The first mention goes back to 1246. The ancestral motherland of Princes Tarusskys, Obolenskys, Baryatinskys, Volkonskys, Dolgorukys, Repnins, Krivskys. In the XV century, lands of Tarusa were included into the Moscow Rus with all its numerous small apanage principalities.
For a long time, for several ages Tarusa had been a part of the so called “bank” of the fortified line along Oka, which served as an abatis line protecting Moscow from invasions of all kinds of enemies. Therefore it was fortified and had a significant garrison.
Being located away from large roads and large economic centres, which developed in different times, it has always been a secluded, cosy place, more appropriate for quiet and level life, hunting, fishing, treatment with quietness and peace, rather than development of industry and economics.
At the end of the XIX century Tarusa and its picturesque surroundings were popular among painters, writers, musicians, people of art. The town has been a writers’ and painters’ Mecca of Podmoskovye for the entire last XX century. Painters Polenov and Borisov-Musatov, poets Tsvetaeva and Zabolotsky, writers Paustovsky and Kazakov, musicians Igumnov and Richter. Tarusa has entered the history of world cultures as Russian Barbizon.
Today Tarusa is a cultural and scientific centre, town of museums, arts and crafts. Writers, painters, musicians, film directors, artists, singers live and create their works and images here. Many of them, having houses and summer houses, live here permanently, making rare visits to Moscow.
In different times of the year, Tarusa organises regular Tsvetaeva readings, Paustovsky festivals, festivals of the Tarussa Foundation of Svyatoslav Richter, festivals of TV motion pictures and programs Berega, art plein air Musatovskaya osen.
There are several dozens of historic, cultural and architectural monuments in the town. House museum of Konstantin Paustovsky, cenotaph of Marina Tsvetaeva, tomb of painter Viktor Borisov-Musatov. Oka and its picturesque banks has been the most magnificent, living creation of nature, constantly attracting views and spirit, for many centuries.