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Historical and Ecological Path on Kulikovo Field
December 16, 2019 16:03


Historical and ecological path will appear on Kulikovo field.

The Kulikovo Field Museum Reserve in the Tula Region has developed a new historical and ecological route that will link the museums and memorials of the complex.

The “Historical and Ecological Pathway of Memory and Unity” will go through the battlefield and connect memorials and museums of Kulikovo fields, temples and natural objects. It will allow guests of the First Military Field of the country going for a walk along the battlefield in any weather, on foot or by an environmentally friendly vehicle - a bicycle or a chaise. This year three historical and ecological routes on the Kulikovo field were developed and laid. Two of them are circular, where a walk along the battlefield starts from the Museum and Memorial Complex in the village of Monastyrshchino or the new museum complex "Kulikovo Field" in Mokhovoy. The third one  leads from one object to another.

Recreation centers have already been organized on the entire route, where the travelers can sit in the shade and take a break. Soon, information boards will be installed at the starting points and along the route. The tourist will be offered an audio guide, and will be able to walk around the battlefield with a guide.  The length of the routes is an average of 9 km. Trails will be paved with stone.

The Battle of Kulikovo (Mamaevo or the Don Battle) is a battle between the united Russian army led by the Moscow Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy and the army of the becalbek of the Golden Horde of Mamaia. It was held on September 8 (September 21, according to a new style) in 1380 on the Kulikovo field (southeast of the Tula region) in the area south of the confluence of the Nepryadva River in the Don. The victory of the Russian military in the Battle of Kulikovo is seen as a step towards the restoration of the unity of Russia and the future overthrow of the Golden Horde yoke.

Kulikovo Field and the Museum of the Battle of Kulikovo

Kulikovo Field is a historical district in the Tula region where the legendary battle took place between the troops of the Prince of Moscow Dmitry Donskoy and the Golden Horde. A small section of the Don steppe, where the myth of the invincibility of the Mongol-Tatar army was first dispelled on September 8, 1380, is located in the Kimovsky district, at the confluence of the Nepryadva and Don rivers. Today, the area has the status of a state museum-reserve, which includes several historical monuments at once, as well as a modern exhibition complex. In honor of the great events of the past, military reconstruction is organized annually on the Kulikovo Field, entertainment events and medieval tournaments are held.

For a long time, the real place of collision between the Russian army and the army of Mamai remained the subject of scientific debate. The reason for this was the exaggeration of the scale of the battle, traditional for chronicles. The historical event was described as a grand battle of two powerful armies, which, of course, was not entirely true. As a result, starting from the 19th century, the battlefield was considered a steppe plain about 8 km long, stretching between the Don and Nepryadva. Researchers could not determine the exact geographical coordinates of the battle - someone claimed that the troops were on the right bank of the Nepryadva River, and others brought dubious evidence in favor of its left bank.  Large artifacts at the mouth of Nepryadva were not found. Historians immediately rushed to explain this with the high cost of military armor. It has even been suggested that after the battle all the equipment was collected by the warriors for reuse. 

As it turned out later, the legendary battle took place on the right bank of the Nepryadva River, but since in those immemorial times forests surrounded the river, the troops could meet only in a small, treeless space. Already in the early 2000s, the official map of Kulikov’s field was redrawn, moving the scene to a cleared between ravines glade about 2 km long and several hundred meters wide. The correctness of the new scheme was also confirmed by archaeological work organized on this site. Powerful metal detectors found many forged fragments that were once part of military equipment, and subsequent analysis of the finds showed that their real age corresponds exactly to the XIV century.

Significant places of the museum-reserve

Going on an excursion to the museum complex of the Battle of Kulikovo, you should know that    visiting local attractions may take a couple of days. 

Red hill

The “Red Hill” actually hides a memorial ensemble, the constituent elements of which are the obelisk to Dmitry Donskoy and the monument-temple of St. Sergius of Radonezh. Sketches of the majestic, uplifting columns of the obelisk were created by A.P. Bryullov himself. A symbolic structure with a height of 30 m and a weight of 110 tons was erected on Red Hill on September 5, 1850, as a tribute to the unprecedented feat of the Russian prince. With the saturated black color of the cast-iron monument, its peak, made in the form of a gilded bulb, sharply contrasts. The top of the dome is crowned by an Orthodox cross trampling the Muslim crescent. The monument to Dmitry Donskoy is divided into five tiers, the lowest of which is decorated with narrow niches with intricate monograms. The inter-niche spaces are filled with bas-reliefs of military helmets and sword-shields.

