Admire the beauty of Smolensk city in western Russia!
04.11.2021

Admire the beauty of Smolensk city in western Russia!

Introduction:

Smolensk is a beautiful Russian city located in European part of the Russian federation. It is also the administrative center of the Oblast of the same name. And It is just about 360 kilometers southwest of the capital Moscow.

Historical view:

In the past, Smolensk was a key station on the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The Rus people sailed from the Baltic region up the Western Dvina River as far as they could, they portaged their boats to the upper Dnieper. Then they supposedly mended any leaks and small holes in the current location of Smolensk by using tar to do that, hence the city name.

Because of  its location on the invasion routes of the Mongol Empire, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Tsardom of Russia, First French Empire and lately Nazi Germany, the walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history.

Where did Smolensk get its name?

The name of the city comes from the name of the Smolnya River. The origin of the river’s name is less clear. On the other hand, one possibility is the Old Slavic word смоль (smol) for black soil, since the waters of the Smolnya River got their color from it. In addition to the reason mentioned in the previous section.

Geographical location:

The city is located in European Russia on the banks of the upper Dnieper River, which crosses the city within the Smolensk Upland, which is the western part of the Smolensk–Moscow Upland. The Dnieper River flows through the city from east to west and divides it into two parts: the northern (Zadneprove) and southern (center). Within the city and its surroundings the river takes in several small tributaries.

In the valleys are stretched streets, high ridges, hills, and headlands form the mountain. Smolensk is situated on seven hills (mountains). The old part of the city occupies the high, rugged left (south) bank of the Dnieper River. The area features undulating terrain, with a large number of tributaries, creeks and ravines.

Memorable Historical and Architectural monuments in Smolensk:

The city has a number of memorable historical and architectural monuments, for instance: the fortress, the church of resumption and many other beautiful places:

Smolensk fortress:

Smolensk Kremlin is an architectural monument protected at the federal level which is a fortress encloses the center of the city of Smolensk. The fortress wall was built between 1595 and 1602, during the reign of Tsars Fyodor I Ioannovich and Boris Godunov. The length of the walls is about 6.5 kilometres, but now only the less than the half remains.

Architect Fyodor Kon oversaw the construction of the fortifications. The Smolensk Kremlin has a great historical significance, in particular, as the fortress protecting the Russian state from the west over centuries, and it’s also one of the greatest achievement of Russian medieval architecture and military engineering.

The Smolensk fortress wall and its tower
In this picture, we can see the fortress wall and its tower too.

 

The church of resumption:

In 1101, Vladimir Monomakh started the first brick church. The large edifice, similar to Monomakh’s cathedral in Vladimir, took several decades to complete. And finally, the consecration of the edifice was during the reign of Vladimir’s grandson Rostislav of Smolensk in 1150. In the course of the following 500 years, the church survived numerous wars and fires. The church was badly damaged, especially during the Great Siege of the city. The building’s baroque design is impressive, especially looking up from the base of a wall. The building’s Baroque design is impressive, especially looking up from the base of the wall.

The current edifice of the Assumption Cathedral in Smolensk City
This photo shows the current edifice of the Assumption Cathedral.

 

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