Western European Russia refers the area between Moscow and St. Petersburg that borders Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and the Baltic Sea in the east. The region is comprised of rolling hills, farms and steppe. It was site of fierce fighting in World War II and other wars.

Western European Russia is the heartland of Russia. Before the creation of the Russian Empire, Russian territory included a number of independent and semi-independent princedom and republics such as Novgorod, Pskov and Tver. Other groups were created such as the Cossacks and Old Believers mainly on the periphery of the empire.

Early Scandinavians in Russia were known as Rus to the Slavs (Rhos to the Byzantines). Rus is an Arabic word and the source of the word Russia. It may have been used to describe the dominant Kievan Viking clan and later became affixed to the Eastern Slavs in the north, while those in the south became known as Ukrainians and Belarussians. The Rus were also called Varangians and Varyagi. The Baltic was known as the Varangian Sea and their trade routes were called the Varangian Way.The Rus mingled with the local people and helped set up a series of small principalities centered around single families and clans. They became concentrated in places like Novgorod, Smolensk and Kiev. Viking princes became rulers in Novgorod and Kiev in 862 and 882.

Western European Russia was the first stage of the medieval trade routes between Scandinavia and the Middle East. Byzantium based in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) was the richest empire in the Viking era and the easiest way for the Vikings to reach it was via the rivers of Russia. There were two main trade routes used by the Rus that began in the Baltic Sea. One went down the Dnieper River to the Black Sea and Constantinople. The other followed the Volga to the Caspian Sea.

The Vikings traded furs, amber, honey, beeswax, weapons and slaves from the north for silks and silver. Most of the goods that made their way between Europe, Russia and the Middle East followed Viking trade routes. Of the 120,000 coins found in Gotland Sweden, 50,000 were of Arabic origin (the rest were mostly English or German). The Rus traveled in convoys and flotillas, often with more than more than hundred boats, and built fortified trading posts. They traveled on the inland waterways in shallow-draft boats carved by local residents from tree trunks. They were about 20 feet long and 7 to 10 feet wide.

Pskov Oblast

Pskov’s architecture is strong and powerful. Visitors are amazed by the heavy walls of the Pskov Krom and Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery and the monumental churches dotted around the region. They contrast with the region’s more genteel countryside, famous for its sumptuous, sprawling estates such as the Museum-Reserve of Alexander Pushkin "Mikhailovskoye".

The Pskov region is one of the oldest Russian territories. Over the centuries, some people have created and others have preserved memorable places associated with great names and important events in the history of the country. There are many ancient fortifications, Orthodox shrines, and places associated with Pushkin.

Pskov Oblast (region) covers 55,300 square kilometers (21,400 square miles), is home to about 630,00 people and has a population density of only 12 people per square kilometer. In the summer, recommend trips include Truvorovo settlement, know for its panoramic views of expansive landscape, and the Slovenian Keys., a water world of lakes, rivers, wetlands and islands with plenty of recreational opportunities.

Getting There: The fastest way is by plane. The flight from Moscow to Pskov airport takes hour and a half and costs from 1500 rubles. The train from Moscow is significantly slower taking about 8 hours, with a train switch in St. Petersburg, which is 3½ hours by train from Pskov. The journey by bus from Moscow takes 12-14 hours and costs about 1500 rubles.

E105 is part of the International E-road network and one of the main roads in Europe. Begins in Kirkenes, Norway and follows the M18, M10 and M2 in Russia and the M18 in the Ukraine, ending in Yalta, Ukraine. Some cities on its route include Kirkenes, Murmansk, Kandalaksha, Saint Petersburg, Novgorod, Tver, Moscow, Kharikiv, Simferopol and Yalta. The road may be closed due to heavy snows or rains. Long delays may occur at the border crossing. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the road is closed to vehicles with a foreign registration


Pskov (170 kilometers south of St. Petersburg and 32 kilometers east of Estonia) is a small city with 205,000 people and a history that goes back as far as Novgorod's. Similar to Novgorod but slightly less impressive and much less visited by tourists it has a riverside kremlin, old churches and its own school of icon painters. Official Portal of the Pskov Region's Tourist Information Center:

The kremlin and its southern annex, Dovmont Town, contains the remains of 13th-century walls and 12th to 15th-century churches. The Trinity Cathedral (1699) is a stunning sight. The gilded central dome is 28-stories high and can be seen from 32 kilometers away. It is a working church with chanting priest, floor-kissing faithful, a seven-tired iconostasis and 17th century frescoes.

