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    Smolensk

Smolensk was initially built on the territories of Krivichi. The first record of the city dates back to the year 863. Even then the city was strongly fortified, however, the numerous and well-protected population could not resist the Prince Prophetic Oleg, and in 882 Smolensk was attached to the Kievan Rus. The golden age of the Smolensk principality falls on XII century.

And in 1222 the Prince Mstislav captured Polotsk, where he sent the elder son of Mstislav Romanovich of Kiev Sviatoslav to reign. After the battle of Kalka in 1223 Smolensk became weak, and it was forced to seek the help of neighbors to protect itself against Lithuania.

Even earlier the prince Svyatoslav Mstislavich who was sent to reign in Polotsk gave Smolensk some trouble: in 1232 he captured the city and killed many of its residents. However, the city of Smolensk survived the Mongol invasion, although the eastern areas of the principality were damaged.

At the end of the XIV century Smolensk came under the rule of Lithuania, and in 1404 Vytautas finally attached it to Lithuania. Only in 1514 Smolensk was transferred to Moscow for a short time, as well as other lands some time later. After that Smolensk land became a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Smolensk wars of 1632-1634s confirmed Smolensk as a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Russia regained the city only in 1654 as a result of the Russian-Polish war. Smolensk province was founded in 1708. Modern borders were acquired by Smolensk Oblast in 1944.

Mass forest clearance for export abroad began in the north-west of Smolensk in the second half of XVIII century. The logs were loaded onto barges and carried to Riga along the Western Dvina. Forest clearance continued for two centuries, and four timber industry companies worked on the territory of the National Park after the Great Patriotic War.

They made intense logging for timber harvesting. All this destroyed the ecosystem, killed forests and contaminated rivers. Even the organization of Kurov-Borsky reserve in 1978 did not save the situation. The National Park Smolenskoe Poozerye was established on the territory of Demidovsky District of Smolensk Oblast on April 15, 1992 for the preservation of natural complexes for recreational, educational, scientific and cultural purposes.

The lands of Dukhovschinsky District were attached to Demidovsky District - they made up a single landscape together. In 1998 the park Smolenskoe Poozerye was included into the list of the Federation of Natural and National Parks of Europe, in 1999 - into the list of ornithological areas of international importance. In November 2002 the park was awarded a status of a biosphere wildlife reserve of the UNESCO program Man and Biosphere (MAB). In 2009 they started to develop the program of cooperation of biosphere reserves of various protection status within the European transect: Russia - Belarus - Poland - Germany - France.

Sources: http://strana.ru



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Smolensk
  (Smolensk Region)

Cities of the region

    Vyazma
    Safonovo
    Yartsevo
    Roslavl

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