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Sixty km away from Tver there is a town where one can have a keen feeling of the magic of Russian antiquity. Torzhok picturesquely located on the banks of the Tvertsa River is the town with over a thousand year old history and the population of only 47.8 thousand people (2006).

It was luckier than many other provincial towns: just a small part of the local church buildings was destroyed here in the Soviet period. The ensembles on the riverbanks impress with their splendour and grandeur that one does not expect to see in this modest place.

The town is famous for its embroidery in gold. This artistic industry has existed in Torzhok since the 13th century. Embroidery in gold was used for decorating clothes, objects of interior design and things used for cult purposes.


In the 11-12th century a trade and industrial settlement of Novgorod Slavs was founded on the right bank of the Tvertsa River. First it was called Noviy Torg, meaning new market, and later the name was shortened to Torzhok. In Russian chronicles Noviy Torg was first mentioned in 1015.

Torzhoks long history full of vivid events and facts surrounded it with an inimitable aura, which has withstood even the merciless time. Natives of the town keep up memory of the brisk and rich Noviy Torg that served as a military fortress on the southern borders of the Novgorod feudal republic and an important political centre of the Northern-Western Rus. Convoys of ships passed it on the way from Novgorod to Volga.

In 1238 Torzhok for three years, from February 21 to March 5 was resisting the Tatar siege. In the end Torzhok fell, but its resistance hampered the invasion of the enemy to Novgorod. Further the town was many times destroyed in the course of internal wars. Most of all it suffered from the raid under the command of Tver Prince Mikhail. In 1478 the town along with all the Novgorod lands was subjected to the Great Moscow State.

In the 18th century a land road, the so-called the sovereigns way connecting Moscow with St. Petersburg was laid through Torzhok.

The town is also known as a place associated with Alexander Pushkin: the poet stayed for over twenty times.

Nowadays Torzhok has become an important industrial and cultural centre. Since 1931 it has been considered a large-scale scientific centre of flax cultivating.


More than thirty churches, cathedrals and monasteries have been preserved in Torzhok. The most famous of them are the Saviours Transfiguration Cathedral (1815-1822), and the complexes of Boris and Gleb and Resurrection Monasteries.

The Boris and Gleb Monastery was founded by the boyar Efrem in 1038. Its ensemble includes Boris and Gleb Cathedral (1785-1796), Presentation Church (1620), a belfry (1804), and monks residential premises.

The Ascension Church (17-18th cc) deserves special attention as a paragon of wooden architecture, at present rarely found somewhere outside museums.

The town council and market rows (18-19 cc.), Rotunda (1814), Kamenny (1774) and Petrovsky (1851) bridges, Jerusalem Church (1717), Putevoi Dvorets (Road Palace), Pozharskys Hotel, and other architectural monuments have been also preserved.

The places of cultural, historical, and religious interest include also the Museum of Russian Wooden Architecture, the Golden Embroidery School and Museum, and the Pushkin Museum.




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