The Mirozhsky Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Cathedral of the Transfiguration contains 12th-century Greek frescoes. The Poganskin Palace and Museum is group of 17th-century merchants house. The houses show how rich Pskov's merchants were. The displays in the museum are interesting. There are lots of churches scattered around. One of the most charming areas of the old part of city has a pedestrian zone, a park, cafes and restaurants.

Pskov is small, with almost all places of interest within walking distance. The city is divided into two parts: Zapskovye, the older part of the city around the Pskova River, and Zavelichye, the more modern part of the city with large residential areas and shops. There is a reasonable choice of accommodation and restaurants. The only forms of public transport are buses and minibuses. They connect all areas and generally cost around 25 rubles.

City visitors usually start their sightseeing tour with the Pskov Kremlin, which is the main landmark, and the Trinity Cathedral. Then they can walk down the embankment and reach the Mirozhsky monastery to take a look at the 12th-century murals, created by Byzantine craftsmen. “Golden Embankment” residential quarter was recreated in the historic center of Pskov, near the Pskov Kremlin. Among the old houses and merchant mansions intermixed with modern buildings are the Menshikov Chambers on Romanova Gorka, now housing a souvenir shop; Podznoev Chambers, housing a restaurant and hotel; and Pogankin Chambers and Clerical Chambers, with a museum. The Monument to the Battle on the Ice is situated on the Sokolikha Hill and dedicated to the victory of the Russian troops under the supervision of Alexander Nevsky over the German knights on the ice of Lake Peipus in 1242.

Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture

Pskov is the home of around 40 churches. Many of these are Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture, which were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2019. These churches feature thick white-stone walls, reflecting Pskov’s harsh location on the frontier’s of Russia. Church of St. Basil on the Hill is one oldest churches. Reasonably well preserved, this church was first mentioned in chronicles in 1413.

According to UNESCO: “The Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture are located in the historic city of Pskov and along the banks of the Velikaya River in the northwest of Russia. The property includes ten monuments of religious architecture, churches and cathedrals, as well as, in some cases, part of the monastic structures around these, which represent the architectural styles and decorative elements produced by the Pskov School of Architecture between the 12th and the beginning of the 17th century. The Pskov School of Architecture is one of the most influential Russian Schools of architecture, which fostered continuous exchange of ideas and characterized the development of architectural styles in Russia over five centuries, leading to specific architectural and decorative references known as the Pskov School.

“These physical features representing the work of the Pskov School include, among others: architectural elements influenced by Byzantine traditions, transmitted through the earlier Novgorod School; distinctive use of local construction materials; and pragmatist stone buildings with purist and minimalistic approaches to decoration characterized by restraint in form and decoration. The school utilized a limited set of decorative techniques and architectural elements, illustrating a synthesis of vernacular styles brought into urban and monumental contexts, cubic volumes, domes, tholobates, side chapels, porches, narthexes and belfries, as well as other decorative features. The ten selected churches and cathedrals which compose this serial property are recognizable with their historic architectural structures and their immediate property settings in the form of access routes, gardens, surrounding walls and fences, as well as vegetation elements, all contributing to the traditional atmosphere of these spiritual abodes which relates to the endeavours of the School to integrate architectural masterpieces into their natural surroundings.

“The Pskov School of Architecture emerged under the influence of the Byzantine and Novgorod traditions and reached its height in the 15th and 16th centuries, when it exerted considerable influence in large areas of the Russian state and its stylistic and decorative characteristics became widely referenced. Whilst Pskov architects worked on monuments throughout Russia, including in Moscow, Kazan and Sviyazhsk, the ten selected churches in Pskov illustrate a local representation of the early development, experimental grounds and masterly references of the Pskov School.”

Pskov Kremlin

The Pskov Kremlin (on the banks of the Velikaya river) has been listed as one of the ten symbols of Russia. The total length of the Kremlin walls is more than 850 meters. It’s architectural ensemble of the old buildings and structures includes Trinity Cathedral, Dovmont city, the bell tower, powder cellars, and Dovmont wall. Some of the buildings were completed and restored in different years. But the foundations of the churches have largely been been preserved, and the frescoes are original. On the wall of the Kremlin there is a memorial sign in honor of the Battle on the Ice in 1242.

