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Pskov Oblast , Pskov

Pskov Kremlin

The Pskov Kremlin is located on a high cape, where the Pskova River flows into the Velikaya River. At the heart of the Kremlin stands the city's main temple — the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The first settlement appeared here in the middle of the 1st millennium of the Common Era. It was founded by western-Finnish tribes. In the 6th-7th centuries the Slavic people Krivichi came to these lands and made them their home. In the 10th century the settlement became a city, whose residents practiced crafts and commerce.

The triangle-shaped fortress was protected in a natural way by two rivers — the Velikaya and Pskova. On the third side it was protected by a deep moat with a strong wall above it. The wall was called Persi, «breasts» in the old Slavonic language.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral became the heart of the land of Pskov. The local «veche» (popular assembly) gathered near its walls. The cathedral housed the chronicles, the most important documents, and the city's treasury. Princes were crowned in the cathedral, prayers were recited when sending the city's defenders off to war and when welcoming them back after victories and defeats.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral was erected by order of Grand Duchess Olga the Russian in the middle of the 10th century. It was a wooden church, perhaps the first in Russia to be consecrated in the name of the Holy Trinity. In the 12th century prince Vsevolod Gavriil ordered the erection of a stone catherdral in its place. The most impressive was the third Holy Trinity Cathedral, built in 1367. It played a major role in development of the local architecture.

The current Holy Trinity Cathedral is the fourth. It was built in 1699 according to common Russian and Moscow traditions. There are six altars under its roof. The crypt of the cathedral houses the burial vaults of Pskov princes and bishops. The cathedral's silver iconostasis is a showpiece of Russian art of the 17th century. The most revered of the cathedral's treasures are the shrine with relics of Pskov saints, miracle-working icons and the Olga Cross.

Veche Square was the center of medieval Pskov political and social life. Here, near the walls of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the veche, the popular assembly that ruled all of the land of Pskov, was a hive of activity. The veche had rights to make peace and declare war, appoint posadniks (governors of medieval Russian city-states), approve laws, and pass decisions about construction and taxes. It was at the veche's assemby where the «Pskov Charter», one of the first legal documents of Old Rus, was adopted.

In January 1510 the veche bell rang for the last time here, gathering the Pskov citizens to the square, to accounce Prince Vasily's III will. It said that Pskov had become part of the state of Moscow.

To the south from the Kremlin lies the so-called Dovmont city. Its name originates from the Prince Dovmont who ruled Pskov in the second half of the 12th century. Lithuanian by birth, he was baptized as Timofey and was respected for being a wise ruler, warrior, and builder. After his death he was considered the city's heavenly protector. Prince Dovmont's sword is kept in the sacristy of the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

From the 13th century to the early 16th century, Dovmont city was the religious and state administrative center of the land of Pskov. The Dovmont city architectural ensemble is completely unique for Rus. It now consists of fortress walls, the Holy Gate tower, the foundations of ten ancient temples, a number of civil buildings found by archaeologists, the 17th century administrative building, and the 19th century consistory.

In the 14th-16th centuries Dovmont city looked quite different. There were more than a dozen cathedrals, each representing a district or suburb of Pskov. Dovmont city also served as a necropolis — the best of the Pskov citizens were buried near its walls.

An astonishing discovery was made during archeological excavations in the eastern part of Dovmont city: three temples preserved to the level of their ceilings, revealed more than 150 square meters of truly wonderful fresco painting by Pskov artists of the 14th-15th centuries.

Official site of the Tourist Information Center of Pskov Oblast / tourism.pskov.ru




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