Ermak Travel Guide



Замок Изборск








Hotels, motels and where to sleep

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

Interesting information and useful tips


Description of Izborsk

Izborsk is located in the western part of the Pskov region, 30 km west of Pskov. The official name of the historical Izborsk - Old Izborsk. The village of New Izborsk is quite far from the Old, and is of no interest to the traveler.

In The Tale of Bygone Years, Izborsk is mentioned along with Novgorod, Ladoga, and Kiev, and thus is one of the oldest settlements of northwestern Russia. According to legend, in 862, Izborsk went to Truvor, Rurik's younger brother, who became his first prince and was buried in Izborsk. In the XIV century, a powerful fortress was built, which for hundreds of years never succumbed to the constant attacks of the Livonian Order.

To our time, Izborsk turned into a village, which preserved, however, remarkable monuments: the Izborsk fortress (walls and towers are preserved), as well as natural attractions - Slovenian Keys and Truvorovo Mound.




Travel Destinations in Izborsk

1 Izborsk Castle. Open: around the clock. 20 rubles (2013). It is one of the oldest fortresses of the North-West of Russia. Its first chronicle mention refers to the year 862 and it is this date that is considered the year of its foundation, although, most likely, the fortification existed at this place much earlier. The fortress that reached us was built in the XIV century on a limestone hill of gray untreated stone - all the same limestone. The outlines of the fortress are not the result of a well-thought-out project, but were determined by the natural outlines of the natural elevation. During the Russian-Lithuanian wars, the fortress withstood many sieges, but it was well preserved to this day and, uncharacteristically, was not rebuilt at a later time. The length of the walls of the fortress is 850 meters with 7 towers. It is necessary to climb the Lukovka tower (daily, 10.00–19.00, 40 rubles) - the oldest tower of the fortress - and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Izborsk-Malsky valley. In the basement of Lukovka there is a small exposition of historical weapons.
On the territory of the fortress stands Nikolsky Cathedral (XIV century; rebuilt, but retained elements of Pskov architecture) and a couple of small, unremarkable buildings. From the fortress begins the trail leading along the lake to the north, and then branching out: one path leads down to the Slovenian springs, and the other goes up to the settlement.
2 Slovenian springs (or springs of the Twelve Apostles). Powerful groundwater exits from the steep coastal terraces of Lake Horodyshche, forming small waterfalls. Springs are located a little to the north of the fortress, at the Gorodishchensky lake. The legend says that each spring has its own miraculous power: one gives wisdom, the other health, and together they form the river of life. On the springs are the ruins of a water mill and a manor house, which stood here at the beginning of the 20th century.
3 Truvorovo Settlement. The hill on which, according to legend, settled in 862, the Truvor. Now here is a cemetery with a stone Truvorovy cross, which dates from the XV century and, of course, has nothing to do with Truvor himself. However, the main attraction of the settlement is not the cross or even the Nikolskaya Church (see below), but stunning views of the Gorodishchenskoye Lake and the Izborsky-Malsky Valley. Truvorovo Settlement - one of the most delightful places in the North-West of Russia.
4 St. Nicholas Church at Truvorovoy Mound (1650). Located in the southeastern part of the settlement and is the only surviving building of the ancient Nikolsky Gorodishchensky monastery. No documentary evidence of the date the church was built has been discovered so far; it is only known that at the end of the seventeenth century the stone Nikolskaya already existed. The upper part of the church, apparently, was rebuilt in the XVIII century. The church has a rare form of a small cupola and an unusual decor with an abundance of almost Kabbalistic symbols that are not typical for Orthodoxy.
Along with the main attractions, several unusual chapels of the XVIII century are scattered around Izborsk.

