Torzhok was firstly mentioned in the Russian chronicles in 1139 as the town called “Novyi Torg” (literally translated as “a new market”). It was founded by the merchants from Novgorod (Novgorod along with Kiev was a political center of Ancient Rus one thousand years ago).
Torzhok lies to the north of Moscow on the road to Novgorod. Due to its favorable location, the town was used as a trading center. Being a neighbor of Moscow, Torzhok was drawn into several feudal wars and was persistently devastated by the Tartar raiders (more than twenty times!).
Konstantin Gorbatov, “Torzhok” (1917)
After the Russian capital was transferred to Saint Petersburg, Torzhok became a crucial town on the way from this new political center to Moscow.
Today Torzhok is mostly known as an old Russian town which was repeatedly visited by the greatest Russian poet and writer Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin. It seems as if Torzhok froze in time…
The houses in Torzhok usually consist of one or two storeys. These wooden and stone buildings date back to the period of the 18th-20th centuries / By _ghosty_(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Torzhok. The Church of Mikhail the Archangel / By _ghosty_(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Boris and Gleb Monastery in Torzhok
The foundation of this old Russian monastery (it was founded at the same time with the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, and it became the third Orthodox Christian monastery in Rus) dates back to 1038. Later this monastery was rebuilt several times.
Under the reign of Ivan IV the Terrible, the Holy relics of Venerable Ephraim Novotorzhsky (the founder of the monastery), which had been showing no sign of decay for five centuries, were finally exhibited before believers.
During the Time of Troubles of 1607 the monastery was severely damaged. The buildings you see today were erected on its ruins in the 17th-18th centuries.
Boris and Gleb Monastery. The Candle (Library) tower of a peculiar form / By _ghosty_(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Boris and Gleb Monastery / By _ghosty_(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Boris and Gleb Monastery / By Maria (CC BY 2.0)
Besides Boris and Gleb Monastery, there are other twenty-two churches in Torzhok.
NB (must see!)
The History and Ethnography Museum of Torzhok holds the third-biggest collection of birch-bark manuscripts that date back to the 12th century.
NB (must see!)
Torzhok is surrounded by numerous country manors of the Russian nobility that have withstood the test of time and still impress with their great architectural style. They are Nikolskoye-Cherenchitsa’s estate (the family estate of the famous Russian architect Nikolay Lvov) and Poltoratsky’s estate.
Torzhok is widely known for its orphrey that has a century-long history. Mistresses of needlework use thin golden and silver threads to decorate clothes and other garments. There is a museum at the relating garment factory where you can buy unique gold-embroidered souvenirs at much lower price than in Moscow or Tver.
In Torzhok you will see many shabby houses and churches, but their desolation greatly helps to recreate the atmosphere of an old Russian town.