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The city is located in the European part of Russia in the middle of the Smolensk hill country on the upper reaches of the Dnieper , which flows through the city from east to west and thus divides it. The river receives several smaller tributaries in the urban area.
Source: State Statistical Office of the Russian Federation
Average monthly temperatures and precipitation for Smolensk
Smolensk was first mentioned in 863. What was probably meant was the large Varangian settlement near the present-day village of Gnjosdowo , about 14 kilometers west of Smolensk. Their location on the Dnieper on the way from the Varangians to the Greeks to the Byzantine Empire established their special importance. It is possible that Konstantin Porphyrogennetus also mentioned this settlement as Milinisk .
In today's urban area, the oldest known settlement layer on the cathedral hill on Malaya Schkolnaja uliza from the 9th and 10th centuries is known. In the second half of the 11th century there was a larger castle town in Smolensk. In the 12th century, Smolensk was the capital of the independent Russian principality of Smolensk .
With the expansion of the Hanseatic League into Eastern Europe, the traveling merchants penetrated via Riga, founded in 1201, and the Daugava to Smolensk, which had one of the main Russian markets, which was connected to Novgorod and the Black Sea . In Smolensk the German merchants formed a cooperative, formed a German settlement, bought houses and built a St. Mary's Church. With the Smolensk prince they concluded a trade agreement in 1229, which regulated the rights of the Germans in trade with the Russians. The document, which is documented in Hansisches Urkundenbuch I, No. 232 , was signed by various German merchants from Riga, Groningen , Lübeck , Soest , Münster , Dortmund and Bremen and thus provides information about the many places from which the merchants came did not shy away from the arduous journey across sea and land. The German branch in Smolensk did not achieve the importance it had for the Hanseatic League in Novgorod; it was finished in the 2nd half of the 13th century.
In 1238 the principality was sacked by the Mongols . In 1404 the Smolensk region fell to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1514 . In the following years the Smolensk Kremlin was built, one of the largest fortified structures in the Moscow Empire.
During the Polish-Russian War from 1609 to 1618 , the city was captured by Polish-Lithuanian troops in 1611 after almost two years of siege . From 1618 - contractually fixed with the Russians - it became part of Poland-Lithuania and also the seat of a voivodeship . The Russian attempt to retake Smolensk was the central point of contention in the "Smolensk War" from 1632 to 1634 . The city was finally conquered by the Tsar's troops in 1654 during the Russo-Polish War from 1654 to 1667 and came back to Russia by treaty in 1667.
As a result of the administrative restructuring after the February and October revolutions , accompanied by the confusing situation in the final phase of the First World War and the beginning of the Russian Civil War , Smolensk became part of the Western Oblast (Sapadnaya oblast) in 1917 , which occupied most of what is now Belarus . The short-lived bourgeois Belarusian People's Republic also claimed the city for itself in 1918. On January 1, 1919, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus (SSRB) was proclaimed in Smolensk , but its administrative headquarters were moved to Minsk on January 7th . On February 27, 1919, this first independent Belarusian Soviet republic was dissolved again, and Smolensk and the surrounding area, until 1929 as the Smolensk Governorate , came to the Russian SFSR , while the western parts were temporarily united with Lithuania. When the Belarusian SSR was finally re-established on July 31, 1920, Smolensk remained with the RSFSR.
After the dissolution of the Smolensk Governorate in 1929, Smolensk was the capital of the Western Oblast . Their territory turned out to be administratively too large. In 1937 it was dissolved and Smolensk was the capital of the much smaller Smolensk Oblast , which still exists today.
The city was also hotly contested during World War II . In the Kesselschlacht near Smolensk in the late summer of 1941, Smolensk was occupied and almost completely destroyed. Thousands of residents of the city perished or were brought into forced labor under German control between 1941 and 1943. In March 1943, Adolf Hitler visited the city. The Hitler opponent Fabian von Schlabrendorff , who served in the staff of Army Group Center in Smolensk, smuggled a bomb into the plane before Hitler's return flight; but because of the low temperatures in the hold, the explosive device did not explode. A few weeks later, the foreign observers whom Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels had summoned to witness the Katyn massacre were housed in Smolensk .
During the battle for Smolensk, the Wehrmacht captured almost the entire archive of the local Soviet administration, including the NKVD , for the period from 1917 to 1939. The disorganized files were completely transported to the German Reich and fell into the hands of US troops there in 1945 . They were brought to the USA, evaluated and for the first time gave an unfiltered view of the living conditions in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s.
In autumn 1943 the city was retaken by the Red Army with the Smolensk Operation .
