Smolensk oblast overview
Smolensk oblast (also spelled Smolenskaya) is a federal subject of Russia, part of Central Federal District. The capital city and administrative center is Smolensk. Dnepr is the main river of Smolensk oblast.
Smolensk oblast population - 966,000 (2010); land area - 49,800 sq. km.
Smolensk oblast history
In the middle of the 1st century AD eastern Slavic tribes were uniting into large tribal unions. It was the beginning of Smolensk lands. That time Krivichi (large tribal union) inhabited present Smolensk oblast area and created the union of lands with Smolensk as capital city.
The city of Smolensk was first mentioned in Arkhangelogordsky chronicles of 863, when Askold and Dir on their march from Novgorod to Tsargrad didn’t enter Smolensk as it was heavily defended and inhabited. In 882 Smolensk was occupied and joined to Kievan Rus which passed it to Prince Igor. But as he was very young, the city was ruled by governor-generals and in general by Kiev.
In 12th century the Great Smolenskoye principality was very developed, it occupied most part of the territory of present Smolenskaya oblast. In mid 13th century the principality began loosing its lands. From 1404 it was a part of the Great Lithuanian principality. In 1514 Smolensk and later other Smolensk lands were passed to Moscow.
After Time of Trouble, according to Deulinsky peace agreement in 1618, the lands of Smolensk were passed to Rzeczpospolita. During Smolensk war (1632-1634) the Russians managed to return Smolensk lands. These lands became Russian ones for ever in 1654 after Russian-Polish war. Smolenskaya gubernia was formed in 1708. Smolenskaya oblast was formed on September 27th, 1937.
Smolensk oblast nature
Smolensk Russia oblast nature
Smolensk Russia oblast view
Smolenskaya oblast scenery
Smolensk oblast economics
Main industries of Smolensk oblast are jewelry (Kristall enterprise), power industry (Smolensk nuclear power plant, Smolensk hydroelectric power plant), machine building (Avtoagregatny zavod and Vagonoremontny zavod), food and chemical industries.
Such natural resources as brown coal, peat, rock-salt, calc-tuff and limestone are common in Smolensk oblast of Russia.
The largest cities and towns of the region are Smolensk (316,000), Vyazma (55,000), Roslavl (54,000), Yartsevo (50,000), Safonovo (45,000).
Smolensk oblast attractions
There are about 400,000 various historical and cultural monuments in Smolensk oblast of Russia. First of all Gnezdovsky Barrows (pre-Mongol period architecture), Michael the Archangel and Saints Peter and Paul churches (12th century), St. John the Baptist church. Smolensk territories played an important role in Russian military history. There are a lot of monuments of Great Patriotic War (1812) in Smolensk oblast.
Smolensk oblast is rich in various museums: A.S.Griboedov museum-estate (Khmelita village), Admiral P.S.Nakhimov museum (Gorodok village), M.I.Glinka museum-estate (Novospasskoye village), Y.A.Gagarin museum, M.V.Isakovsky museum (Vskhody town), N.M.Przhevalsky home-museum.
There are a lot of old estates in Smolensk oblast (M.V.Glinka, A.S.Griboedov family estates). Teremok architectural complex (M.K.Tenisheva estate) is also popular among Smolensk oblast visitors.
The National park “Smolenskoye Poozyorye” (“Lakes”) is main recreation area. In the park there are walking paths, water routes, children’s ecological camp “Forest republic”, especially popular are mineral spring “Svyatoy kolodets” (“Saint Well”) and the site of ancient settlement Verzhavsk.
There are a lot of places of interest in Smolenskaya oblast: Vyazemsky Kremlin and Smolensk fortress wall; archeological site Gnyozdovskiye Kurgany; historical reserve Talashkino; Katynsky forest (State memorial monument “Katyn”); popular recreation area Krasny Bor.