5 Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh. At the entrance to the fortress - the small church of Sergius of Radonezh (the beginning of the XVIII century).
6 Church of the Nativity of the Virgin. 17th century
7 Chapel of Our Lady of Korsun. Early 20th century
8 Chapel Troitskaya. XVIII century
9 Chapel of Flora and Laurel. Early eighteenth century


Horse riding, organized by the museum-reserve "Izborsk". ☎ 8-81148-96-696. 500 rub / hour Routes have a different duration from half an hour to 4, 5 hours.
The path of health. It starts from Truvorov settlement. The length of 6km round-trip.
1 Manor of the merchant Anisimov, Pechora, 41 a. Open from 10.00 to 18.00 daily. The exhibition "Chronicle of the Slavic-Russian princely city of Izborsk: from the beginning of Russia to the Poltava battle." The exposition will tell you about the birth, history and development of one of the first cities in Russia - Izborsk, which for more than six centuries defended Russian land from enemies.
2 Outhouse of the estate of merchant Anisimov, Pechora, 41 b. Open from 10.00 to 18.00 daily. The exposition “The Izborsk Chamber of Russian Literature and the Orthodox Faith” is the author’s exposition of murals by the People’s Artist of the USSR Peter Ossovsky.
3 The estate of the merchant Shvedova, Pechorskaya, 32. Open from 10.00 to 18.00 daily. The exhibition "Russian and Seto. One land is a common story.” Presents a real Russian stove, a collection of samovars, authentic furniture of the time, the characteristic items of merchant life, old photographs.



History of Izborsk

According to the Russian Primary Chronicle, the town was the seat of Rurik's brother Truvor from 862-864. Although his burial mound is still shown to occasional tourists, archaeological excavations of long barrows abounding in the vicinity did not reveal the presence of the Varangian settlement at the site, indicating that Izborsk was an important centre of the early Krivichs.

The next mention of the town in Slavonic chronicles dates back to 1233, when the place was captured by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. Pskov moved the fortress to a more convenient site in 1302.

In 1348 Pskov feudal republic that included Izborsk separates from Novgorod Republic, in 1399 becomes a viceroyalty of Muscovy, and later in 1510 annexed to the latter.

In the later 16th century, Izborsk was one of the smaller, but nonetheless strategically important fortresses that protected the northwest Russian borders from invasion. The fortress was supposed to be impregnable, which is why the seizure of it in 1569 by a small Lithuanian regiment came as such a shock to the then ruler, Ivan the Terrible. The relative ease and suspicious circumstances of the seizure of the fortress deeply troubled the already paranoid Ivan. In the dead of night Teterin, a Russian turncoat disguised as an oprichnik, ordered the gates of the town be opened in the name of the oprichnina, thus allowing the enemy regiment to enter and overtake the fortress (the town of Izborsk, however, was never listed as territory where oprichnina governance applied).

Though Ivan managed to retake the city with little difficulty, the treachery and conspiracy involved in the original seizure led him to order the executions of the assistant crown secretaries of Izborsk, as well as the secretaries of the surrounding fortresses. With rumors of disaffection and growing discontent throughout the country on the rise, Ivan feared that other cities would soon follow the treasonous example of Izborsk. The proximity of the town to the cities of Novgorod and Pskov, coupled with the questionable implication of Novgorod's chancery administration in Teterin's plot, threw suspicion of treachery and defection onto the already distrusted city.

During the siege of Pskov (1581) Izborsk was captured by the Lithuanian troops, but after the Truce of Yam-Zapolsky (1582) handed over to the Muscovy.

After the Great Northern War Izborsk ceased to be a western borderline fortress of Russian state. In 1708 it joined the newly-established Governorate of Saint-Petersburg (until 1710 called Ingermanland Governorate), where it was listed as the centre of uyezd within the Pskov province. In 1727 the whole Pskov province was transferred to the Novgorod Governorate, and later transformed into a part of the larger Pskov Governorate, where Izborsk was listed as a town until 1920.

In 1920, according to the Treaty of Tartu, the Russian-Estonian state boundary went eastwards of Izborsk and thus the town became part of Estonia. During 1940-1945 the town remained within the Estonian SSR (1941-1944 under Nazi occupation).

