Rylsk, Russia




Rylsk is located in Kursk Oblast. It is the administrative center of the Rila region. Quiet cozy historic city in which you can hear the famous Kursk nightingales. City is located on both banks of the Seim River (Dnieper basin), 124 km west of Kursk. Population - 16,319 people. (2017). Rylsk is one of the most ancient cities of Russia.


Most likely, Rylsk got its name from the river Rylo (formerly Ryla). The origin of the name of the river is not known for certain. The most common version of the origin of the Slavic "ryt" or "dig", although some researchers attributed the hydronym Rylo to the pre-Slavic stratum (of Finno-Ugric or even Iranian origin with different toponymic meanings). There are also several versions of the “folk etymology” of the name of the river and the city:

According to one of the versions, Rylsk owes his name to St. John of Rila. Although the saint himself was never in Rylsk of the Kursk region - he lived in Bulgaria in the Rila Mountain. And after his death, the Bulgarian monks of the Rila monastery were forced to flee the country because of the oppression of Byzantium, with them they took a piece of the relics of the saint - the right hand. This event, although it belongs to the pre-Christian period of Russia, is associated with the existence in the 17th century Rylsk of a church in the name of St. John of Rila (according to this version, this church was founded by Bulgarian monks, and the river and the city got their names).

Supporters of another version argue that the name of the city is connected with the large temple of Yarily (deities of spring fertility) located in the ancient settlement of northerners, and the city was originally called Yari (s) lsk. The temple itself was located on an elevation now known as the “Mount of Ivan of Rila”.

According to another ancient legend, the river got its name in the following way: a wild pig with piglets, digging a lair for itself, dug a source, which was the beginning of the river. Apparently, the consonance of the names of the river and the boar's head (snout-"rylo" in Russian) gave rise to this story.


Travel Destinations

In Rylsk, several dozen residential and administrative buildings of the 18th-19th centuries have been preserved. Orthodox architecture is represented by the Intercession Cathedral (1822), the Assumption Cathedral (1811) and the Ascension Church (1866). The city has a local history museum founded in 1919. The museum has a rich collection of art objects transferred from the nationalized noble estates of the former Rylsky district.

In Rylsk, many monuments of civil and church architecture of the 18th-19th centuries have been preserved.



The Nicholas Church is a now non-existent temple (the box of the church building was dismantled in 1950), located on the current Ostrovsky Street. The church was built in 1817 and suffered even more than the Assumption Cathedral during the Great Patriotic War.
It had a lot in common in its architecture with the building of the Intercession Church and with the bell towers of both the Intercession Church and the Assumption Cathedral. In particular, in the bell towers of all three churches, columns are placed at the corners in bunches of three, which is reminiscent of the 17th century and has nothing to do with classical columns. This suggests that the buildings of all three churches are the creation of the same talented, probably local architect.

The Assumption Cathedral is an Orthodox church towering on the square, in the depths of which, at the entrance to the city garden, there is a monument to G. I. Shelikhov. The cathedral was built in 1811 by the merchant of the 1st guild I. F. Filimonov.
The Intercession Cathedral was erected in 1822 by the Shelikhovs on Preobrazhenskaya Street. The bell tower of this church is almost an exact copy of the bell tower of the Assumption Cathedral.
Ascension Church is located on the corner of Lunacharsky and Lenin streets. The building of this temple was built in 1866. In addition to being of interest from the point of view of the architecture of the church, it is curious that it was built on interest from the shares of the Russian-American Trading Company from the contributions of G. I. Shelikhov.



