The City of Defense
|Year of Founding:||863|
|Interesting Fact:||Smolensk is proud to be the birthplace of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.|
Smolensk has been around almost as long as Russia itself. Founded two years after ancient Rus began, it escaped destruction during the deadly Mongol invasion only to be swept into the battle between the power of medieval Lithuania and the then-grand duchy of Moscow. The convent erected in commemoration of this great reclaiming was only the first of many war monuments in honor of the battles fought in or for Smolensk. From Napoleon's bloody visit in 1812 to the German occupation in 1941, Smolensk has been controlled by some of the most powerful and terrifying military campaigns in history.
The reason for Smolensk's desirability can be found in its location. The city rests atop seven sprawling hills, making it a town of strong fortification and strategic defense. This location gives it a unique setting, perfect for strolling through the ancient streets and imaging what life would have been like during those distant, dark battles. Smolensk also boasts a one-of-a-kind blend of museums, most notably the Vodka Museum and Olympic Museum. If shopping is more your forte, the markets are packed with diamonds, ceramics, and flax - all Smolensk specialties.
A city of military power and distinct charm, Smolensk is sure to be an unforgettable stop!