Pskovis a city and the administrative center ofPskovregion ofRussia, located about20 kilometerseast from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Pskov is one of the oldest cities in Russia. The name of the city, originally spelled "Pleskov", may be loosely translated as "the town of purling waters". First-time entry aboutPskovin the “The Tales of the Old Years” is dated of 903 AD. "...Nobody knows how longPskovcity existed, and who were it's first peoples". Archeology believes that Slavs appeared there near 5th century. They were so calledPskov's Krivitchs. The settlement was situated at the northern part of presentPskov's citadel (or Pskov's word - Krom) near river Pskova and Velikaja junction. It was administrative and culture center and had wooden fortification - ditches and high ramparts with wooden palisade on the top.
The earliest mention in 903 records that Igor of Kiev married a local woman, Olga, who later was canonized. Pskovians sometimes take this year as the city's foundation date, and in2003 agreat jubilee took place to celebratePskov's 1100-th anniversary.
The first prince ofPskovwasVladimirthe Great's younger son Sudislav. Once imprisoned by his brother Yaroslav, he was not released until the latter's death several decades later. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the town adhered politically to theNovgorodRepublic. In 1241, it was taken by the Teutonic Knights, but Alexander Nevsky recaptured it several months later during a legendary campaign dramatized in Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 movie.
In order to secure their independence from the knights, the Pskovians elected a Lithuanian prince, named Daumantas, a Roman Catholic converted to Orthodox faith and known inRussiaas Dovmont, as their military leader and prince in 1266. By the 14th century, the town functioned as the capital of a de facto sovereign republic. Its most powerful force was the merchants who brought the town into theHanseatic League.
ForRussia, thePskovRepublicwas a bridge towards Europe; for Europe, it was a western outpost ofRussia. Importance of the city made it a subject of numerous sieges throughout its history. The Pskov Krom (or Kremlin) withstood twenty-six sieges in the 15th century alone. At one point, five stone walls ringed it, making the city practically impregnable. A local school of icon-painting flourished, and local masons were considered the best inRussia. Many peculiar features of Russian architecture were first introduced inPskov.
During World War II, the medieval citadel provided little protection against modern artillery of Wehrmacht, andPskovsuffered substantial damage during the German occupation from July 9, 1941 until July 23, 1944. Though a huge portion of the population died during the war,Pskovhas since struggled to regain its traditional position as a major industrial and cultural center ofWestern Russia.Peter the Great's conquest ofEstoniaandLatviaduring the Great Northern War in the early 18th century spelled the end ofPskov's traditional role as a vital border fortress and a key toRussia's interior. As a consequence, the city's importance and well-being declined dramatically, although it has served as a seat of separate Pskov Governorate since 1777. It was at a railroad siding inPskov, aboard the imperial train, that Tsar Nicholas II signed the manifesto announcing his abdication in March 1917, and after the Russo-German Brest-Litovsk Peace Conference (December 22, 1917 – March 3, 1918), the Imperial German Army invaded the area.
The city still preserves much of its medieval walls, built from the 13th century on. Its medieval citadel is called either the Krom or the Kremlin. Within its walls rises the 78 meter-tall Trinity Cathedral, founded in 1138 and rebuilt in the 1690s. Other ancient cathedrals adorn the Mirozhsky Monastery (completed by 1152), famous for its 12th-century frescoes,St. John's(completed by 1243), and the Snetogorsky monastery (XIV century).
Pskovis exceedingly rich in tiny, squat, picturesque churches, dating mainly from the 15th and the 16th centuries. There are many dozens of them, the most notable being St. Basil's on the Hill (1413), St. Kozma and Demian's near the Bridge (1463), St. George's from the Downhill (1494), Assumption from the Ferryside (1444, 1521), and St. Nicholas' from Usokha (1536). The 17th-century residential architecture is represented by merchant mansions, such as the Salt House, thePogankinPalace, and the Trubinsky mansion.
In 2013 Pskovwelcomed Russian Hanseatic days, while in 2019 its government plans to hold 38th International Hanseatic days, which will gather together al Hanseatic cities.
Among the sights in the vicinity of Pskov are Izborsk, a seat of Rurik's brother in the 9th century and one of the most formidable fortresses of medieval Russia; the Pskov Monastery of the Caves, the oldest continually functioning monastery in Russia and a magnet for pilgrims from all over the country and Mikhaylovskoye, a family home of Alexander Pushkin where he wrote some of the best known lines in the Russian language. The national poet of Russiais buried in the ancient cloister at the Holy Mountains nearby.