Velikie Luki overview
Velikie Luki (also spelled Velikiye Luki) is a Russian city of Military Glory located in Pskov region. The city is a large trade and industrial center of the southern part of the region, important cultural and educational center.
It is located close to federal highway Moscow - Baltics (M9), there is a coach terminal, railway station which provides direct connection with Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Murmansk, Riga and other cities. There is no airport at present. The distance from Moscow to Velikie Luki is about 530 km. The railway trip from Moscow takes about 9 hours.
Velikie Luki has the population about 98,400 (2012), land area - 60 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 81153; postal codes - 182100-182115.
Velikie Luki history
For the first time Velikie Luki was mentioned in Novgorod chronicle in 1166 as the town of Luki. Since the 12th century, it was a part of Novgorod area, built as a fortress in 1211 on the way to Novgorod and Pskov. In 1406, Luki was called Velikie (Great). From 1478, the city like the whole Novgorod land was subordinate to Muscovite principality.
During Lithuanian war, headquarter of Ivan the Terrible was located there (from 1558). In 1580, the fortress was conquered by Polish and Lithuanian troops of the king Stephan Batoriya. In 1583, according to Yam-Zapolsky peace treaty the city was returned to Russia.
In 1611, the city was fully destroyed and rebuilt in 1619. Peter I and Catherine II visited the city more than once. By the tsar’s order Velikolukskaya fortress was constructed.
During Patriotic War of 1812, Velikie Luki was a large base of Russian army. At the end of the 19th century, the town was crossed by post ways. In 1901, the railway Moscow-Rzhev-Riga-Vindava was constructed through the city.
From August 22, 1944, till October 2, 1957, Velikie Luki was the administrative center of Velikolukskaya oblast of the RSFSR. During the World War II, the battles for Velikie Luki were so severe that the city was called “Small Stalingrad”.
In October 2008, Velikie Luki received the title “The City of Military Glory”.
Velikie Luki streets sceneries
Velikie Luki street scenery
Velikie Luki places of interest
Close to the river Lovati there are high (21 m) ramparts of ancient fortress. At present on the fortress rampart there is a monument - obelisk in honor of the World War II heroes. Tank T-34 is standing on the rampart too. Velikie Luki is well seen from this point.
Lenin square is considered the main square. There is a music school named after M.P.Musorgsky there and hotel “Yubileinaya”. There is a fountain in a park on the southern side.
Lieutenant Shmidt embankment starts in Lenin square. Along the river Lovati there are numerous flower-beds. They decorate the embankment and make the citizens proud of their city. If you walk down Lenin prospect the next square is the one named after K.K.Rokossovsky, the famous commander who spent his childhood in Velikie Luki.
There is Rokossovsky bust in this square and the famous fountain “Stone flower” - the pride of Velikie Luki. Opposite it there is drama theater.
The square linked with the name of the Soviet Union Hero Alexander Matrosov is very special. His remains lay here, silver fur-trees grow and Eternal Fire is burning. Famous sculptor Ye.V.Vuchetich created a monument to Alexander Matrosov who in the village Chernushki in February 1943 closed the German embrasure with his body thus helping his troop. The museum is also located there.
Common grave is one of the most beautiful and well looked after places in the city. Heroes who died defending the city during the World War II are buried there.
Velikie Luki was almost absolutely destroyed during the World War II. That’s why there are no ancient monuments. The one newly rebuilt is Resurrection church.