Pskov



Pskov

Name: Dmitry Markov

Age: 34

Profession: Photographer

City: Pskov

Can you give us a short description of your city? Where is it located? What is it famous for? Pskov is one of the oldest of Russian cities. It sits on the country's western border and is famous for its architecture. Most famous of all is the Pskov Fortress, which was one of the largest in medieval Europe: the length of its walls was 9.5 km in total, and the Pokrovskaya Tower is considered one of the most impregnable towers of Europe. The city is also famous for churches with their own distictinctive architectural style, over 40 of them, and for the unique fresco and icon drawing style, which many have compared with the finest works of the Enlightenment.

In the 13th-16th century, Pskov was the capital of the independent Pskov Vechevoy Republic, one of the most democratic states in Medieval Europe. It's main organ of power was the Veche, a gathering of citizens on Vechevoy Square, where decisions were decided by a majority vote.

When Pskov was united to Moscow in 1510, it was no less a city than Moscow in size or riches. Yan Piotrovsky, secretary to King Stefan Batory during the seige of Pskov in 1581, was amazed at the city's size and compared it to Paris.

Pskov has many times been at the crossroads of Russian history. In 1917, it was at a Pskov train station that Tsar Nikolai II renounced the throne, and it was in Pskov in 1918, during WWI, that volunteer communist brigades fighting against the Germans were formed into what would become the Red Army.

Today, Pskov is the administrative center for Pskov Oblast. Some 200,000 residents live in the city, whose slogan is "Russia Begins Here."

What are some things that only locals would know about the city? 

Today, the 76th Airborne Division – one of Russia's most famous armed force units – is quartered in the city. This means you will see many paratroopers on the streets, wearing their famous blue berets. And Paratroopers Day (August 2) is one of the city's main holidays. The city fills with blue bereted paratroopers, as a result of which many citizens decide to stay at home, so as not to encounter the many young men cutting loose.

Pskov has two important symbols of national significance. First is the smelt. And it is the Pskov smelt, from the Veliky and Pskovsko-Chudsky Lakes that is considered the Russian standard, which graced the tsarist table. Pskov cuisine is riddled with all sorts of dishes centered on this fish.

Second is flax, and Pskovian flax is also considered to be the standard. It has long been exported to Europe and, thanks to the light blue color of its flowers, this color has come to be the sort of official city color.

Yet through ironies of fate, in recent times flax has all but stopped being produced in Pskov, and the population of smelt in Chudsky Lake has fallen so far that neither industrial or private fishing brings in any catch, certainly not at former levels. Yet, the symbols remain and continue to be spread through popular culture. The blue flax flower adorns the region's tourist logo, or that of restaurants and cafes, which attempt to include smelt recipes on their menus as a local delicacy, despite the great difficulty in acquiring the fish.

Which places or sites are a must for someone to see if they visit your city? Pskov kremlin, the Veliky River embankement, Mirozhsky Monastery, Finsky Park, Pskov Museum Preserve, TIR Club.

Instagram: @dcim.ru



Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955