The Pskov Kremlin is located on a high cape, where the Pskova River flows into the Velikaya River. At the heart of the Kremlin stands the city's main temple — the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The first settlement appeared here in the middle of the A.D. 1st millennium. It was founded by western-Finnish tribes. In the 6th-7th centuries the Slavic people Krivichi came to these lands and made them their home. In the 10th century the settlement became a city, whose residents practiced crafts and commerce.

The triangle-shaped fortress was protected in a natural way by two rivers — the Velikaya and Pskova. On the third side it was protected by a deep moat with a strong wall above it. The wall was called Persi (“Breasts” in the old Slavonic language). Veche Square was the center of medieval Pskov political and social life. Here, near the walls of the Holy Trinity Cathedral was the meeting place of the veche, a popular assembly that ruled all of the Pskov region. The veche had rights to make peace and declare war, appoint posadniks (governors of medieval Russian city-states), approve laws, and pass decisions about construction and taxes. It was at the veche's assemby where the “Pskov Charter”, one of the first legal documents of Old Rus, was adopted. In January 1510 the veche bell rang for the last time, when Pskov became part of the state of Moscow.

To the south from the Kremlin lies the so-called Dovmont city. Its name originates from the Prince Dovmont who ruled Pskov in the second half of the 12th century. Lithuanian by birth, he was baptized as Timofey and was respected for being a wise ruler, warrior, and builder. After his death he was considered the city's heavenly protector. Prince Dovmont's sword is kept in the sacristy of the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

From the 13th century to the early 16th century, Dovmont city was the religious and state administrative center of the land of Pskov. The Dovmont city architectural ensemble is completely unique for Rus. It now consists of fortress walls, the Holy Gate tower, the foundations of ten ancient temples, a number of civil buildings found by archaeologists, the 17th century administrative building, and the 19th century consistory.

In the 14th-16th centuries Dovmont city looked quite different. There were more than a dozen cathedrals, each representing a district or suburb of Pskov. Dovmont city also served as a necropolis — the best of the Pskov citizens were buried near its walls. An astonishing discovery was made during archeological excavations in the eastern part of Dovmont city: three temples preserved to the level of their ceilings, revealed more than 150 square meters of truly wonderful fresco painting by Pskov artists of the 14th-15th centuries.

Holy Trinity Cathedral

The Holy Trinity Cathedral is the main church of Pskov city and Pskov oblast land. In medieval times, the local “veche” (popular assembly) gathered near its walls. The cathedral housed the chronicles, the most important documents, and the city's treasury. Princes were crowned in the cathedral, prayers were recited when sending the city's defenders off to war and when welcoming them back after victories and defeats.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral was erected by order of Grand Duchess Olga the Russian in the middle of the 10th century. It was a initially wooden church, perhaps the first in Russia to be consecrated in the name of the Holy Trinity. According to legend, before the Rus were baptized: Olga stood on the left bank of the Velikaya river pointed at the place illumined by several rays of sunlight. Viewing this as a kind of miracle, she predicted that a great town and a church named after the Holy Trinity would be built on the place touched by the rays of light. In the 12th century Prince Vsevolod Gavriil ordered the erection of a stone catherdral in its place. After he died the prince’s the holy relics were placed the church. The most impressive was the third Holy Trinity Cathedral, built in 1367. It played a major role in development of the local architecture.

The current Holy Trinity Cathedral is the fourth. It was built between 1682 and 1699 according to common Russian and Moscow traditions. There are six altars under its roof. The crypt of the cathedral houses the burial vaults of Pskov princes and bishops. The cathedral's silver iconostasis is a showpiece of Russian art of the 17th century. The most revered of the cathedral's treasures are the shrine with relics of Pskov saints, miracle-working icons and the Olga Cross.

Festive rites, services and baptisms took place in Trinity Cathedral. Pskov warriors received blessings here before setting off for battles and were buried here if they died courageously. Two swords were kept in the Cathedral, symbolizing its people’s independence and courage. One of them was the sword of prince Dovmont. “I will never surrender!” — was written it.

It is hard to imagine Pskov without the Trinity Cathedral. The main dome of the snow-white building is 78 meters high and visible many kilometers away. The dome’s surface covers 300 square meters. A total of 1,310 grams of gold leaf was used to gild it after World War II. The four other domes symbolize the four Gospel saints: St. Mathew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. Inside is an amazing, towering, seven-tired, iconostasis. It is gilded and made of carved wood and is regarded as one of the most grandiose iconostases of the 17-18th centuries. The inside of the domes is painted with stars and clouds as symbols of heaven.

