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    Velikiye Luki

Velikiye Luki is an old Russian town in the Pskov Regio. It stands in the Lovatsky Lowland, on the banks of River Lovat (the basin of Lake Ilmen), 313 km to the southeast of Pskov.

It is a railway junction. The town with the population of 96.514 people (as of 2014) takes the area of 57 sq km.

History of Velikiye Luki

It was first time recorded as the town of Luka on Lovat in the Novgorod Chronicle in 1166. In the 9th -11th centuries the first settlement was located at the distance of 3 km from the modern town. From the 12th century it was a part of the Novgorod feudal republic and was of strategic significance as a fortress (constructed in 1211) on the routes of approach to Novgorod and Pskov on the border with Lithuania.

From 1406(the Pskov Chronicle) it was recorded as Velikiye Luki. After falling of Novgorod in 1478 it was a part of the Russian state.

During the Livonian War of 1558-83 it was the headquarters of Ivan the Terrible from 1558. In 1580 the fortress was seized by the Polish-Lithuanian armies of the king Stefan Batory; in 1583, however, it was returned to Russia.

In the early 17th century the town was occupied by armies of False Dmitry I and then False Dmitry II. The town was completely destroyed in 1611. In 1619 it was reconstructed by the Ural and Don Cossacks under the decree of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich.

During the Northern War of 1700-21 a six-bastion fortress was built in Velikiye Luki by order of Peter I. In the course of Patriotic War of 1812 Velikiye Luki was a large rear base for the Russian armies.

In 1708 the town was attributed to the Ingermanland Province (St. Petersburg Province since 1710). From 1727 it was a provincial center of the Novgorod Province. From 1796 it was a district city of the Pskov Province.

In 1856 the district town of Velikiye Luki of the Pskov Province had 11 churches, 1192 houses, and 83 shops.

In the late 19th century post routes ran through Velikiye Luki. There were 10 tanning, 2 soap-producing, 1 candle and 1 wax factories operating in the town. Railroad was laid through the town in 1901.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) hard battles took place near Velikiye Luki. It was occupied by fascist armies on July 19, 1941 and released by armies of the Western front on July 21, 1941. It was seized again on August 25, 1941 and finally released by armies of the Kalinin frontline on January 17, 1943.

In 1944-57 the town was the center of the Velikiye Luki Region.

In the historical centre of the town there is the fortress of 1704-08 kept intact. The total length of its shaft makes 2 km and the original height was 21 m.

Sightseeing

The town has the Local History Museum, anf memorial museums of Academician I.M. Vinogradov, and Alexander Matrosov.

Not far from Velikiye Luki there are memorial museums of Modest Mussorgsky and Sophia Kovalevskaya.

In the town of Velikiye Luki and its vicinities there are about 60 monuments to the soldiers lost in the Great Patriotic War 1941-45.



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Velikiye Luki
  (Pskov Region)

Cities of the region

    Pskov
    Izborsk
    Ostrov
    Nevel
    Dno
    Opochka


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