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Smolensk

Catholic church in SmolenskThe Cathedral on Cathedral HillPeter and Paul Church in GorodyankeMonument to M. Glinlka

The Subject of the Russian Federation:
Smolensk Region

Federal District: The Central Federal District

Area: 166,35 km2
Population: 314 500 persons.


Description

Smolensk is a city in Russia, the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast.

The year of foundation is 863.

The city's area is 166.35 km².

The population is 314.5 thousand people (2010).

History

The first dating mention about Smolensk was occurred in Ustyugh compiled chronicle dated 863.

Emerged on the ancient trade route "from the Varangians to the Greeks" (from the Baltic to the Black Sea) in the upper reaches of  Dnieper, Smolensk, along with Novgorod and Kiev, was the third capital of the Ancient Russian State.

Smolensk was very important for whole Kievan Rus - it was the great post of trade and domestic craft industry, the military fortress. Smolensk's knyazes several times became grand knyazes of Kiev.

XII century - the beginning of XIII century is the period of prosperity of Smolensk duchy. The city was in the third place after Kiev and Novgorod in amount of pre-Mongolian architecture monuments. Trade treaties, dated the first half of XIII century between Smolensk, Riga and Gottland, give evidence of close economic and cultural relations of Smolensk with the West.

Since the middle of XIII century a series of expansionist campaigns of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and then the Grand Duchy of Moscovy has caused serious damage to the development of Smolensk region.

Its geopolitical situation has stabilized since the middle of XVI century. Smolensk was merged in the dynamically growing Muscovy, and become the western gate on the way to its capital. In order to strengthen Russian borders the largest stone fort of the state, symbolizing the greatness and power of Russian, was built in Smolensk in the early XVII century.

At the beginning of XVII century, during the Time of Troubles Smolensk played a key role in the rescue of Russian statehood. In 1609-1611 the defense of the city under command of vaivode Mikhail Shein from the army of Polish King Sigismund III destroyed the plans of this monarch to hold Russian throne, gave the time to rally the forces of Russian society. Smolensk's nobility refused to swear to Polish king and became a stronghold of the 1st and 2nd territorial irregulars.

At the beginning of XVIII century, Smolensk was one of the headquarters of Peter I, from where he has managed the construction of fortifications on the western and south-western borders of Russia during the Northern War with Sweden. Just this circumstance has predetermined the foundation of Smolensk governorate in 1708 among of the first eight Russian governorates.

Just in the territory of Smolensk governorate the war with Napoleon's army has become the first Patriotic War for Russia. Smolensk's nobility initiated the creation of people's irregular to repel the enemy, and Smolensk region became the place of mass guerrilla movement. Indeed, burning Smolensk was sacrificed at the altar of the future victory of our Motherland. After the end of the Patriotic War of 1812, towns of the governorate were in shambles. The reconstruction was delayed for many decades. In the middle of XIX century the first railroad, which contributed to growth of industrial production, had been laid in Smolensk governorate.

At the turn of XIX-XX centuries Smolensk was a well-known cultural center in the country, thanks largely to the activity of philanthropist Mary Klavdievna Tenisheva.

In 1929, Smolensk became the administrative center of the Western Oblast, which consisted of the territory of Smolensk Oblast, Bryansk Oblast, parts of Kaluga, Tver and Moscow governorates, as well as Velikoluksk district of Leningrad Oblast.

In 1937, the Western Oblast was dissolved in favor of Smolensk, Orel and Kursk Oblasts. Newly formed Smolensk Oblast with area of 72 thousand square kilometers consisted of 49 districts.

The next ordeal for our state became the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. In the battles at Smolensk Oblast German army has suffered heavy losses and has been shut down, that allowed time for preparation of the Moscow defense. During the occupation, the significant damage was caused to Smolensk and cities of the Oblast - industrial enterprises and railway junction were eliminated, architectural monuments were turned into shambles. Smolensk was included in the number of 15 cities for priority reconstruction by the Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR dated November 1, 1945.

In 1985 the honorary title of Hero-City was confered to Smolensk.

Industry

The industry of Smolensk is represented by such following lines of industries as engineering and metalworking, electrotechnical industry, production of building materials.

Transport

In the city at the end of 2011 there are 4 tram lines, 162 routes of passenger motor transport - municipal buses and private carriers - fixed-route taxis.

Smolensk is the large railway junction situated on Moscow railroad. The railway station was opened in 1868, and the modern station building was opened in 1951. The building of a suburban station that is placed opposite the station for long-distance trains was built in 2008. Modern building the bus station in Smolensk was built in 1987. At 7 km from the city the highway M-1 "Belarus" passes.

There are two airports in the city - the airport South”, which is civilian, and "North", which is joint airdrome. Currently, they are not operated.

Famous people of the city

-        Belyaev, Alexander Romanovich (1884-1942) is Soviet fantasy writer, one of the founders of Soviet science fiction

-        Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich (1804-1857) is Russian composer, founder of Russian classical music

-        Petrov, Boris Nikolayevich (1913-1980) is one of the founders of the domestic cosmonautics, an academician of the member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR

-        Potemkin, Grigoriy Aleksandrovich is the great Russian statesman

-         Tvardovsky, Alexander Trifonovich is writer.

Attractions

  • Avraamiev Monastery
  • Smolensk fortress wall
  • Cathedral mountain
  • Church of Archangel Michael
  • Assumption cathedral

Phones for communication in emergencies

Directory inquiry service (free) — 09, 20-2009

Smolensk Emergency Control Centre — (4812) 55-1190

Emergency Control Centre of STSI — (4812) 41-8871

Sources of information on tourism opportunities in the Oblast

www.admin-smolensk.ru

Sport, tourism and youth policy department of Smolensk Oblast

www.smol-tourism.ru

Smolensk's administration, the department of international and interregional relations and tourism

www.admin-smolensk.ru

Tourist guide «Smolensk Oblast You welcomes»

www.smoleparh.ru

Pilgrim service of Smolensk's eparchy

www.smolensk-travel.ru

Smolensk's touristic portal

Territorial bodies of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia

Chief Directorate of the MES of Russia for Smolensk Oblast:

Telephone: (4812) 34-99-99