraw his troops from Pskov. The Swedes agreed to have peace talks and later they were expelled from Novgorod, Ladoga, Porkhov, Gdov and other cities of Russia.
    The history of Pskov counts 26 sieges and raids. Among them one could distinguish between long term sieges laid by superior armed forces and short attacks by hostile detachments. But it was conquered only once - by the Livonian knights in 1240. Twice more the intruders entered the town in the course of civil wars in the early 17 th century: in 1607 - "tushintzy" (the supporters of the False Demetrius) and in 1611 – the troops of the Ivangorodsky impostor. 
    For a period of 500 years from the beginning of the 13 th century up to the early 18 th century Pskov land celebrated 129 years of millitary actions. It was a real feast of fights!
    On an average, every fourth year there were floods of Russian blood - that was a war. So Pskov can really be called a guardian of the Russian Land!


    It's possible to compare the history of Pskov with the history of Belgium, situated between the giant states in Europe: a border town and a border-state correspondingly. The frequency of conflicts, connected with the geographical position; the combination of a small area with a high percentage of urban life and craft-trade activity were also similar.
    Ancient Pskov lived through definite stages in its development like any living organism. Its infancy goes far back to the ages. Its childhood is depicted in the touching legends of Princess Olga. Its adolescence and the first attempt of self-esteem are linked with the name of Prince Vsevolod-Gavriil. Its early youth spreads across military operations of Pskov detachments under Princes Alexander Nevsky and Dovmont-Timophey. The next period was a gorgeous and creative Veche Republic, full of deep spiritual seeking and striving for its ideals. In addition, the young Pskov Veche Republic managed to expand its territory. Its maturity came under the Tsars and Grand Princes of Moscow and all of Russia. It was accompanied by great victories and achievements. There were losses and misfortunes, too. There were critical periods caused by overstrain.
    One such critical period was after the Northern war of 1700-1721. After the defeat near Narva, which had taken place on November 19, 1700, the Tsar Peter I ordered the reconstruction of the Pskov fortress within the shortest time. It was out-of-date and didn't meet modern requirements for the new war with Sweden.
    The fortification works was carried out under the supervision of the mayor V. B. Bukhvostov. The famous engineer Lomo Deshampitch had used the latest technical innovations and technological achievements brought from Europe in his work.. The tsar himself came to supervise the works. One eyewitness wrote: "... in 1701 ditches were being dug out and the churches were being demolished, walls were being built with loop-holes, and edged with turf on both sides, and the work carried out by dragoons and soldiers and by people of different ranks, both male and female. The towers were covered with earth and then the tops laid with turf and the wooden tops taken off and all over town the wooden roofs had been destroyed." Even church services had been stopped, except in the Cathedral. Many churches were hidden beneath embankment of bastions and batteries, others were demolished for their construction materials.
    The reconstruction of Pskov and other border fortresses wasn't in vain. Having recieved information on fortification works, the Swedish King Charles XII made a decision not to advance his army inland. The war had been delayed for two decades. It was a great challenge of fortune but it ended in victory with Russia gaining its political might. But...
    The steady and rapid devastation of the ancient Russian city, destroying great numbers of churches, turning monumental buildings into the archeological objects, imposing heavy taxation and hard labour duties on the inhabitants, made an oppressive impression on the observer. It was not a mere price for victory but it was a kind of inner destruction and devastation of the Russian spirit.
    Additional damage to Pskov was brought by the fire of 1710 and the plague of 1711. The foundation of St. Petersburg and joining of Riga to Russia caused the removal of trade from Pskov to the ports of the Baltic states. For the first time in its history Pskov began to lose its all-Russia importance and was removed to the historical background. Economic depression and decay of the entire city life continued up to the late 18th century. Only from the 1780s has there been trace of the revival of Pskov, first as an administrative centre, and later as a commercial and industrial one.
    In the course of the 19 th and early 20 th centuries, there was a slow but steady growth of the town, entailing an increase of the population and the size of the town up to the figures of its heyday in the 16 th and 17 th centuries. Pskov found itself in the background of the Russian Empire. It seemed to find a peaceful period of existence in comparison with its previous history full of troubles and collapses. It was a period of relaxation, a period of accumulation of strength, inner spiritual work, and cultural development.
    Even in horrors of the Civil War, collectivization, Stalin's genocide and the German invasion which flowed over Pskov in the period between 1918 and 1944, were not able to stop that process of renovation.
    The Pskovites expressed their affection and concern for their city by organizing and making generous contributions by their enthusiasm, talent and labour to rebuild the city. They not only restored the badly damaged city but also enhanced it. They challenged history.
    The fifteen century history of Pskov is far from being finished. Pskov is imbued with an aura of glamour and fashion, wealth, opulance and fame and it is ready to serve its Motherland as before. In spite of the crises of the 1990s the Pskovites are sure that the predictions of St. Olga continue to be true. In the 21 th century our city "will enjoy its fame and glory."

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