Shemyaki houses
In the square, where the administrative square was located in the old days, three buildings have been preserved, which the Rylians have long associated with the name of Prince Vasily Ivanovich Shemyaka. These buildings were built no earlier than the first quarter of the 18th century, apparently on the site of pre-existing ancient buildings. This is suggested both by the fact that they have long been called the houses of Shemyaka, and the existence of a hiding place that connected two of these buildings. One of Shemyaka's houses is a one-story building with cellars underneath. It has eight rooms covered with vaults, on which stucco decorations have been preserved. In the center of one of these decorations, an Elizabethan eagle is placed, giving reason to conclude that the molding dates back to the middle of the 18th century. In the north-east corner of the square there is a second building that has suffered greatly from time to time, formerly called Shemyaki's office. This is a small two-story house, each floor of which has two small rooms covered with vaults. Finally, on the north side of the square rises a rather large two-story house, over which a mezzanine was later built. Under the whole house there are extensive cellars, and at the level of the first floor, during the restoration of the house in 1952, four small casemates were discovered, the entrances to which and small windows were later sealed and plastered. Thus, it must be assumed that all three buildings were built at the beginning of the 18th century after the fire of 1720, which destroyed almost the entire city. They were occupied by the Rylsk governors and the office. Later, these buildings began to be incorrectly referred to as "Shemyaka's houses".

Administrative Square
On the square between these three buildings stood a non-existent two-story stone cathedral church, erected in 1769 on the site of a wooden church built by Prince Vasily Shemyaka and burned down in 1720. In front of this administrative square, there was a city trading square, on which there was a frontal place, which was obligatory for that time. Later, the administrative square was separated from the trading area by a fence with stone gates and a large two-story house with a four-columned portico and semi-basements. The building was built in 1783 by one of the local merchants F. A. Vykhodtsev, a former clerk of the merchants Shelikhovs. It houses the House of Pioneers. On Rosa Luxembourg Street there is a house in which Peter I lived when he returned after the defeat of the Swedes near Poltava. This house was subjected to significant changes, in particular, the old outer staircase was destroyed. This house is the oldest building of all preserved in Rylsk.

Houses of merchants Shelikhovs
There are two houses of the Shelikhovs in Rylsk. One is located on the corner of Karl Liebknecht and Uritsky streets, on the territory of a huge estate with a garden. According to legend, the navigator G. I. Shelikhov lived in this house. The building is two-storied, with extensive vaulted cellars, it is rectangular in plan. In general, the building is strict and even harsh. If you believe the legend about the birth of G. I. Shelikhov in this house, then its construction should be attributed to the 1740s, which is doubtful. Judging by the nature of the architecture, the house was built in the 1770s. The second Shelikhov house is located on the so-called elevated Horn, and earlier it stood above the Seim itself, the channel of which then moved away from this coast for a rather considerable distance to the east. The house is L-shaped. From the side of the street and towards the Seim, the building has two floors, from the side of the courtyard the house is three-story. The building is typical for the end of the 18th century; it stands out sharply among other buildings in Rylsk both in its unusual plan and in its decorative design. From the middle of the 19th century, the Shelikhov house on the Horn above the Seim began to be called the “house of the 16th battery”, since an artillery unit stationed in Rylsk, bearing this name, was located in the house itself and on its territory.

Civil buildings of the late 18th and early 19th centuries
Several large buildings in Rylsk were built by millionaire merchant von Filimonov. At the end of the 18th century, he began to build a three-story residential building on Preobrazhenskaya Street (after the Great October Revolution of 1917 to the present - Lenin Street). At the beginning of the 20th century, a large building was added to the building (the building of a state farm-technical school), but its old part with a portico, four columns of which are placed on high pedestals, differs sharply from the later extension. The second, very large building with the same classical portico was built by von Filimonov at the corner of Karl Marx and Dzerzhinsky streets, and the corner of the building was solved in the spirit of the architecture of an earlier time. This house was built to accommodate city institutions. Nearby is the building of shopping malls, built by the heirs of von Filimonov at the end of the 18th century. The building is one-story, with L-shaped basements in plan. At its corner rises a rotunda, which has the outline of a trading weight in plan. On both sides of the rotunda there is an arcade that forms open walkways. At the corner of Lenin and Dzerzhinsky streets, there is now the building of the Rylsky District Department of Agriculture. This building was built for one of the Filimonovs by the architect Karl Scholz, who in the 1870s rebuilt the palace in the Maryino estate. An interesting monument of civil wooden architecture has been preserved in Rylsk. This is a large one-story wooden merchant's house with a lot of carved decorations. It is located on the corner of Lunacharsky and Uritsky streets. The hospital is now located here.

