city of PSKOV 3
Pskov (Псков) — administrative center of Pskov Region in North-Western Russia.
200 thousands (2004); geographic coordinates 57°50´ N, 28°20´ E.
Pskov is situated at both banks of River Velikaya, at the confluence of River Pskova.
Historically, the city is subdivided into the Center (the right bank of River
Velikaya and the left bank of River Pskova), Zapskov'e (the right bank of River Pskova),
and Zavelich'e (the left bank of River Velikaya).
|What to see|
Time required: at least a day (not counting the surroundings).
Why to visit Pskov: Pskov and close surroundings are famous for their unique monuments of art and architecture, which are created in special Pskov style in 11th-17th centuries. Excellent views of Kremlin, city wall and churches at both banks of River Velikaya.
Kremlin from Zavelich'e. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Kremlin from Zavelich'e. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Kremlin (Krom), an ancient Russian fortress, is situated
at the confluence of Rivers Pskova and Velikaya, at the right bank of River Velikaya.
It consists of two parts. The first one is the inner fortress (Kremlin proper) with
Troitsky Sobor (Trinity Cathedral). Next to the
cathedral, there is former veche square, where
veche was held in ancient times. The second part is
the external Dovmont fortress. Unlike the majority of other Russian
fortresses, Pskov was involved in military action until 18th century. This is
why the city conserves a lot of fortifications, many of them dating back from
The fortress wall. At the foreground
City fortifications. Beside the walls surrounding Kremlin, also the external wall is preserved. It encloses the whole city center and crosses River Pskova twice. At the places of the crossings used to be arcs with bridges above and grilles below — hence the names Verkhnie and Nizhnie Reshetki (Upper and Lower Grilles). Partially conserved Pokrovskaya Bashnya (Intercession Tower, 16th century) has a circumference of 90 meters and is the biggest fortress tower in Europe. The following parts of the wall are preserved and partially restored: From Pokrovskaya Bashnya to Petrovskaya Bashnya (St. Peter Tower) and to Mikhaylovskaya Bashnya (St. Michael Tower), a piece in Zapskov'e from Gremyachaya Bashnya to Varlaamskaya uglovaya Bashnya (St. Varlaam corner Tower) and eventually to Vysokaya Bashnya (Tall Tower), which is located just opposite to Kremlin, and also a piece along the bank of River Velikaya up to Mstislavskaya Bashnya (Mstislav Tower). Almost all of them were built in 16th century. Next to Pokrovskaya Bashnya there is so called Batory Gap — a part of the wall was destroyed by the cannons of Polish king Stephan Batory during the siege of Pskov in 1581. To the South of the Gap there is the monument commemorating 300 years of the Pskov siege (1881, architect Kislinsky).
Civil architecture. A relatively big number of preserved
merchant houses — stone palaty (singular —
of 17th century — remind us of a long gone wealth of Pskov. Monuments of civil
architecture of that time are very rare for Russia (most of the buildings at the time
were wooden and did not survive), and in Pskov in particular we have
a large collection of buildings erected at approximately the same time
and in the same very recognizable style. No other Russian town or city has this. Palaty
have two or three floors, of which only the upper one had living rooms;
they are painted in white and decorated by recognizable porches. We only list
the best preserved ones. In the Southern part of the city center, next to Ploshchad'
Pobedy, one finds
(House of Pogankin, Ulitsa Nekrasova, 7),
Pervye i Vtorye palaty
Menshikovykh (Fist and Second Houses of Menshikov Family,
Sovetskaya ulitsa, 52), Tret'i palaty
Menshikovykh (Third House of Menshikov Family, Ulitsa Nekrasova, 10а),
palaty u Sokol'ey Bashni
(House at the Falcon Tower, Komsomol'sky pereulok, 5), and
palaty na Romanovoy Gorke
(House on St. Roman Hill, Sovetskaya ulitsa, 52; considerably rebuilt in
18th and 19th centuries). At the left bank of River Pskova we can see
palaty Yamskogo (House of
Yamskoy, ulitsa Vorovskogo, 6),
palaty Gur'eva (House
of Gur'ev, ulitsa Krasnykh Partizan, 10),
(House of Rusinov Family, ulitsa Karla Marksa, 10, not restored),
(House of Pechenko, ulitsa Gogolya, 43), and
Solodezhnya — palaty
Lapina (Malt Store — House of Lapin, ulitsa Gogolya, 42; in 19th
century was rebuilt and used as a storehouse). There are also palaty in Zapskov'e:
(House of Postnikov Family, ulitsa Olega Koshevogo, 2) and
(House of Trubinsky Family, ulitsa Leona Pozemskogo, 22, rebuilt in 18th and 19th
centuries). At Gremyachaya Gora Hill in Zapskov'e the building of a
Tanning factory from 17th century is
Tserkov' Nikoly na Usokhe
Ecclesiastical architecture. The most remarkable part
of Pskov architectural heritage — old churches, white, with one dome, very
typical bellfries (sometimes they stand apart, sometimes are mounted at the roof) and
porches. These features make a sharp contrast to other monuments of Russian
architecture of the same time and make possible to talk about Pskov architecture
style. The city preserved churches of 12th — 15th centuries. In the major part
of Russia all buildings of that time were destroyed by Mongols and eventually by
the wars Russian princes fought against each other. Many Pskov churches were part
of monasteries which are currently destroyed or abolished.
