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Izborsk - the Capital of the Slavic Middle Ages

Izborsk is a museum town with a millennia-old history. The main attraction here is the ancient Slavic fortress. It was captured only once by the Estonian voivode at the end of the 16th century. All the other sieges of the fortress ended in defeat of the enemy. In early July — late August the town hosts one of the most large-scale military historical festivals in Europe, the «Iron City» («Zhelezny Grad») Festival, which is attended by thousands of lovers of ancient history from different countries. In addition, Izborsk is praised by an incredibly delicious smoked bream which you should not fail to taste!

The history of Izborsk officially began in 862. According to the chronicle, two of the Varangian Rurik’s brothers came to reign on the Russian lands, together with him, and one of them, Truvor, became the ruler of Izborsk. The ruins of the Truvorovo Gorodishche (Truvor settlement), an old cemetery with geometric signs by ancient architects and high ramparts of Izborsk Fortress have been preserved since that time. The wooden fortress was burnt in ancient battles, and in 1330 it was built of stone. A town arose around the fortress and became a stronghold of ancient Rus at its north-western borders.

In the late XIX — early XX century Izborsk gained attention with its antiquities. All the important sights were then restored. Russian painter Nicholas Roerich worked here in 1903-1904. His paintings: «Towers» and the «Truvor’s Cross» are dedicated to Izborsk.

The second stage of renovation works in the town started in 2010, when the Russian government issued a special decree to celebrate the 1150th anniversary of Izborsk with much eclat. Izborsk Fortress and the estates of merchants Anisimov and Shvedov, united in the museum quarter, were restored on this occasion in September 2012. Moreover, a tourist infrastructure was created. Residents of the Pskov Region like to come here in late February — early March, when people cheerfully celebrate Maslenitsa (Shrovetide) and bid farewell of winter at the walls of the ancient fortress. A culinary Patty Festival is merrily held here in early May. In addition to various patties, you can taste the famous Izborsk sbiten — a honey drink with herbs; solyanka — a thick soup with several kinds of meat and smoked products, and an incredibly tasty locally smoked bream.

A trip to Izborsk is a quiet journey with the possibility of long walking to the surrounding forests, picking berries and mushrooms in summer and visiting the secluded Malsky Monastery with the holy relics of St. Onufry. In short, Izborsk will enable you to have a real rest from the din of a city.


Izborsk is located 300 km from St. Petersburg, between two historic cities of Pskov and Pechory. It is easier to get there from Pskov: fixed-route taxis and a bus number 126 go from the city to Izborsk every day. You can also take the bus number 207, which leaves for Pechory through Izborsk every day at 3:40pm, 11:00am (except Mondays) and 7:40pm (except Tuesdays and Thursdays). In addition, there is a large intercity bus running from St. Petersburg to Pechory through Pskov, stopping in Izborsk. It makes a stop in Pskov every day at about 7:00pm.

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Places of interest in Izborsk