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Pskov

City tour
Izborsk
Pechory
Mikhailovskoye

Pskov is situated at the junction of the Velikaya and the Pskova rivers. The first reference to Pskov in the state chronicles dated 903 and linked to the marriage of Kievan Prince Igor and Pskovian girl Olga who became the Grand Princess of Kiev, wise ruler and the first of the Russians who adopted Christianity. The first settlements appeared on the high steep promontory in IV-V centuries, gradually developing turned by IX-X centuries into a fort, which stood at the head of the whole Pskov land. With the name of the Grand Princess Olga connected the building of the first church in Pskov wooden Trinity Cathedral, the first in Russ Cathedral of Holy Trinity, which was the symbol of Pskov and the Pskov land. In the place Budnik near Pskov was born prince Vladimir “The Red Sun” – the Baptist of Russ.

City tour

6_206_.jpgPskov lies in the north - west of Russia, on the border with Estonia, between St. Petersburg, (Pskov is 280 km far away from St. Petersburg) and Riga (Latvian).  It was first mentioned in chronicles in 903. Olga, the first Russian Christian woman and a wise governor of Russia founded it more then 1100 years ago. Pskov - one of Russia's oldest and most beautiful cities, it boasts one of the greatest numbers of extant historical monuments - over 300. The earliest go back to the 12 th century, the latest to the early 20 th. There is a natural combination of ancient monuments (fortified walls with towers, churches and monasteries, and merchant's chambers) and modern buildings. During the city tour we will see ancient Pskov Kremlin with the Trinity Cathedral dating back to the 10th c., the Pagankin Trade yard (civilian houses, merchant chambers, currently a state Museum embracing a collection of the XII century icons and silver crafts), the tremendous Alexander Nevskiy monument at the entrance to the city, the Mirozhskiy monastery (a pearl of the Russian architecture with unique frescoes dating back to the XII century, currently under the protection of the UNESCO). Famous Russian's poet Pushkin wrote a cycle of poems in the Pskov province. Alexander Pushkin lived in the village of Mihailowskoye. The masterpieces of poetry and prose he created there have enriched the treasure-chest of world literature.

Izborsk

Under Izborsk's fortress (9 century) there still flow springs, called "the Slavensky springs". It is wonderful springs of Youth, a Love and Beauty. Outdoors, Izborsk's beauty and diversity offer fun for every season. There are still ancient caves in the Pechorsky ancient Monastery. Izborsk fortress is located 32 km west of Pskov. In The Tale of Bygone Years - the most outstanding literary work of Kievan Russia - Izborsk was mentioned in one of the first chapters, when in 862 three Varangian princes were asked by the Slavs to rule over their towns. One of them, Truvor, became a prince of Izborsk. In the 14-16th centuries Izborsk was a reliable outpost of Pskov, its "younger brother".

Pechory

Pechory (20 km of Izborsk, 52 km of Pskov) is a tiny neat town, located on the very Estonian border. Its main attraction is Pskov's Monastery of the Caves. Founded in 1473, the monastery has never been closed. The magnificent architectural ensemble of the monastery was formed over many centuries, and nowadays its extraordinary beauty makes a great impression on everyone who comes here for the first time. The perfectly preserved powerful fortress of the 16th century was an impregnable outpost in the western part of the Russian state. At the same time, the monastery was one of the largest cultural centers of ancient Russia. Chronicles and literary works were written here, as well as priceless samples of Russian painting, applied art and jewelry were made and collected by the monks. The name of the monastery was derived from the Old Russian word "pechera" meaning "cave", as the monastery originated from the caves. The caves are located in a steep sandy slope of the Kamenets Stream, in a hill that was considered as a holy site since pagan times. Amazing climatic conditions (the constant temperature in the caves is +5°C all the year round) made the caves a convenient refuge for the people who wished to live in solitude away from the distractions of the world. The ancient caves are an enormous burial vault where nearly 10 000 people are buried - monks, worries, statesmen, peasants and townspeople. The first monastery church was also a cave church. The contemporary appearance of the monastery is unusually picturesque. The fortress walls surround the wonderful architectural ensemble consisting of the churches of 15 - 19th centuries, a big belfry (with complete set of the ancient bells) and originally household constructions. Now the cloister has 11 churches, three among them are of cave type. Seventy monks live in the monastery. The monastery has a restoration of the icons, wonderful children choir.

Mikhailovskoye

120 km south-east of Pskov there stands the Holy Hills Monastery with its old Cathedral of Dormition (16th century). The greatest Russian poet of the 19th century Alexander Pushkin is buried by its walls not far away from his favorite Mikhailovskoye estate. It was here in the Pskov countryside that Pushkin's poetry was moulded and his genius flourished. The wonderful estates of Trigorskoye (the estate of the poet's friends, the Osipov-Wolf family) and Petrovskoye (the estate of Pushkin's great grandfather Abraham Hannibal) were a source of delight and wonder for the poet. At Mikhailovskoye, where Pushkin had to spend "two inconspicuous years living in exile", he wrote over 100 works including the country chapters of his major novel Eugene Onegin, the drama Boris Godunov, the lyrical poem A Magic Moment I remember… Through all his life, Pushkin carried his passionate love for Mikhailovskoye.

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