Tour the Historical City of Smolensk

Approximately three hundred and sixty kilometers outside of Moscow, lies the fortified city of Smolensk. The first mention of the city was recorded in 863 A.D, making Smolensk one of Russia’s most ancient and historically noteworthy cities. As an important fortress and form of defense, Smolensk has seen many battles, such as the one described in the book 'War and Peace' by Leo Tolstoy. It involved the clashing of two super armies, one that was led by Napoleon, and took place in 1812. Many attractions in Smolensk stand in memory of these battles, as the Eagles Monument commemorates this fight.

Being a walled city, and being located on the main invasion route has resulted in the destruction of Smolensk many times over. As if the Napoleon onslaught and Polish invasions were not enough, Smolensk later faced Hitler and his armies, and set the stage for one of the largest counteroffensives, and the first of many, against the German forces, namely the Battle of Smolensk. The Air Force is still present in the city, with the Smolensk Air Base located here.

But this legendary destination in Russia does not just have monuments to heroic wars and soldiers, there are many peaceful and breathtaking attractions in Smolensk. Some of the most notable sites to visit include the St. John the Baptist Church of 1180, the Svirskaya Church that was constructed in 1197 and the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, built in 1146. These beautiful relics of the past are stunning tributes to the Smolensk dynasty that often won the Kievan throne and were responsible for the construction of the religious attractions in Smolensk.

Many famous Russians were born in the Smolensk region, which has made the city a great destination in Russia for the curious visitor. Of these legendary figures, some that come to mind include A.S. Griboedov (writer), N.M. Przhevalsky (explorer), S.T. Konyonkov (sculptor) and M.I. Glinka (composer). With an estimated population of 322 thousand residents, the city has come to be an important industrial center and tourist destination in Russia. Smolensk is known for food processing, diamond cutting, textiles, printing, electronics, educational institutions and engineering. It has become a city with a rich and heroic past, and an innovative and growing future.

 



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