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The city of Voronezh was founded in 1585. Several villages later appeared near it, seeking protection and comfort in the end of 16th century. In 1615 suburbs of Voronezh hosted as much as 59 settlements.

Peter the Great decided to start building ships for the Russian Navy in Voronezh in the end of 17th century. The fleet should have been acting in the Azov and Black seas in order to keep Turkey away from their shores. New towns appeared near the dockyards. During that time about 200 multi-cannon ships and galleys were built. The vessels, built near Voronezh, helped the Russian Empire to defeat the Azov fortress, the mighty citadel of the Ottoman Empire, in 1696.

In 1711 Voronezh became the administrative centre of the Azov district, which changed the name to Voronezh district in 1725. The district was quite large in the middle of 18th century the district covered territories from Nizhny Novgorod in the northwest to the Azov Sea n the south. The district lost the major part of its territory in 1779, when Catherine the Great started administrative reforms. In 1824 Voronezh district consisted of 12 smaller administrative units.

Between 18th and 19th century first public schools and gymnasiums appeared in Voronezh. The district printing office opened in 1798, and first research on district history came off the press in 1800. Professional theatre entertained city dwellers from 1802. Nine main city streets became illuminated with 417 candle lamps in 1804. In 1838 newspapers became periodic.

Voronezh was home for Russian peasant poets A. Koltsov and I. Nikitin. Population census of 1863 stated the number of Voronezh citizens to be 38 672 is was the twelfth biggest city in Russia at those times. First public library opened in 1864.

In the sixties and seventies of the 19th century the district was pierced by railways. Large industrial enterprises started appearing in the city. Population census of 1897 revealed 84 100 dwellers in Voronezh. The city stretched along the right bank of the Voronezha River with 5 neighbouring settlements.

Between 1928 and 1934 Voronezh was the administrative centre of the large Central Chernozem Region, and a number of large industries opened their enterprises in the city. In 1926 the city sheltered about 120 000 people. In 1934 Voronezh became the chief city of the region with the same name.

During the World War II (Great Patriotic War) the city was the arena of severe battles of the Red Army and fascist troops, which lasted for 212 days. The front line went across the city, but fascists did not succeeded in conquering the whole city. Voronezh was almost totally destroyed.

The recovery of the city began right after Voronezh was free from invaders in 1943 and finished in late fifties. The population of the city reached 448 200 inhabitants.

During sixties and seventies of the 20th century the city continued its development with more residential areas appearing. In 1972 Voronezh acquired a water storage reservoir.

In 1975 the city was awarded the Great Patriotic War Order for courage and heroism of its citizens during the war.




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  (Voronezh Region)

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