Old Ryazan was the pre-Mongolian capital of the princedom of Ryazan. Its beauty was known far beyond the borders of Ryazan oblast, especially its stone cathedrals, palaces, strong walls and towers that soared above the city walls.
This town was first mentioned in the annals in 1096. According to the archaeological data, the first fortress on the Oka river was built in the second half of the 11th century. The town gradually expanded. The parts which are now known as the Middle Town, or the Ancient Town, and the Capital Town (the Southern Town) were added to the oldest part, which was located on a hard to reach but easy to defend cape between the Oka and Serebryanka rivers. Researchers say that when Ryazan was turned into the capital, it became one of the largest centers in Ancient Russia and one of a handful of heavily fortified towns.
In December 1237, an event happened that changed the history of this place forever — the army of Batyi, the grandson of Genghis Khan, approached Ryazan. The battle raged from 16-21 December. The Mongolo-Tatars succeeded in their assault, the great prince Yuri Igorevich, who was in the lead of the defense, was killed, and the bulk of the population was murdered or taken hostage.
Ever since then the place now known as Old Ryazan has never been repopulated. Gradually the capital of the princedom was moved to the town of Pereyaslavl-Ryazanskiy, which, many years later, was called Ryazan by the order of the empress Catherine the Great in February 1778.
Old Ryazan has been a location for active archaeological excavations since the last century. All the large capitals of princedoms that survived until now have suffered severe changes and lost their initial look and borders. Ryazan is a unique archaeological artifact. Numerous treasure chests, hidden by locals on the eve of the Tartar-Mongolian invasion, have been found in Old Ryazan. The ancient town of Old Ryazan takes the second place after Kiev according to the number of treasure chests containing objects made of gold and silver in the 12-13th centuries. In July 2005, a treasure chest was found that contained more than 100 silver pieces of women's jewelry dating back to the 13th century. Most of the findings form part of the exhibit in the halls of the Ryazan Kremlin.
At the moment, Old Ryazan is part of the Ryazan Historical and Archaeological Museum-Reserve.
The Tourist Portal of Ryazan Oblast / www.ryazantourism.ru
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