Orel or Oryol is a city located in the European part of Russia, on both sides of the Oka River and its tributary, the Orlik River, about 364 km south-west of Moscow. It is the capital of the Orlovskaya oblast. Orel is an important transport, educational, cultural, and tourist center of Central Russia.
Orel population is about 320,000 (2015), the land area - 128 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 4862; the postal codes - 302000-302499.
In the early 16th century, the settlement of Orel became part of the Moscow principality. In 1566, in accordance with Ivan the Terrible’s order, a fortress was founded here to protect the southern borders of the state. This year is considered the founding year of Orel.
Since the mid-17th century, Orel was the center of bread- and hempen-making industries. In 1708, the town was part of the Kiev gubernia (province). In 1778, the Orel guberniya (province) was established and the town became its administrative center. The population of Orel was about 7.7 thousand people.
More Historical Facts…
In 1779, the first regular plan of the town was approved. Orel was significantly expanded and divided by rivers into three parts:
- Kromskaya part - the Old Town;
- Moskovskaya part - Zaokskaya part;
- Zaorlitskaya part - the Upper Town.
The Orel River was renamed Orlik. In 1859, a telegraph line connected the town with St. Petersburg and Moscow. In 1860, construction of a railway began. Two railway lines passed through the town: Moscow-Kursk and Riga-Orel. They were completed in 1868. The first train station was constructed in the same year. The importance of shipping on the Oka River decreased.
In 1895, a power station and a bridge-dam were constructed. The construction was headed by the Belgian entrepreneur F.F.Gilyon. For the first time several houses and streets in Orel were lightened up by electricity. The dam and the bridge, built in 1895, are preserved.
During the Russian Civil War, Orel was the end point reached by the White Army when it attacked Moscow in autumn 1919.
In 1928, the Orel province was abolished and the city became part of the Central Black Earth region. In September 1937, the city again became the capital of the newly recreated Orel region.
On the bank of the Oka River in Orel
Past and present in Oryol
In Russian the name of this city means “eagle”. There is a legend about the origin of the name. According to it, it happened during the foundation of the fortress, in 1566. When builders began to chop down an oak standing on the river bank, at the confluence of the rivers Oka and Orlik, an eagle flew off from the top of the tree. “And here is the owner”, - said one of the men, and Ivan the Terrible ordered to name the town in honor this bird.
The climate in Orel is of moderate continental type. Winters are usually moderate cold, with occasional thaws and frosts. Summers are not settled, with periods of extreme hot and cool weather. The average temperature in January is minus 6.7 degrees Celsius, in July - plus 20.5 degrees Celsius.
City Day in Orel is celebrated on August 5. On this day in 1943, in Moscow, an artillery salute was given to honor the troops that liberated Orel and Belgorod. This was the first salute during the World War II in the USSR, that’s why both Orel and Belgorod received the nickname “the city of the first salute.”
More Interesting Facts…
The Orel tram, opened in 1898, along with the Nizhny Novgorod and Kursk trams belongs to the oldest tram systems in Russia, one year older than the Moscow tram, and nine years older than the St. Petersburg tram.
“Orel”, a nuclear submarine in the Northern Fleet of Russia, is named after the city of Orel. On the conning tower of the submarine you can see the coat of arms of the city.
The main products manufactured in the Orel: food, machinery and electrical equipment, non-metallic mineral products, metallurgical production and production of finished metal products.
Apartment house on the river bank in Oryol
Church of Elijah the Prophet in Orel
Orel places of interest
- Orel Regional Museum of Local Lore is located in the Trading Rows (built in 1782, rebuilt in 1845-1850), in the historic center of the city (Gostinaya Street, 2);
- Orel Museum of Fine Arts (Oktyabrskaya Street, 29);
- Orel Military History Museum (Normandiya-Neman Street, 1);
- The Museum of M.M. Bakhtin - the youngest museum in Orel opened in 2005. The museum is housed in a building standing on the site of the former estate of Bakhtin’s father. Mikhail Bakhtin was a philosopher, literary critic, linguist, musicologist, and an outstanding thinker of the 20th century (Gorky Street, 23);
- The Museum of I.S. Turgenev (Turgenev Street, 11);
- The House Museum of L.N. Andreev (2-ya Pushkarnaya Street, 41);
- The House-Museum of N.S. Leskov is located in a wooden mansion built in 1875-1877 on the site of the estate owned by Leskov’s father (Oktyabrskaya Street, 9);
- The Museum of I.A. Bunin (Georgiyevskiy Lane, 1);
- The House-Museum of V.A. Rusanov is located in a house built in 1815. On the ground floor of the museum there is an exhibition about the life and work of the outstanding Russian traveler Vladimir Alexandrovich Rusanov (1815-1913) (Rusanov Street, 43).
- Orel State Academic Theater named after I.S. Turgenev (Lenina Square, 2),
- Orel State Theater for Children and Youth “Svobodnoye prostranstvo” (“Free space”) (Karla Marksa Square, 2),
- Orel Regional Puppet Theater (Sovetskaya Street, 29),
- Orel Municipal Drama Theater “Russian style” named after M.M. Bakhtin (Turgenev Street, 18).
Orel architectural monuments
- Governors’ House is located on the corner of Gorky and Gurtev Streets, opposite the city park. It was built for the vice-governors in 1798;
- Fomichev’s House is a nice example of urban estates of the 1820s-1840s;
- The building of the movie theater “Rodina” - the first cinema in Orel built in 1937.
The city has a large number of parks and gardens. The main park in Orel is the Park of Culture and Recreation - a monument of nature and landscape art located within the streets: Proletarskaya Gora, Gorky Street, Kommuna Street and the Oka River.