Sobor Ioanna Predtechi
In Zapskov'e: Tserkov' Kos'my i Damiana s Gremyachey Gory (Church of St. Cosima and Damian from Gremyachaya Gora, 1540 — Gremyachaya Gora); Tserkov' Bogoyavleniya s Zapskov'ya (Epiphany Church in Zapskov'e, 1494, with a separately standing five-column bellfry — ulitsa Gertsena, 7); Tserkov' Nerukotvornogo Obraza s Zhab'ey Lavitsy (Church of the Redeemer Not Painted by Human Hands at Zhab'ya Lavitsa, 16th century, regular services — Pervomayskaya ulitsa, 27); Tserkov' Kos'my i Damiana s Primost'ya (Church of St. Cosima and Damian at the Bridge, 1463, ulitsa Leona Pozemskogo, 5); Tserkov' Il'i Mokrogo (Church of St. Iliya the Wet, 1677, rebuilt in 19th entury, regular services — ulitsa Volkova, 9); Tserkov' Voskreseniya so Stadishcha (Resurrection Church from Stadishche, 1532, regular services of the Old Believers Church — ulitsa Nabat, 4a); Tserkov' Varlaama Khutynskogo (Church of St. Varlaam of Khutyn', 1495, regular services — ulitsa Leona Pozemskogo, 53).
In Zavelich'e: Tserkov' Uspeniya u Paroma (Assumption Church at the Ferryboat, 1521, with a separately standing bellfry, regular services — Rizhsky prospekt, 2, at the St. Olga Bridge opposite to Kremlin); Sobor Ioanna Predtechi (Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 1240, the only preserved Pskov church which was built in the Novgorod architectural style, regular services — ulitsa Maksima Gor'kogo, 1, at the bank of River Velikaya downstream from Kremlin); Tserkov' Zhen-Mironosits (Church of the Holy Myrrh Bearing Women, 1546, regular services — at Mironositskoe Cemetery, Kommunal'naya ulitsa, 11); Tserkov' Nikoly ot Kamennoy Ogrady (Church of St. Nicholas at the Stone Wall, 16th century, regular cervices — ulitsa Rozy Luxemburg, 17); Tserkov' Klimenta ( St. Clement Church, 16th century — Ol'ginskaya naberezhnaya, 16, on the bank of River Velikaya). A miniscule Chasovnya Anastasii (Chapel of St. Anastasia, 1911 — Rizhskaya ulitsa) next to St. Olga bridge, was designed by a famous Russian architect Aleksey Shchusev, and painted inside by no less famous painter Nikolay Roerikh.
There also churches outside the city center. Next to Pokrovskaya Bashnya there is the
only survived Pskov wooden church,
Tserkov' Varvary Velikomuchenitsy
(Church of St. Barbara the Martyr, 1618, regular services — ulitsa
Plekhanovsky Posad). In the same part of the city, Petrovsky Posad, at Dmitrovskoe
Cemetery, one finds Tserkov'
Dmitriya Mirotochivogo (Church of St. Demetrius, 1534, regular services
— ulitsa Plekhanovsky Posad, 74). At the left bank of River Pskova, among
modern buildings, stands Tserkov'
Nikoly Chudotvortsa v Lyubyatove (Church of St. Nicholas the Wondermaker
at Lyubyatovo, 15th century, regular services). In the North-Western part of
Pskov, there is Tserkov' Ioanna
Bogoslova na Misharinoi Gore (Church of John the Evangelist at Misharina
Gora, 1547 —
Alleynaya ulitsa, 1). In Tsarevskaya Sloboda (right bank of River Pskova)
— Tserkov' Konstantina
i Eleny (Church of St. Constantin and St. Helen, 16th century,
regular services — Krasnogorskaya ulitsa, 36). Finally, to the South of the city
center, in Alekseevskaya Sloboda neighborhood, next to Ploshhad' Pobedy, there is
Tserkov' Alekseya s Polya
(Church of St. Alexios from the Field, 1540 — Sovetskaya
Tserkov' Uspeniya u Paroma.
