Izborsk fortress, Pskov region: photo and description, history of sights, how to get
Izborsk is one of the most ancient Russian settlements with a rich history. Now it is a small village of Pechersk district in the Pskov region. Only the massive Izborsk fortress reminds of the past grandeur of the region. The first mentions of a powerful fortification were recorded in the Tale of Bygone Years, which makes it possible to judge his age.
Where is the Izborsk fortress?
Now the small town of Izborsk is of interest as a complex of historical monuments. They attract many tourists and historians. In Izborsk there is the Truvorovo hillfort, fortress, Slovenian keys and other interesting objects.
Izborsk fortress is located in the Pechora district of the Pskov region at Izborsk, Pechorskaya street, 39.On its territory is currently located a museum-reserve with the same name "Izborsk".
You can reach it from Pskov from the bus station by bus number 126 and 207.
The prehistory of the fortress
The history of the Izborsk fortress is essentially a continuation of the history of the Truvor settlement. It began at the end of the thirteenth century, in a period of fierce struggle of the Russian people with the Livonian knights, who intended to seize Russian lands in any way. In those days, the military significance of Izborsk, which stood on its way from Yuriev to Pskov, and further to Novgorod, increased significantly. Gradually developed crafts, and with them, and trade. Gradually grew the city itself. By the end of the thirteenth century, Izborsk had grown considerably and had gone far beyond the borders of the Truvorov settlement. The chronicle even stated that the city became a suburb of Pskov. By the beginning of the fourteenth century, the settlement was of considerable size.
Prerequisites for the emergence of a new village
However, from the southern and western sides, Izborsk posad had no natural defensive lines. There was no artificial defenses. When attacking the enemies, the fortress on Truvor, the mound could not contain allpopulation. For this reason, there is a need to find a new place that would be more successful in military terms. Soon such a place was discovered. In 1303, Izborsk was moved to a new location. As a result, east of the settlement, just half a kilometer from him, a new settlement appeared. It took place at the rocky cape of Zheravy mountain. From the north, the site ended with a cliff, and from the east, a very steep slope.
From the top of the mountain there was a stunning view of the coast of the Skhidnitsa river, the whole valley and the Gorodishchenskoye lake. On the south side, the slope was more gentle. Mountain Zheravya from the west did not have any natural restrictions, smoothly moving into a flat field, later built up with wooden houses.
Since the transfer of the city to a good, protected by nature, a new page in the history of Izborsk has begun. It is already difficult to imagine how the village looked then. An interesting fact is that the ceramic objects of the eleventh-twelfth century, found during excavations, indicate that Zherav'ya mountain was inhabited even before Izborsk was transferred to it. Therefore, after the settlement could no longer exist without full defensive structures.
Fortress on Zheravy mountain
Experts believe that initially a wooden fortress was built on Zheravyi Hill. Prince Ostafy, who was known as a brave warrior and was an associate of the prince of Pskov, ruled at that time. In 1323, he and his army marched on Pskov to help the city, besieged by the Germans. At the time of Prince Ostafia, the Izborsk fortress already had one stone tower. She was behind the city, near a steep mountainside. At the same place it is to this day. The tower has a round shape, and it narrows up, for which he was named Onion. It was built from local limestone using limestone mortar.
On the border of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the upper part of the structure was rebuilt several times. The vault of the upper floors has long collapsed, but it is now clear that their floors were wooden. Light wood stairs were also made of wood, which connected the tiers among themselves. Along the perimeter of the tower and now loopholes are visible. At one time it was connected to the wooden wall of the fortress. In the seventeenth century, gunpowder and ammunition were stored in the basement of the tower.
Restructuring of the fortress
In the future, Izborsk fortress was repeatedly rebuilt.Thus, in 1323, after the Germans attacked Pskov, a Pskov mayor named Sheloga made a complete restructuring of the defensive complex. Experts believe that at that time stone walls of the Izborsk fortress were erected. From the now existing complex fortifications of that time differed only in the absence of towers. In general, the fortress was similar to all Russian buildings of this kind. They all had only one watchtower. Multi-tower defenses in Russian architecture appeared much later.
At the end of the fourteenth century, the aggressive policies of the Livonian feudal lords intensified. In such circumstances, Izborsk (Pskov) fortress again came into the view of the Pskov. In addition, the emergence of firearms led to the fact that the fortifications no longer meet the military-technical requirements of the time. For this reason, the walls were significantly fortified, and stone towers were built.