The church of the spiritual confessor of the Grand Duke, Sergius of Radonezh, appeared on Red Hill a little later than the column (tentatively in 1913-1917). Interestingly, about 5 thousand rubles in gold was donated to the temple by Emperor Nicholas II himself.

According to the plan of the architect A.V. Shchusev, the construction was to make up a single style ensemble with the memorial, therefore the design of the building was completely copied from ancient drawings of the pre-Petrine churches. The interior painting of the walls and the altar was performed by famous artists of the time D. S. Stelletsky and V. A. Komarovsky. However, after the church was closed in 1940, little remained of the colorful biblical stories on its walls. Today, the church of St. Sergius of Radonezh is again operational, but you can visit it with an excursion purpose only in between services. The church is easy to find by the thick snow-white turrets and the greenish-blue color of the domes.

Monastyrshchino village

The village is located at the confluence of the Nepryadva and the Don and is directly related to the events of the Mamayev Massacre. According to rumors, the camp of Dmitry Donskoy was set up on the site of a modern settlement, and it was in the land of Monastyrshchino that the soldiers who died during the battle found their last refuge. After 500 years, the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin was erected here, which, thanks to the timely restoration, is today in excellent condition. You can visit the church both on your own and with an excursion group, but the second option is preferable, as it gives the right to receive additional “bonuses” like climbing a bell tower, photographing in ancient armor and shooting from a crossbow.

There is also a monument to the main hero of the battle - Dmitry Donskoy in Monastyrshchino.  The path to the monument goes through the alley of Memory and Unity - a small path laid by paving slabs and framed by commemorative plaques. But you should definitely go to Green Dubrava, and not only to breathe clean air and admire the expanses of the steppe. Once there was the Reserve Regiment of the Russian squad, waiting for a conventional sign to join the battle and predetermine its outcome. Just don’t hope to see the same oaks in the grove that stood here under Dmitry Donskoy - the years of active agricultural activity affected the massif not in the best way. However, through the efforts of the reserve’s employees, the area gradually takes on its true historical appearance. On the territory of the former oak groves, tree seedlings are planted, and the steppe plots are planted with feather grass crops, exactly the same as those that grew here during the time of the Golden Horde yoke. 

About 5 km from the village there is the Kulikovo field, where the Mongol-Tatar army was first defeated by Russian squads. The epicenter of the battle in 1380 was limited to small rivers (Smolka and Nizhny Dubik), which today have dried up and turned into streams. Only a person with a very stormy imagination can guess a notorious battlefield in this even and ordinary segment of the Don steppe, so before entering the field there is a landmark - a shield with a map that will help to some extent restore the course of those distant events.

Since all the sights of the complex in Monastyrshchino are located at some distance from each other, moving between them will require personal vehicles or, at worst, very trained legs. Well, those who are scared of spontaneous march-throws in rural areas can order a sled or a little cart (depending on the time of year) in the stables and ride along the historical sites of the reserve with a breeze. The cost of a half-hour trip is from 350 to 400 rubles.

Museum complex "Kulikovo Field" in Mokhovoy

To find out all the historical details of the battle, to gawk at archaeological finds and evaluate the realism of the layout of one of the greatest battles for independence, drop into the village of Mokhovoye, where the main museum complex of the reserve is located. The place has a developed infrastructure, therefore, it is able to offer a tired traveler both a good rest and a table in a local cafe. At the same time, in local shops you can stock up on small souvenirs with the symbols of the Kulikovo field.

Museum tours in winter are held daily (except Tuesdays) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In the summer, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Friday to Sunday).

What else to see:     

the village of Epifan, where the museum of merchant life is located;    
the Forgiven well, where according to legend, Dmitry Donskoy washed his wounds after the battle. It is equipped with a small font and located 12 km from Red Hill. Water is recognized as healing;  
the village of Sebino - the small homeland of the holy old woman Matrona of Moscow. The temple of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, popular among Orthodox pilgrims, is also located here.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: ecotourism Kulikovo Battle Field Tula Region   

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