Smolensk

Smolensk is a city in western Russia, located on the Dnieper River, the administrative centre of Smolensk Oblast. Situated some 360 kilometres west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history. It was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk is noted for electronics, textiles, and food processing and also for being one of Russia’s oldest cities.

OVERVIEW
Population - 0.36 million
Local time- GMT +3
Average daily temperature
January -9
July +18
Distance from
Moscow: 419 km
St Petersburg: 331 km
By train from Moscow: 14 hr

Smolensk was first mentioned in the chronicles in 863. For many cen–turies this city, which was built on seven hills, has been the key to Moscow and the guard of Western borders of Russia. In the XIII century the citizens fought with the forces of the Golden Horde, armies of Lithuanian princes in the XIV-XV centuries, Polish troops in the XVI-XVII centuries, Napoleon's army in 1812. During the World War II the city was nearly demolished. Today Smolensk is the center of industry and culture. The monuments of history and architecture that were pre–served attract thousands of tourists.

TOURS & EXCURSIONS
The City tour will strike you by the fortress wall (1596-1602) which used to go round the whole city for 6 km and by the three churches of the XII century which have survived by miracle till now. You will see the domes of the Dormition Cathedral from everywhere; you may see two relics in this cathedral the Holy Shroud ofthe XVI century that were made in the workshop of duchess Efrosiniys Staritskaya, and the icon of Smolensk Blessed Virgin Hodigitria (guardian of the travelers). There are a lot of monuments in the city dedicated to military events of 1812 and World War II.

Excursion to the former estate of Princess Maria Tenisheva (15 km from Smolensk). At the end of the XIX –beginning of the XX centuries the place was one of the centers of cultural life in Russia. The famous painters N.Roerich, M. Vrubel, K. Korovin, I. Repin, etc. worked here. Today the visitors may see the Princess's estate which was restored according to the preserved designs. A rich collection of exhibits and works of craftsmen as well as the Church of Holy Spirit attract the attention of visitors. On the front side of the church there is a mosaic of Nicholas Roerich The Holy Face.

Tour to the Novospasskoye village (museum-mansion of composer Michael I. Glinka). The mansion and the burial-vault of the Glinka family in the church ofTikhvin Blessed Virgin (1784) were restored according to the pre–served designs. The original documents and belongings of the composer's family and his relatives, scores of his world famous compositions are exhibited. The Glinkas estate is considered to be a model of the garden art of the late XVIII-beginning of the XIX centuries with the cascade of ponds and waterfalls.