Pskov has preserved much Pre-Mongol architecture (many Russian cities lost the better part of their Pre-Mongol architectural monuments due to the Mongol invasion and the feudal disunity of Rus).

Pskov Fortress

Pskov Fortress includes the Pskov Kremlin (“Krom” is the ancient Russian name for the Kremlin) and defensive walls to protect its other districts. The “Dovmont Town” wall (1266) withstood the ravages of time best of all.

There is also the majestic Trinity Cathedral (the end of the seventeenth century) and the Mandative Chambers (1693-95) on the territory of the Pskov Kremlin.

iconostasis by Father Zenon, Pskov cathedral

Iconostasis by Father Zenon, Pskov cathedral / Andrew Gould (CC BY 2.0)

The Pskov Kremlin and the Trinity Cathedral

The Pskov Kremlin and the Trinity Cathedral / Anton Cherniak

The Holy Transfiguration Mirozh monastery

This is a traditional Russian monastery of the Pre-Mongol period (1148-1153). Its frescoes of the twelfth century are of particular interest. Perhaps they were painted by Byzantine masters who were specifically invited to do the job. The Holy Transfiguration Mirozh monastery hosts the Russian largest collection of the frescoes dated back to the twelfth century. However, it is quite hard to figure out visitation hours to get inside the monastery and to see the frescoes.

The preserved architecture of Pskov

Unfortunately, the preserved architectural monuments (the most of them were seriously damaged during World War II) are situated at some distance from one another, but they can be reached in the course of unhurried walk. A special attention should be paid to the Noble Head’s House (the end of the seventeenth century), Menshikov’s Chambers (XVII), Pogankin’s Chambers (XVII), the Old Post Office (1793) and others.

Legendary underground Pskov does exist. Below the defensive fortification people built special underground tunnels – the so-called “hearing spots”. They were used to prevent possible undermining since it was a popular way to capture fortresses. People were sitting in these “hearing spots” and listening to the sounds of digging. If they heard some suspicious activity, they could make an ambush or put a powder charge to explode the besieging team of engineers.

The Gremyacha (Kosmodemyanskaya) Tower

The Gremyacha (Kosmodemyanskaya) Tower formed the defensive system of Pskov. According to a written source, the tower was commissioned by the Grand Prince Vasily Ivanovich, and it was finally built in 1525.

As per the legend, there is a sepulcher hidden under the 20-meter Gremyacha Tower. A young and beautiful princess is sleeping in its darkness surrounded by an abundant portion.

Although this princess is lying motionless, she is not dead. Her cheeks are bright red and her face is still gorgeous. She is charmed, but she can be saved.

To wake her up, a young man with pure heart must enter the tower and read the psalter for twelve nights in a row. If he succeeds, the underground chambers will open their doors and set the young and healthy princess free from dark magic.

However, no one has managed to endure these twelve nights. Each candidate became gripped by mortal fear and fled the Gremyacha Tower.

The Gremyacha Tower

The Gremyacha Tower / StasyDaw (CC BY-SA 3.0)

***

The so-called Pushkin Hills (Pushkinskiye Gory) and Mikhaylovskoye manor are situated not far from Pskov. There the best-known Russian writer and poet Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin created the better part of his works. In the nearby village Sigovomozhno you can get acquainted with the patriarchal culture of the small-numbered Setos (the Chuds of Pskov) from north-western Russia. 

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