Mirozhsky Monastery is situated in Zavelich'e,
at the confluence of rivers Mirozha and Velikaya, across the river from
Pokrovskaya Bashnya. It was founded in the middle of 12th century. In
(Transfiguration Cathedral, 1156), the oldest building in
Pskov, unique frescoes of 12th century are preserved.
Only a handful of monuments of Russian culture from that time survived to our days.
Frescoes are open for public, but may be closed due to the weather conditions (too humid
or too cold). Even if there is no general access, usually the organized
groups are admitted to the frescoes. In this case, it is usually
possible to buy a ticket in the office and join one of the groups. Phone
(8112) 46-73-02, open 11:00 — 17:30, closed on Monday and the last
Tuesday of each month.
Snetogorsky Monastery (Snyatnaya Ulitsa) is situated in the Northern part of the city, at the high bank of River Velikaya Snyatnaya Gora). It was founded in 12th century, in 1993 returned to the Church and transformed in the female monastery. In Rozhdestvesnky Sobor (Nativity Cathedral, 1310) frescoes from 1313 survived. The monastery contains also Tserkov' Nikolaya Chudotvortsa (Church of St. Nicholas the Wondermaker, 1519) and the monastery walls of 17th century. Next to the monastery (direction city) there is Tserkov' Petra i Pavla na Breze (Church of St. Peter and St. Paul at the Birch, 15th century, regular services) of former Sirotkin Monastery. To get there: take bus #1 to the terminal station (Snyatnaya Gora).
Pskov State Museum-Reserve of History, Architecture, and
Art. Before WWII it was one of the best museums in Russia, but during the
war the major part of the collection was destroyed or moved to Germany. After the
war, the new collection was formed from various funds. The museum occupies
several buildings, of which five are located in Pskov. The main building
— Pogankiny palaty — contains the following expositions:
Pskov Icons of 14th — 19th century (unique collection, in several rooms);
Art Gallery (Russian painting of 18th — 20th centuries, many famous
Russian artists are represented; the building was renovated in Summer 2003);
Russian silver art of 16th — 20th centuries (one of the biggest collections
in Russia); Folk art; and also exhibitions devoted to Pskov history prior to 17th
century and during WWII. The museum also includes Prikaznye Palaty in Kremlin
(Pskov history during the Northern War of 1700 — 1721 between Russia and
Sweden; the interior of the Departmental Chamber is also restored). Other buildings
which belong to the museums are Spaso-Preobrazhensky sobor of Mirozhsky Monastery,
Tserkov' Nikoly na Usokhe and Tserkov' Pokrova ot Proloma.
Museum-Apartment of Yury Spegal'sky. Address: Oktyabr'sky prospekt, 14, apt. 74. Phone: (81122) 2-47-91. Opening hours: Wednesday 14:00 — 18:00, Saturday 14:00 — 17:00. Yury Pavlovich Spegal'sky was an artist, restorer and researcher of Pskov medieval architecture. The exposition shows documents and photos, art objects, including those made by Spegal'sky himself; a collection of tableware and toys.
Lenin Museum. Address: ulitsa Lenina, 3. Phones: (81122) 2-21-02, 2-97-57. "Iskra" printing press — pereulok Iskry, 5, phone: (8112) 72-48-96. Opening hours: 11:00 — 17:30, closed on Wednesday. The apartment used by Lenin when he lived in Pskov in 1900, after returning from the exile in Siberia. Furniture restored; there is an exposition featuring history of the Bolshevik (later Communist) party. The former printing press of the Bolshevik illegal newspaper "Iskra".
Railway museum. Address: Vokzal'naya ulitsa, 38, phone: (81122) 9-66-32. Opening hours: 10:00 — 18:00 daily May through October; 11:00 — 17:00 (Saturday 11:00 — 15:00, Monday and Tuesday closed) November through April. It is subordinate to the Central Museum of Oktyabr'skaya Railway (the one with the office in Saint-Petersburg).
Surroundings of Pskov feature a number of remarkable monuments of history and
architecture. However, most of them are hard to reach by public transportation. Be
prepared that if you do not have a car and you are not willing to pay for a taxi,
visiting any of them can easily take a day including the travelling time.
