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Tarusa is a quiet provincial town located at the confluence of Tarusa (also Taruska) River and Oka River, 36 km away from Serpukhov city and 70 km from Kaluga.

Tarusa is a remarkable cultural centre of Russia; this town is associated with a number of outstanding artists and poets, writers and film directors.

Presently it is connected with Moscow and Kaluga by motorway transportation.


The town was for the first time mentioned in chronicles in 1246. It was both the centre of an apanage principality, of its own princedom and in the late 14th century it became part of the Great Moscow Princedom. Being an important strategic point, it was more than once assailed by Crimean Tatars in the 16th century (1521, 1591, etc.)

In the 16th-17th centuries Tarusa was a significant coastal fortification point on Oka River, on the Southern approaches to Moscow. During Patriotic War of 1812 Tarusa was the nearest rear town, through which the Russian army was provided with food and arms supplies.

Tarusa as a Cultural Centre

Nowadays Tarusa has acquired the status of a cultural centre, being associated with life stories and creations of illustrious artists, writers, poets and film directors. For example, poet Konstantin Paustovsky and film director Ivan Bodrov are honourary freemen of Tarusa.

In various years poetesses Marina Tsvetayeva and Bella Akhmadullina, poet Nikolai Zabolotsky, writers A. Novikov-Priboy, Anton Chekhov, A. Sumarokov, literary critic A. Vinogradov, childrens writer, poet and comic Grigory Oster, artists V. Polenov, N. Krymov, N. Terpsikhorov and V. Baksheyev, sculptor A. Faidysh-Krandievsky, Peoples Artist of Russia K. Yuon, and many others lived and worked in Tarusa. Hungarian writer Anatol Gidash went for summer holidays in Tarusa every year, whereas two famous Russian film directors, namely Andrei Tarkovsky and N. Vysotsky lived in Tarusa for some time.

In different periods a number of films were shot in Tarusa and its outskirts.

Dream Valley

Votaries of muse look for inspiration, as a rule, on the left high bank of the Oka River, in the so-called Dream Valley with a beautiful view. This long ravine in the southern outskirts of Tarusa was called Dream Valley by Marina Tsvetayeva. This place breathes peace and quiet, the ravine slopes are scattered with bluebells, cornflowers and strawberries, and in the valley there is a brook. Local viewers believe it to be the Dream Valley an unusual place, whereas ufologists who visited it found it extension of the anomalous zone discovered in the neighboring Tula Region.

Sights of Tarusa

Apart from the legendary Dream Valley the town boasts Tarusa Picture Gallery, the Tsvetayevs Museum, and Polenovo, a museum estate of artist V. Polenov.

In the town one can see ancient St. Peter and Paul Cathedral (1780), Resurrection Church (17th c.), an old salt barn construction (late 18th early 19th cc.), tannery storehouse (19th c), a shopping arcade (late 19th c.), as well as several dwelling houses built in the late 19th early 20th cc.

In the vicinity of Tarusa there has remained the Ignatyevskoye estate (1847, former Pertsovs Estate) and in the nearby settlements there is Church of the Holy Sign (1759, Roshcha Settlement), and Church of the Presentation in the Temple (1886, Vvedenie Settlement).

The cinema and concert hall of Tarusa annually hosts Animated Cartoon Film Festival and Svyatoslav Richter Foundation Music Festival.

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