Pskov

One of the oldest towns in Russia, Pskov, is situated in the north-west of the Russian Federation and has internal borders with the Novgorod, Leningrad, Tver and Smolensk Regions and external borders with Belarus, Estonia and Latvia. Pskov was firstly mentioned in Russian chronicles of the 10th century. In the Middle Ages, it was not only the main strong points on the north-western frontiers of the Russian State and the capital of a wealthy principality, but one of the biggest towns in Europe. In Pskov the trade was thriving, the craft and art were rapidly developing, and the unassailable fortified walls protected the town and its citizens from the attacks of those attracted by fabulous treasure. Many of the architectural monuments of medieval Pskov you can see nowadays. The most ancient out of preserved stone buildings are the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral and Cathedral of the Spaso-Mirozhsky monastery (1156).

  

Pskov still preserves much of its medieval walls, built from the 13th century on. The Krom, or medieval citadel, looks as impressive as ever. Within its walls rises the 256-foot-tall Trinity Cathedral, founded in 1138 and rebuilt in the 1690s. The cathedral contains the tombs of saint princes Vsevolod (died in 1138) and Dovmont (died in 1299). Other ancient cathedrals adorn the Mirozhsky abbey (completed by 1152), St John's (completed by 1243) and the Snetogorsky monastery (built in 1310 and painted in 1313).

Pskov is 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: e.g., the Salt House, the Pogankin chambers, and the Trubinsky mansion. Unfortunately, the area presently has only a very minimal tourist infrastructure, and much of the city needs serious renovation.