Rylsky State Museum of Local Lore (ul. Uritskogo, 81);
Museum and memorial complex "History of the Rylsk Aviation Technical College" (Sovetskaya Square, 7);
Rylsky Museum of Military Glory (Mayakovsky St., 41);
Museum of the History of the Rylsk Agricultural College (Lenin St., 42).
Not far from Rylsk is the Maryino Estate Museum.

Monument to the navigator, explorer G. I. Shelikhov. It was built in 1907 at the expense of the merchants and townspeople of Rylsk. Sculptor Ginzburg. Destroyed by the Nazis. Recreated 6 November 1957. Sculptor V. I. Ingal.



The climate is temperate continental. The city has warm springs and long summers. Winters are wet and cloudy, with cold waves followed by thaws. According to long-term observations, the average temperature of the coldest month of the year, January, is −6.9°С, the warmest, July, is +19.5°С. The average annual air temperature is +6.8°C, the annual rainfall is 638 mm. Below are tables with basic data on the climate of Rylsk in the periods 1960–2000 and 1981–2010.


Оrigin of name

It is most likely that Rylsk got its name from the Rylo River (formerly Ryla). The origin of the river's name is not known for certain. The most substantiated version of the origin is from the Slavic word “dig”, although some researchers attributed the hydronym Rylo to the pre-Slavic layer (Finno-Ugric or even Iranian origin with different toponymic meanings). There are also other versions of the origin of the name of the river and city.

According to one version, Rylsk owes its name to the Monk John of Rilsk, although the saint himself was never in Rylsk - he lived in Bulgaria, in the very places where the Rila Mountains, the Rilska River and the town of Rila are located. After his death, the Bulgarian monks of the Rila Monastery were forced to flee the country due to oppression by Byzantium. They took with them a piece of the saint’s relics—his right hand (right hand). This event, although it dates back to the pre-Christian period of Rus', is associated with the existence in Rylsk of the 17th century of a church in the name of St. John of Rylsk (according to this version, this church was founded by Bulgarian monks, and the river and the city received their names from it).

According to another legend, the river got its name like this: a wild pig with piglets, digging a lair for itself, dug up a source, which was the beginning of the river. Apparently, the consonance of the names of the river and the boar’s head (snout) gave rise to this version.



Rylskoye settlement
The Rylskoye settlement (Mount Ivan Rylsky) is located on the eastern outskirts of the city, where the Dublyanka River flows into the Seim River. The cultural layer up to 4.5 m thick contains strata from the Scythian culture to the late Middle Ages.

The burial of the 8th-9th centuries found here is associated with the monuments of the Volintsevo type. During excavations by M. V. Frolov in 1991, a destroyed burial of a Khazar warrior was discovered, which was accompanied by burials of a horse and a dog. He could be part of the Khazar detachment, which constituted the garrison of a fortified settlement. An important trade route of the Oka — the Seim went through the Kursk Poseimye, and the fortress guarded it.

Mention in chronicle
Rylsk was first mentioned in chronicles under 1152, when it was part of the Novgorod-Seversky principality. By the end of the 12th century, it was the center of the specific Rylsky principality. Since 1522 as part of the Russian state. At the end of the XIII or at the beginning of the XIV centuries, it went to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; at the end of the 15th century, it was given to the son of the famous Shemyaka, Ivan. The son of the latter, Vasily, in 1500 submitted to the Grand Duke of Moscow, John III; then Rylsk was a significant strategic point in the south-west of the Russian state.

It was repeatedly devastated by the Tatars (especially at the end of the 13th century), Lithuanians and Crimeans.

Pyotr Dmitrievich Turgenev was governor in Rylsk in 1559.

During the Time of Troubles, the city took the side of the impostor and in 1605 sheltered False Dmitry I within its walls.

Akinfiy Andreevich Turgenev was governor in Rylsk in 1698.

In the 18th century it became a county town, from 1796 - Kursk province.

In 1894, the movement of trains was opened on the narrow-gauge (1000 mm) section of the Korenevo - Rylsk of the Kiev-Voronezh railway.

In 1911, a power plant (Ryl Electric Society).

Soviet power in the city was established in November 1917.

In 1918, the city was a border checkpoint of the Ukrainian state.

From October 5, 1941 to August 30, 1943, Rylsk was occupied by Nazi invaders.