A mighty bell tower is stands next to the cathedral. Among the relics contained in the cathedral are the “Olga’s cross”, the sword of Prince Vsevolod-Gavriil, which surprised even Peter the Great, with its size and weight; and reliquary containing the holy relics of venerated city saints such as the Pskov princes Vsevolod-Gavriil and Dovmont-Timofey, venerable martyr Iosaph, the head of Snetogorsky monastery and blessed Nicholas, a Wonderworker. Pskov people especially venerate the miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary “Chirskaya”. It was brought to the Cathedral in 1420 in the memory of a plague which was stopped after people prayed in front of this icon. Pskov chronicles mention this event.

Mirozhsky Monastery

Savior Transfiguration Mirozhsky Monastery (southern part of Prov) is not only the oldest monastery in Pskov, but the oldest in all of Russia. The establishment of the monastery goes back to the period of the beginning of the expansion of Orthodox Christianity in what is now Pskovskaya Oblast. Historiographers usually link the monastery's founding with the name of Saint Niphont, bishop of Novgorod, who occupied the imperious cathedral from 1130 to 1156.

In 1922, Mirozhsky Monastery was abolished by the secular Soviet authorities, and only in 1994 were prayers again heard below the vaulting of the monastery walls. Today the Mirozhsky Monastery is a functioning monastery, but it is also an architectural ensemble of great historic and aesthetic importance, and is open for public visits.

The ensemble of the monastery includes, the Savior Transfiguration Cathedral, erected in the mid-12th century. This is an ancient monastery shrine and the center of Christian instruction in Pskov. The fresco paintings on the walls of the cathedral, 80 percent of which have been preserved over the centuries, represent a world-renowned cultural legacy. They depict the main scenes from the Holy Writ.

The cathedral's frescoes were intended to serve as the gospel in pictures, understandable even to those who could not read. The founder of the monastery, Bishop Niphont, was determined bring Christian teaching to the Pskov congregation, and visual imagery was the only means available in those times. The fresco paintings of the Mirozhsky Monastery gave rise to a local school of icon-painting. The first icons of Pskov were painted here as well, on the lands between the Mirozha and Velikaya rivers, in the monastery's icon workshop. The Mirozhsky Monastery was a major cultural center of medieval Pskov and the Russian northwest.

The Stephan's Church dates to the 17th century. It is wonderfully decorated by the iconostasis, which was completed in the Byzantine tradition by the archimandrite Zinon in the 1990s. The bell tower of the monastery was built in 1879. Crowned by a cupola roof, it adjoins the Sacred Gates and is, in its turn, adjoined by the two-story brethren's building, thus forming the northern facade of the monastery. The rector's building, constructed in the 18th-19th centuries, is located to the west of the Transfiguration Cathedral.

Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery

Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery (60 kilometers west of Pskov) is built around a group of hermit's caves located on a ravine. Founded in 1473 on the Western frontier of the Orthodox Christendom, it was fortified by tsars and remained a working monastery through the Soviet-era. The monastery is regarded by many as the home of the best icon painters in Russia today. Many of the monks are well into their 70s and 80s. They live in colorful buildings near the yellow St. Nicholas church. The original Assumption Cathedral is built into the caves. Below the belfry of the Intercession Church are caves containing the remains of 10,000 monks.

Known officially as The Holy Dormition Pskovo-Pechersky and often called the Pskov-Caves Monastery, Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery is one of the largest and richest monasteries in Russia. About 100 monks live and work at the monastery. Every year on August 28, the main monastery holiday — the Assumption of the Mother of God — is celebrated. Many pilgrims and guests from Russia and other Orthodox lands come here to celebrate mass, with a cross procession bearing the miracle-working icon of the Assumption of the Mother of God carried around the monastery.

The main building is the Uspensky (Assumption) Cathedral, which began as a cave in a mountain. In the 18th century the mountain was given a baroque style facade. Crowned with multi-tiered domes and painted with frescoes, the cathedral is actually just a wall with its opposite side being a part of the mountain. The main monastery treasures are kept here: the icon “the Dormition of the Mother of God”, painted by- the icon painter Alexey Maly from the city of Pskov and given to the monastery as a gift in 1521, the icon “the Tenderness of the Pskovo-Pecherskaya Mother of God” and a unique 16th-century fresco “The Procession of the Righteous”.