In 1945 Russian SFSR/Estonian SSR border was redefined to resemble the pre-1918 borders between the Livonia and Pskov Governorate, leaving Izborsk with the Pskov Oblast of the Russian SFSR, now Russian Federation.






How to get there
There is no railway in the city, the nearest stations are Pskov and Pechora.

By bus
1 Bus station.
Buses from Pskov in the direction of Pechora and Estonia stop on the highway at the turn in the direction of the fortress. A large number of buses per day allows you to explore Izborsk and Pechora in one day from Pskov and return to Pskov by evening.

Passing bus Pechora - St. Petersburg daily 2 flights at approximately 5:50 and 11:20. St. Petersburg - Izborsk daily at 13:30 and 17:30. The cost of 550 rubles, on the road 5 hours. Telephone for booking tickets 8-911-690-00-60.

Passing bus Pechora - Moscow flight on Sunday, Tuesday at approximately 14:20. Moscow - Izborsk Monday, Wednesday at 13:00. The cost of 1100rub. Telephone for booking tickets 8-911-362-03-62.

By car
Izborsk is located on the A212 Pskov - Riga highway. Turn to the fortress is located in front of a pointer to the Pechora.


Hotels, motels and where to sleep

1 Guest House of the State Historical-Architectural and Natural-Landscape Museum-Reserve "Izborsk", st. School, 3 (the road from the fortress to the Slovenian springs and fortification). ☎ + 7- (81148) -96-612 (round-the-clock), 96-696 (from Monday to Friday, from 9.00 to 17.00 h.). Double room: 1500 rub .; triple room: 2000 rub .; luxury: 3500 rub. (2013). A small new hotel with several double and triple rooms which are quite nice with no amenities, as well as two suites with private facilities. The house has a fully equipped kitchen - in this case, an absolutely necessary element, since there are no cafes in the evening working in Izborsk. The hotel offers a beautiful view of the fortress. There is no Internet.
2 Hotel "Izborsk-Park", st. Pechorskaya, 43. ☎ +7 (911) 370 4219, +7 (921) 509 1127, +7 (931) 902 2067. Double room without conveniences 990 rubles, 2-person guest house 2500 rubles. Mini-hotel, restaurant. There are double rooms of the main building (shower and toilet are located on the second floor of the main building, next to the rooms), as well as a guest house (there is a shower and toilet). The reviews are very mixed: someone really liked it, someone complained about the discrepancy between price and quality.
3 Hotel Complex "Izborsk", st. Pechora, 13. ☎ +7 (8112) 60 703 1, +7 (921) 703 703 1. Single 1900 rub., Double from 2500 rub. Hotel with 40 rooms, restaurant, free parking


Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

1 Museum cafe "Pancake" (near the fortress). Open 10.00-19.00. seven days a week. The bill per person is 150 - 200 rubles (2013). Cafe in the hut with a small cozy room (there is even a working Russian stove). The menu includes salads, first, second courses, pancakes with various fillings, dumplings, as well as a stew of broth and herbal tea prepared according to the original recipe. Very tasty cooked. A lot of positive feedback. In addition, they sell chips, chocolates, juices, beer; brewed espresso. Taking into account the color (the hall with the Russian stove is especially good in winter) is quite a suitable place for a snack. The only problem is the lack of space, which is especially felt in winter (in summer, open terraces save).
2 Cafe Izborsk Sloboda, the village of Old Izborsk, Pskov ul. (Turn to the town of Pechora, 500 meters from the old fortress.). ☎ +7 (981) 351-24-51. Open 11:00 - 1:30. pancakes, chowder, tea.
In addition, there are restaurants in hotels Izborsk-Park and Izborsk Hotel Complex.


Cultural (and not so cultural) events

International festival of military historical reconstruction "Iron City". Beginning in 2007, a festival of military-historical reconstruction was held in Izborsk fortress in August. In the framework of the festival: fights, dances, rites of fraternization, torchlight processions, reconstruction of the storming of the fortress, equestrian tournament, craft workshops, medieval theater and much more.


Interesting information and useful tips