The appearance of towers
The towers were attached to the existing walls. Their appearance has become an important event in the life of the border town. Since then, the Izborsk fortress near Pskov has become a powerful defensive structure. The towers had a fairly simple design, from the bottom they were slightly wider than the top.In general, their appearance was a real event for the locals. It was even made a new seal, the inscription on which spoke about the construction of the towers. So gradually Izborsk fortress in the Pskov region turned into a stone stronghold with thick walls.
St. Nicholas Cathedral
The history of the Izborsk fortress (Pskov region) in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is closely connected with the appearance of St. Nicholas Cathedral. The temple does not differ grandeur. It is a squat building of cuboid shape. The temple was built from the same material as the entire fortress. Its architecture is incredibly simple and modest, without any artistic excesses.
Experts believe that the cathedral was built around the middle of the fourteenth century. The first mention of it in the annals dates back to 1341. To this day, the temple has not retained its original appearance. Its chapters were re-equipped in the middle of the nineteenth century. The height of the walls and the shape of the roof were also changed. The interior of the cathedral is simple.
The cathedral played an important role in the turbulent border life of the local population. Urban relics were kept in its walls and festivethe ceremony. In front of the cathedral, important gatherings were organized on the square, at which local people discussed worldly affairs. And in the periods of enemy invasions, children, old men and women were hiding behind its stone walls. Nikolsky Cathedral played an important role in the daily life of izboryan. For them, he was a true symbol of the city and its military resilience.
In 1849, a bell tower was built on the west side, which was made in the classical style of the time. The sound of her bell was heard for tens of kilometers. He notified the population about the approach of enemy troops. This was a signal to residents to hide in shelters, and men to take up arms.
The scheme of the Izborsk fortress allows to evaluate its scale. For many centuries, fortifications were heavily damaged. Yet their remains make an indelible impression and are a prime example of military architecture of the past. I would like to say a few words about the towers of the fortress, which played an important role. Talav Tower was built in the middle of the fourteenth century. It is believed that it was named after the Talab tribe who inhabited this land.
The thickness of the walls of this structure is 1.8 meters. The peculiarity of the building is fan-shaped loopholes, convenient for gun shooting. On the facade of the tower, breaks from cannonballs are still visible.
Tower of Dark
The tower was erected at the main gate of the fortress. Its height is 15 meters. At one time, it consisted of six tiers.
The structure allegedly received its name because of a very small amount of light inside it.
Tower Ryabinovka also had six tiers of battle. Above the walls were thinner than at the base. Each tier was equipped with several loopholes, which were placed in a fan order. In the tower there were two exits.
One of them led to the battle area of the outer wall, and the second - inside the fortress. The name of the building was due to the rowan grove, which was nearby.
The tower is the tallest tower of the fortress, which reaches 19 meters. It also consisted of six tiers. The structure was higher than others because of the wooden superstructure - “towers”, thanks to which the building acquired its name. The tower was equipped with several exits. Some of them were secret and led into the field.Through this laz, the Izborians went out on reconnaissance.
The bell tower was built in the middle of the southern wall of the fortress, on top of a steep mountainside. Near it are the main gate of the city - Nikolsky. Once upon a time there was a belfry on the tower. But in the middle of the nineteenth century, the upper tiers of the structure were dismantled. A new bell tower was built around the cathedral in 1849. The height of the tower is 11 meters.
The first mention of the Ploska Tower dates back to the sixteenth century. Later, at the end of the nineteenth century, its ruins were still visible on the surface of the earth. But after the complete collapse of the Nikolsky Zakhab, the remains of the tower were buried. And only in 2011 during the archaeological excavations its foundation was revealed. In the lower tier were found the remains of a well.
And previously it was believed that the fortress was only one source of water. And yet the period of construction of this building has not yet been established. It is precisely known that the tower was rebuilt several times.
Instead of an afterword
Izborsk fortress is well preserved to this day, given its age. It is still the object of study of archaeologists and historians, since its history still has many secrets. The fortification complex is no less interesting for tourists.Entrance to it is open to all comers. Moreover, in the last decades a partial restoration of the Izborsk fortress was carried out. The ancient complex is a unique building of ancient Russian architecture. For this reason, it is worth a visit to tourists who are interested in ancient architectural monuments.