History of Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery

Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery It was founded by the Venerable Jonah, who chose the picturesque location as a place to pray in solitude and dug a small cave church in the mountain. In 1473 it was consecrated in the name of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The monastery has never closed from the day it was opened

In the 16th century, under a very pious state service clerk named Misyur Munekhin, icon painting workshops were set up and an excellent library was collected. Under Father Superior Kornily, local Aesti people were educated and the monastery was surrounded by a strong stone wall with nine towers and three gates in part for protection from German attacks. The stone Blagoveschenskaya (Annunciation) church and the Nikolskaya gate church were built inside.

The Pechorskaya fortress was built on Ivan the Terrible's order during the Livonian War, when siege and fortress artillery was already well developed. This had an impact on the design of the fortifications. The fortress walls and towers follow the upper slope of a deep ravine, at the bottom of which flows the Kamenets stream. The walls gradually descend to this stream, forming a circle. The walls, 2 meters thick, stretch to a total length of 726 meters. The fortress has a battle history of nearly two centuries. The monastery withstood sieges by the army of Stephen Báthory during the Livonian War, by Polish hetman Chodkiewicz, and by the Swedish kings Carl Gustav and Carl XII. The military history of the fortress and its defenders ended with the Great Northern War and the subsequent moving of Russia's western border to the Baltic Sea.

Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery Caves and Churches

Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery is famous for its caves, which have been used as places or worship and prayer, monk cells, and burial vaults. The largely underground burial caves are located in layers of dense sand in the natural karst voids where the temperature is always constant, at close to 0°C. The bodies of the buried have been untouched by decay for centuries. The coffins are simply placed one on top of the other. At first the caves were rather small but as the necropolis grew, they were extended by the monks. Now they consist of two small rooms near the entrance and six long underground galleries. The caves house the bodies of warriors who perished during the Livonian War. Those buried in the caves include the ancestors of Tatishev, relatives of Kutuzov, the poet Plescheev, and the composer Mussorgsky.

There are currently eleven churches in the monastery, three of which are under the ground. The heart of the monastery is the Uspensky (Assumption) Cathedral, the first monastery church to be created in a cave and which was consecrated in 1473. This is a unique cathedral, is a popular destination for pilgrims from all over Russia and for tourists from other countries. The Uspensky Cathedral was initially just a small cave- in a flank of a sandy mountain. Later, though, it was redesigned and its passages were made deeper. In 1523, for instance, a new cave part was created.

A stone sacristy was built in the late 17th century to hold gifts and contributions. It now houses the monastery library. At the monastery's lower site are the hospital church of Saint Lazarus, the church of the Meeting of the Lord, the House of Brothers, and a two-storey refectory. At the upper site there is another object of interest — the golden dome of the Archangel Michael Cathedral, built in 1827 using money donated by officers and soldiers who participated in the 1812 war. Behind the Uspensky Cathedral domes, on the mountain in the monastery garden there is the wooden church of All Pskovo-Pechersky Saints.

Mikhaylov: Pushkin’s Family Estate

Mikhaylov (130 kilometers south of Pskov) is the family estate of famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin’s (1799-1837). Occupying land give to Pushkin's family by the Empress Elizabeth, it embraces an eight-hectare (20-acre) park with a rebuilt house regarded as a national shrine. The original house was looted and destroyed by the Nazis in World War II and meticulously restored after the war by one Seymon Geichenko, who is now regarded as a national hero.

Mikhaylov is also called Mikhailovsky and Mikhailovskoe (both names are used to describe the nearby village and the general area). Mikhaylov was the family estate of Pushkin's mother. Pushkin wrote his most famous work “Eugene Onegin” and many poems here. The estate grounds are very picturesque: the old noble houses are surrounded by trees, lakes and meadows. You can walk along paths that Pushkin walked and see old oak trees that he saw. The house contains furniture, portraits and personal belongings of the Pushkin family. The Svyayogorsky Monastery about one kilometer from Mikhaylovskoye is where Pushkin is buried.

Windmill in Mikhailovskoye is mentioned in several pieces by Pushkin, especially when he is talking about a Russian village and the life of simpler folks — in “Eugene Onegin,: in “Count Nulin,” in “Poltava” and in “Captain’s Daughte”. Among the numerous drawings by Pushkin, there is one pencil sketch of a windmill. The sketch depicts a hillock, a winged windmill, a tree and a bush. Its date is approximate and the subject’s location is unknown.