In 2013, archaeologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Smolensk discovered and excavated an Old Russian church. The church dates back to the 12th century and was built on the left bank of the Dnieper when Smolensk was the capital of the Principality of Smolensk . Only the foundation walls are left of this unique object, which in some places are not particularly high, but in some are the size of a person.
Note: census data
In the Russian census of 1897, 46,699 residents gave the following information on their mother tongue
Culture and sights
The most important sights include the fortress walls (1596–1602) which surround the beautiful old town (and are often referred to as the Kremlin walls ), the Resurrection Cathedral (1677–1679), seat of the diocese of Smolensk and Vyasma ; the 12th century Peter and Paul Church; the Archangel Michael Church, also from the 12th century, and the Dormition Cathedral from 1677. The administrative building and the opera theater are fine examples of Soviet architecture. The opera house, which opened in 1780, is one of the oldest.
In the city there is an art museum and the museums of the Association of Artists of Russia. On February 9, 2006, the Hermitage opened a branch in the city.
Smolensk has four cinemas . Above all, this includes the “Smena” municipal cinema theater, which was built in the late 1940s. There is also the "Sowremennik", which was built in 1969 and completely renovated in 2003. With the “Silver Cinema” (opened in 2013) and the “Mirage Cinema” (opened in 2015), Smolensk also has two modern cinemas with seven halls and 1,040 and 1,080 seats respectively.
Economy and Infrastructure
Smolensk is a commercial, cultural and educational center. Important branches of industry are linen production, mechanical engineering and the food industry . The Smolensk nuclear power plant with three active RBMK reactors is located near Smolensk .
On the northern edge of the city is the Smolensk-Nord military airfield , made famous by the above-mentioned plane crash. Smolensk Airport is located south of the city , but is no longer used for scheduled flights today.
Road and rail transport
Today, Smolensk is an important railway junction on the routes Warsaw - Minsk -Smolensk- Moscow , Smolensk- Vitebsk - Riga and Smolensk- Saint Petersburg . It is also on the Russian M 1 trunk road ( European route 30 ), which runs from Moscow to Minsk.
- Faculty of the Russian State Open Technical University of Railway Transport
- Branch of the All-Russian Remote Institute of Finance and Economics
- Branch of the Moscow Energy Institute
- Branch of the New Moscow Institute of Law
- Military Academy of the Landwehr of the Russian Federation
- Military University of Air Defense of the Air Forces of the Russian Federation
- Smolensk branch of the Legal Institute of the Ministry of Interior of Russia
- Humanities University of Smolensk
- Institute of Business and Entrepreneurship Smolensk
- Agricultural Institute Smolensk
- Smolensk Orthodox Spiritual Seminary of the Russian Orthodox Church
- Smolensk State Medical Academy
- State Institute of Sports Smolensk
- State Art Institute Smolensk
- Smolensk State University
In Smolensk there is a consular section of the Belarusian embassy in Moscow.
sons and daughters of the town
- Michail Glinka (1804-1857), composer
- Nikolai Murzakewicz (1806–1883), historian, archaeologist and library director
- Nikolai of Japan (1836–1912), monk and Orthodox Archbishop of Tokyo and Japan
- Yevgeny Barsukov (1866–1957), General
- Vladimir Dmitriev (1868–1913), economist
- Ivan Teodorowitsch (1875–1937), politician
- Alexander Orlow (1880–1954), astronomer and university professor
- Alexander Beljajew (1884–1942), science fiction author
- Marie Vassilieff (1884–1957), Russian-French painter and sculptor
- Lidia Durnowo (1885–1963), art historian and restorer
- Yevgenia Ratner (1886–1931), revolutionary and economist
- Alexei Gmyrjow (1887–1911), poet and communist
- Boris Jurjew (1889–1957), helicopter designer and pioneer
- Vyacheslav Stepanov (1889–1950), mathematician
- Yevgeny Poliwanow (1891–1938), linguist, orientalist and literary scholar
- Morris Markin (1893-1970), American automobile entrepreneur
- Edith Eucken-Erdsiek (1896–1985), German cultural philosopher and writer
- Michail Dubson (1899–1961), Soviet film director and screenwriter
- Wiktor Nemyzki (1900–1967), mathematician