Vybuty3— a place where Princess Olga was born. It is situated at the left bank of River Velikaya 15 km upstream from Pskov. Vybuty used to be a location of a strategically important ford across the river. Tserkov' Il'i Proroka (Church of St. Ilia the Prophet, 15th century) is preserved. One gets to Vybuty either by feet from Pskov along the river bank, or by car (road to Palkino, after the railway crossing at the exit from Pskov one continues straight for 8 km and then looks for the sign to the church). There is apparently no public transportation, but one can walk 2 km from the road Pskov - Palkino.
Spaso-Eleazarovsky Monastery2— female, 30 km to the North of Pskov in the village of Elizarovo. The monastery was founded in 1425 as male. One of the famous monks here was Filofey, known for his formula that Moscow is the third Rome: Two Romes (meaning Rome and Constantinople) are gone, the third currently exists, and the fourth one will never materialize. Sobor Trekh Svyatiteley (Cathedral of Three Saints, 1574). To get there: by car (the highway to Gdov transits Elisarovo) or by bus.
Tserkov' Nikoly v Ust'e3(Church of St. Nicholas in Ust'e, 15th century, regular services) is situated at the left bank of River Velikaya at the place where it flows into the Lake of Pskov, 16 km North of the city. It is wonderfully embedded in the landscape. Delta of River Velikaya contains about 40 islands. To get there: Only by car.
Ioanno-Bogoslovsky Krypetsky Monastery2— male, 25 km North of Pskov. It was founded in 1485. Tserkov' Savvy Serbskogo (Church of St. Saba of Serbia, 1547). To get there: only by car (highway to Gdov, watch out the signs).
Tserkov' Uspeniya v Melyotovo3(Assumption Church at Melyotovo, 1462) contains frescoes from 1465. It is a part of Pskov State Museum-Reserve, but we could not understand whether it has any regular opening hours. The church is situated 40 km East of Pskov. Geographic coordinates 57°49´ N, 28°57´ E. To get there: by car (highway to Porkhov, turn left to Veshki).
Videleb'e2— the birth place of Ephrosine, the founder of Spaso-Eleazarovsky Monastery. Another saint, Nikandr of Pskov, a founder of Nikandr Monastery and one of the most adored Pskov saints, also was a native of Videleb'e. It is situated 30 km South-West of Pskov, at the bank of River Cherekha, close to the highway to Porkhov (Karamyshevo). Tserkov' Nikoly v Videleb'e (Church of St. Nicholas at Videleb'e, 16th century, rebuilt in 20th century, regular services).
Tserkov' Pokrova pogosta Znakhlitsy2(Intercession Church of the pogost of Znakhlitsy, 15th century, rebuilt in 19th century, regular services). Znakhlitsy is a former pogost — a country churchyard — which is now a part of the village of Bolotovo, 30 km South-East of Pskov. To get there: by car (highway to either Porkhov or Ostrov, then turn to the road P59 and watch out for the sign to Nazimovo) or by bus.
Time: Moscow time (GMT +3).
Where to eat. The list of cafés and restaurants of Pskov (in Russian) can be found here. We did not have opportunities to investigate all of them, but can recommend Café Cheburechnaya, Oktyabr'sky prospekt, 10a, Georgian cuisine, lunch around 200-300 roubles per person (August 2003).
Where to stay. Reasonable quality for an affordable price is not
the strongest point of Pskov hotels. If you arrive from Moscow
for a day, you can take two overnight train trips. If you plan to visit Izborsk,
it might be a good idea to stay there. Note that we do not have any information
whether these hotels could register your visum (if you are staying for more than
three days; check with the hotel).
|Photo — Kremlin|
Troitsky Sobor (Trinity Cathedral, 1682—1699). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter.
Photo: Yaroslav Blanter.
Photo: Yaroslav Blanter.
Photo: Yaroslav Blanter.
© Photo by the authors
|Photo — City|
A typical scene in the city center. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter.
Tserkov' Vasiliya na Gorke (Churh of St. Basil on the Hill, 16th century). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter.
Tserkov' Georgiya so Vzvoza (Church of St. George from Vzvoz, 1494). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter.
© Photo by the authors
Author of this page: Yaroslav Blanter. Acknowledgements: Dmitri Fokin,
Vasili Shelemin (eeyore), Vadim Zhivotovsky, Tatyana Leyfer. Last updated: 29.03.06.
2005 © Guide to Russia (Authors). All Rights Reserved.