The location of the Pushkin-era Mikhaylovskoye windmill is preserved only in the word of mouth. Local rural residents would still point to a spot on the left bank of the Sorot, with a smallish hillock by Lake Malenets, on the road from Mikhaylovskoye to Savkino. A windmill here was restored in 1973. In Pushkin’s time windmills were a common sight in rural landscapes

They were not used merely to make flour and as served as gathering place for village people.

Pushkin-Related Places in Mikhailovskoe

Mikhailovskoe, Trigorskoe, Petrovskoe, and the Svyatye Gory (renamed Pushkinskie Gory in 1924) are famous for being related to the life and work of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin Since the 1930s, the Mikhailovskoe village has been known as the poetic birthplace of Pushkin. It is on the ancient Pskov soil that his poetic talent gained in strength and his genius blossomed. It is also here that the poet is buried, next to the altar wall of the Assumption Cathedral of the Svyatogorsky Monastery, four kilometers from Mikhailovskoe.

The formal name of the Mikhailovskoe Museum Preserve is the Mikhaikovskoe Alexander Pushkin State Memorial History, Literary, and Natural Museum Preserve. Founded in 1922 It is a unique national monument to Russian culture and one of the biggest literature museums in the world. The territory of the museum preserve covers 9800 hectares. It includes the Mikhailovskoe, Trigorskoe, and Petrovskoe mansions and the memorial parks; the tomb of Alexander Pushkin and the necropolis of the Hannibal and Pushkin families in Svyatogorski Monastery; the ancient settlement sites Velye, Voronich, Vrev, Savkino; the lakes Belogul, Velye, Kuchane, Malenets, Chernoe; and the flood meadows of the Soroti river. The Bagrovo Village Windmill Museim also operates in the Mikhailosvkoe Museum Preserve.

Trigorskoye and Petrovskoye are estates of Pushkin’s friends and relatives. By the eastern wall of Svyatogorsky monastery one can find the necropolis of the Hannibal-Pushkins family and Alexander Pushkin’s grave. Images of Russian countryside that revealed to Pushkin the wisdom and the beauty of the Russian language in songs, fairytales, and proverbs come alive at the “Pushkin’s Village” museum located in village Bugrovo. The Water Mill, folk art center, and the museum post office function there.

Also included into the memorial complex are the monumental ensemble from the 14th-16th century Svyatogorsky Monastery and the mansions of the poet's relatives, friends, and neighbors: Voskresenskoe, Golubovo, Deriglazovo, Lysaya Gora, and the historical part of the merchant village Velye, dating from the 16th-20th centuries. The Preserve's scientific and cultural center also operates in Pushkinskie Gory.

Pushkin's Grave

Pushkin's Grave (one kilometer from Mikhaylovskoye) is located in the eastern, altar wall of the ancient cathedral in Svyatogorsky Monastery, on the edge of a hill. The grave is accessed by an old 46-step staircase of uncut slabs leading up the steep southeastern slope of the hill, with small stone-slab hedges on both sides. From 1837 through 1841, a simple black cross topped the grave, with white letters spelling “Pushkin” on it. In 1841, an obelisk-shaped marble monument was installed upon order of his widow and trustees. It was made by Byam Permogorov, a St. Petersburg-based monument master.

The white marble obelisk stands on top a white marble vault safeguarding a depiction of a veiled urn. The vault rests upon a massive black base, with the brief inscription reading: “Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, born in Moscow on May 26 of 1799, died in St. Petersburg on January 29 of 1837.” The crossed, downward-pointing torches on the obelisk remind us of the extinguished earthly life. The six-pointed star of Bethlehem symbolizes God’s gift to the poet. The star is lined by laurels — the antique embodiment of triumph. The obelisk is crowned by the simple cross with the traditional Christian symbol of the Divine Providence — the Eye of Omniscience.

The small platform round the monument is enclosed by marble banisters. Great old lime trees grow on the slopes of the hill shadowing the poet’s grave. “Fields, hills and woods” stretch out kilometers away — the simple and beautiful Russian landscape, so much loved and ardently praised by Pushkin. So symbolic and noble in its magnificent simplicity is the grave of the great Russian poet up on the tall hill, lost in the vast expanse of his motherland.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation (official Russia tourism website ), Russian government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in September 2020

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