- Fyodor Koschewnikow (1903–1998), lawyer, judge at the International Court of Justice
- Andrei Tichonow (1906–1993), mathematician
- Sergei Belawenez (1910–1942), chess master and theorist
- Nikolaj Rytjkov (1913–1973), actor, Esperantist and radio presenter
- Tetjana Jablonska (1917–2005), Soviet-Ukrainian painter
- Alla Schelest (1919-1998), ballerina
- Yevgenia Kosyrewa (1920–1992), actress
- Lilianna Lungina (1920–1998), linguist and literary scholar and literary translator
- Roman Katschanow (1921–1993), animator, director and screenwriter
- Ewald Iljenkow (1924–1979), Soviet philosopher, psychologist and educator
- Boris Wassiljew (1924–2013), writer
- Olga Woronez (1926-2014), singer
- Anatoly Lukyanov (1930–2019), politician
- Eduard Chil (1934–2012), singer
- Leonid Montschinski (1935–2016), writer
- Anatoli Tarabrin (1935-2008), rower
- Eduard Baltin (1936–2008), Admiral
- Galina Semjonowa (1937–2017), journalist and politician
- Larissa Dmitrijewa (* 1950), Lithuanian politician
- Tamara Markaschanskaja (* 1954), cross-country skier
- Oleg Yermakov (* 1961), writer
- Olga Kusenkowa (* 1970), track and field athlete (hammer thrower) and 2004 Olympic champion
- Sergei Filippenkow (1971-2015), football player
- Dina Korsun (* 1971), actress
- Natalja Levtschenkowa (* 1977), biathlete
- Artyom Turov (* 1984), politician
- Natalja Ishtschenko (* 1986), synchronized swimmer and five-time Olympic champion in 2008, 2012 and 2016
- Elif Jale Yeşilırmak (* 1986), Russian-Turkish wrestler
- Alexander Prudnikow (* 1989), football player
- Konstantin Semjonow (* 1989), beach volleyball player
- Alexei Fyodorov (* 1991), triple jumper
- Tatiana Gudkowa (* 1993), fencer
Personalities with a relationship to the city
- Clemens von Smolensk († 1164), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia (1147–1155)
- Alexander Dmitrijew-Mamonow (1758–1803), from 1786 to 1789 lover of Catherine II of Russia
- Michail Tukhachevsky (1893–1937), Marshal of the Soviet Union
- Semyon Lavochkin (1900–1960), aircraft designer
- Alexei Fyodorov (* 1991), triple jumper
- Smolensk Oblast Portal (Russian, English)
- City portrait of Smolensk on russiancity.ru (Russian)
- Itogi Vserossijskoj perepisi naselenija 2010 goda. Tom 1. Čislennostʹ i razmeščenie naselenija (Results of the All-Russian Census 2010. Volume 1. Number and distribution of the population). Tables 5 , pp. 12-209; 11 , pp. 312–979 (download from the website of the Federal Service for State Statistics of the Russian Federation)
- Federal State Statistics Service ( English ) Statistical Office of the Russian Federation. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
- Строительство бани в Смоленске обернулось сенсационным открытием для археологов
- Dieter Zimmerling: The Hanseatic League - trading power under the sign of the cog. M. Pawlak Verlagsgesellschaft, Herrsching, 1984 (pp. 83, 107).
- Philippe Dollinger: Die Hanse, revised by Volker Henn and Nils Jörn, 6th, completely revised and updated edition, Kröner, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-520-37106-5 (pp. 35, 504).
- Illustration by Frans Hogenberg from 1610: Schmolenska. Schmolenski a very big city, In Poland the Muscovites, The Poles took away, ... ( digitized version )
- Battle of Smolensk (English) ( Memento of the original from October 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- The bomb attack on Hitler on March 13, 1943 , in: Fabian von Schlabrendorff, Officers against Hitler. Zurich 1946, pp. 73-75.
- Józef Mackiewicz : Katyn - an unpunished crime. Munich 1949, pp. 89-96.
- Merle Fainsod: Smolensk under Soviet Rule. Harvard University Press, 1958, ISBN 978-0-674-81105-8 .
- Археологи обнаружили в Смоленске храм XII века. In: NTW . June 17, 2013, Retrieved February 11, 2018 (Russian).
- Demoscope Weekly - Annex. Statistical indicators reference. Retrieved June 18, 2020 .
- Maschke, Erich (ed.): On the history of the German prisoners of war of the Second World War. Verlag Ernst and Werner Gieseking, Bielefeld 1962–1977.
- Барсуков, Евгений Захарович , militera.lib.ru
- Obituary: Alla Shelest , independent.co.uk
- Evgeniya Kozyreva in the Internet Movie Database (English)
- Olga Voronets in the Internet Movie Database (English)
- Мончинский, Леонид Васильевич , irkipedia.ru (Russian)
- Туров Артём Викторович , gosduma.net (Russian)
- Elif Jale Yeşilırmak in the database of Sports-Reference (English)