Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"P" is for Pskov

When thinking about “P” (Ewww….. ;0) I originally planned for “P” to stand for Putin (Vladimir, that is). But I was talking to someone about the region switch and it hit me- duh- what would be more relevant to Baby Deetz than their hometown? So…. “P” is for Pskov!
This beautiful, ancient city sits on the north-western portion of Russia only 12 miles from Estonia on the Velikaya River. The population and size (for you locals) is almost exactly the size of Spartanburg County- Over 200,000 people in 40 square miles. We are kind of like “sister cities” if you think about it. However, there is no mall, McDonalds, or Target! I checked. You can check out their official website at It’s a beautiful place. It looks simple and peaceful.
The name of the city, originally spelled "Pleskov" or "the town of purling waters". Its was first mentioned in 903, when Price Igor of Kiev married a local peasant, St. Olga. She was a brilliant woman and maybe I can fit her into the alphabet sometime down the road. “Pskovians” think of their wedding day as Pskov's birthday and they recently celebrated their 1100th Anniversary! Wow!
In the 1200’s the city was captured by Teutonic knights. Sergei Eisenstein made a movie about the siege in 1938 (not on NetFlicks). For Russia, Pskov was a bridge to Europe. For Europe, it was a western outpost of Russia and subject of numerous attacks throughout the history. In the 15th century alone, Pskov withstood 26 sieges! Poland forces tried to attack the city 31 times and the battles were mostly defended by townspeople. I like to think about the spirit of the people that must live there. Don’t you think that type fighting for your country and your freedom would make you strong, independent, and a force to be reckoned with? The Krom (See “K” is for Kremlin, people!) was described as “impregnable”. A local school of icon-painting flourished and local masons were considered the best in Russia. Many styles of Russian architecture was first introduced in Pskov. They accomplished all of that while defending their land on a constant basis.
Modern machines and warfare proved the Krom could crumble. During World War I Pskov was occupied by Estonia and Germany. World War II, the Krom was ineffective against heavy artillery and bomb blasts. The whole town was essentially leveled. The town, the Krom, and Trinity Cathedral has been built and re-built many times over the course of history- however some portions of the original wall (built in the 1100s) still remains. Picturesque churches from the 15th and 16th century still line the countryside.
The famous Russian poet, Pushkin, is buried in the “Holy Mountains” near his family estate. Other famous “Pskovians” include NHL and Russian hockey legend Sergei Fedorov, chemist Konstantin Luzyanin, the first female academician/mathematician Sophia Kowalevskaya, and Miss Universe 2002- Oksana Fedorova.

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