History of Pskov

Pskov is the capital of Pskov region. It is the only region which borders at once with three states - Estonia, Latvia and Belarus. The city is situated 689 km from Moscow on the banks of two rivers: Velikaya and Pskova.

Pskov is a tourist center of the northwestern region of Russia. First and foremost, this is facilitated by its rich historical and cultural heritage. On the territory of the Pskov region, there are 372 monuments of federal significance, 3588 monuments of local importance, and 475 newly identified heritage sites, many of which are real the masterpieces of architecture, serving as a testament to the skill of Russian architects pf the 12th -19th centuries. There are also 22 museums and exhibition halls, 2 theaters, 2 concert halls and 16 other entertainment facilities that are open for the general public.  

Rich cultural life of the city is frequently used to attract the tourists. All-Russia Masleniza is an example of such cultural event. Another example is the 39th International Hanseatic Days in Pskov (scheduled for 2019). Preparation and the management of this event is an important task for the city and the region.  

Pskov Judicial Charter

Pskov is one of the oldest cities in Russia. Its earliest mention comes in 903, which records that Igor of Kiev married a local lady from village Vybuty, Olga, afterwards known as St. Olga.

In Pskov the veche assembled in the court of the Trinity cathedral and continued until 1510. It played an important role in external and domestic policy of Pskov.

In 1397 the Pskov Judicial Charter was issued. It was based on certain resolutions of the Pskovian city assembly or veche, princely decrees, provisions of the Russkaya Pravda and common law. It, along with the Novgorod Judicial Charter, was an important source for the Sudebnik of 1497.

Military history

Pskov is a unique fortress city. As centuries swept by, it grew its fortification ring-walls, and finally surrounded itself with 5 of those appeared consequently from the very beginning of the foundation till XVI century. In XII – XVI centuries there were 20 sieges of Pskov.  In 1581, during the Livonian war between Russia and Poland, Pskov was sieged by the Polish troops of King Stefan Batory. 

Joyning the Moscow state

Pskov initially rose as a trade and craft town, which also had an important strategic importance. Until 1650 (which is 150 years after it was appended to Moscow) Pskov issued its own coins. The city developed its unique school of icon painting, which is easily distinguishable even from the closest one in Novgorod.

Positioned on the crossroads of trade routes, Pskov was the open gate to Russia for foreign merchants, and the largest partner to the Hanseatic Union. It grew and developed year after year, and in the course of several centuries it was a powerful city state — the Veche Republic of Pskov. By 1510, when Pskov was annexed to Muscovy and adjoined the unified Russian state, it was practically as rich and as big as the nowadays Russia’s capital.

The name of Ordin-Nashchokin is connected to Pskov. Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin was the son of a poor official from Pskov which became one of the most important Russian statesmen of the 17th century. It was Ordin-Nashchokin who first abolished the onerous system of tolls on exports and imports, and brought together Russian merchants with the aim of promoting direct commercial relations between Sweden and Russia. He also initiated a postal system between Russia, Courland and Poland, and introduced gazettes and bills of exchange into Russia.

Pskov Governorate in XIII-XIX centuries

Peter the Great's conquest of Estonia and Latvia during the Great Northern War in the early 18th century spelled the end of Pskov's traditional role as a vital border fortress and a key to Russia's interior. As a consequence, the city's importance and well-being declined dramatically, although it has served as a seat of separate Pskov Governorate since 1777.

Due to opening the railway connection between Pskov and Riga and Pskov and Bologoye in 1889 and 1897 correspondingly, Pskov became a huge transport hub which fostered the economic development of Pskov Governorate. In Pskov Tsar Nicholas II signed the manifesto announcing his abdication on March 2-3, 1917.

In XIX century Pskov was a cradle of Russian culture. Russian historian Vasily Tatishchev spent his childhood in Pskov, the agriculturist Andrey Bolotov visited the city. A famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin used to work in Mikhailovskoye village, in Pskov region were created the musical masterpieces by Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  A famous Russian symbolist poet Fyodor Sologub used to live in Velikiye Luki in the end of XIX century. 

Pskov in XX century

During I World War in 1914-1918 Northern Front Headquarter was located in Pskov. In March 2, 1927 Nicholas II signed the manifesto announcing his abdication and on November 1, 1917 Soviet regime came in force in the city.

In 1918 Pskov for 9 months was occupied by German army.Post-revolution Pskov did not differ from its neighbouring cities.

During World War II Pskov suffered substantial damage during the German occupation from July 9, 1941 until July 23, 1944. However, many ancient buildings, particularly churches, suffered destruction before the Wehrmacht could occupy the city. Though a huge portion of the population died during the war, Pskov has since struggled to regain its traditional position as a major industrial and cultural centre of Western Russia. For heroic deeds of its citizens Pskov was awarded a title “City of Military Glory”.

After the II World War Pskov was rebuilt. Nowadays   It is like an open-air museum. Guests and citizens of Pskov are interested in great cultural and historical heritage of the city. Tourism industry includes well-developed hotel network, a range of cafes and restaurants, sights and entertainment. Travel agencies serve more than ten thousand of tourists per year.