Smolensk region overview
Smolensk oblast (region) (also spelled Smolenskaya) is a federal subject of Russia, part of Central Federal District. The capital city and administrative center is Smolensk. The Dnieper is the main river in the region.
Smolensk province population is about 975,000 (2012); land area - 49,779 sq. km.
Smolensk region 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 region 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 the 12th century, the Great Smolensk principality was very developed, it occupied most part of the territory of present province. In the 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 the Time of Troubles, according to Deulinsky peace agreement in 1618, the lands of Smolensk were passed to Rzeczpospolita. During the Smolensk war (1632-1634), the Russians managed to return Smolensk lands. These lands became Russian ones for ever in 1654 after the Russian-Polish war. Smolensk gubernia was formed in 1708. Smolensk oblast was formed on September 27, 1937.
Smolensk region nature
Smolensk region nature view
Smolenskaya oblast scenery
Smolensk region economics
Main industries of Smolensk region are jewelry (Kristall enterprise), power industry (Smolensk nuclear power plant, Smolensk hydroelectric power plant), machine building (Auto Aggregate Plant and Car Repair Plant), food and chemical industries.
Such natural resources as brown coal, peat, rock-salt, calc-tuff and limestone are common in Smolensk province of Russia.
The largest cities and towns of the region are Smolensk (330,000), Vyazma (57,000), Roslavl (55,000), Yartsevo (48,000), Safonovo (46,000).
Smolensk region attractions
There are about 400,000 various historical and cultural monuments in Smolensk province of Russia.
First of all, Gnezdovsky Barrows (pre-Mongol period architecture), Michael the Archangel and Saints Peter and Paul churches (the 12th century), St. John the Baptist church. Smolensk territories played an important role in the military history of Russia. There are a lot of monuments of Great Patriotic War (1812) on the territory of the province.
The region 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 the region (M.V.Glinka, A.S.Griboedov family estates). Teremok architectural complex (M.K.Tenisheva estate) is also popular among Smolensk region visitors.
The National park “Smolensk 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” (“The Hole Well”) and the site of ancient settlement Verzhavsk.
There are a lot of places of interest in the province: Vyazma Kremlin and Smolensk fortress wall; archaeological site Gnyozdovskiye Kurgany; historical reserve Talashkino; Katynsky forest (State memorial monument “Katyn”); popular recreation area Krasny Bor.