Feb 14, 2011

from the Varangians to the Greeks | Russia

This postcard was sent by Larisa from Smolensk, Russia, via postcrossing [RU-306026]. It shows the tower "Gromovaja" of the Smolensk fortress wall, the monument to architect F. S. Kon.

Smolensk is one of the ancient Russian towns. Having been founded on the ancient rout «from the Varangians to the Greeks», it is a contemporary to Kiev and Novgorod. By the time of the first reference about Smolensk in chronicles of Ustug (863), the town had already been a great town with plenty of people. The finds in the krivichies' settlements testify about the antiquity of Smolensk civilization. This settlements are known as burialmounds in Gnesdovo. As a result of archaeological excavations, an earthenware pot with the super-scription «gorouscha» was found. This superscription means «mustard». It is the oldest superscription made before the middle of the X century.
The Smolensk principality reached the apogee of its power in the XII century. Till now the unique monuments of temple architecture dominates the town. They are: Peter's and Paul's Churches, the Churches of the St. John the Theologian and of the Archangel Michael.
A power splash in architectural activity was in 1596–1602. These were the years when the famous Smolensk fortress wall, the creation of the architect Fyodor Kon, was erected.
For many centuries Smolensk played an important role in the defense of the Russian State. In difficult times of Mongolo-Tatar yoke the town Smolensk, «chosen by God» didn't surrender the enemy. It withstood the lethal onslaught of Lithuanians and Polish interventions, became a tough nut for Napoleon.
And even during the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945) the town fulfilled its historical mission as a shield on the way of the German-fascists army, which tried to annex Moscow. Smolensk got the title of the «Hero-town», which well-deserved crowned its glorious war history. [Smolensk]

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