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Bryansk, one of the oldest Russian cities, is situated on both the banks of the Desna River, where the Bolva and Snezhet Rivers meet Desna. The rivers divide the city into four districts: Bezhitsky, Volodarsky (including Bolshoe Polpino), Sovetsky, and Fokinsky (including the urban settlement Belye Berega). The population of Bryansk is 460 thousand people.

After the collapse of the USSR Bryansk turned into the centre of the Russia-Ukraine border area. Taking a favorable location on the railroad connecting the two capitals, Moscow and Kiev, the city very well fits into the system of economic relations of the two countries.

The Bryansk Region has always been one of the bridges facilitating Russias cultural communication with Ukraine and Byelorussia. Cultural traditions of the three East Slavic countries have been blended in the architecture monuments, the language, and the folk traditions of this area.

What makes Bryansk so cozy and attractive is a number of ancient churches that dominate traditionally urban layout of the typically provincial Russian city. Bryansk churches are elegant, with almost weightless forms and light domes that give them a special charm.

What to See:

On one of the cliffs going down to the floodplain of Desna there stands out a place protected with steep ravines from three sides. It is the present-day Pokrovskaya Gora (Intercession Hill) with the Intercession Cathedral towering on its top. The Cathedral was tentatively built in 1626 and judging by its appearance was subject to several reconstructions. Yet, one can as well depicture the ancient fortress with princely palace (the oak-walled Bryansk Kremlin of the 11-12th century) here. A magnificent view of the Desna River and vast expanses behind it opens from here.

The Intercession Hill is the citys historic part, to the south and the west of which its modern administrative and cultural centre has been evolved.

Among the preserved monuments of cult architecture one should see the 18th century Gorno-Nickolsky Cathedral rising over the Desna cliffs, and the St. Peter and Paul Fortress. The Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin is the only preserved monument of the ancient Monastery of St. Peter and Paul founded in the 13th century by Bryansk Prince Oleg. The Church was built in 1702-05 on the place of an ancient wooden church.

The working Resurrection Church is a three-spired landmark with an ornate iconostasis. Other churches Trinity Church in Bezhichi, Tikhvinskaya Church, etc. may also be of great interest to those who are fond of Old Russian architecture and culture. They create an impression of simplicity and power.

Among other church buildings there stands out a Baptist Church located on the north of the right bank of Desna; though not a monument of architecture, it is a monument of the unique epoch of Gorbachevs perestroika.

In the city you can take a walk along the streets with the late 19th early 20th century two- or three-storeyed houses, once belonging to merchants and the gentry, and go down a broad stairway towards the Desna River.

Remarkable is the Park Museum of A. K. Tolstoy in the heart of the city; it is decorated with wooden sculptures and presents the Bryansk Forest museum boasting splendid dioramas. Other museums of Bryansk will introduce you to the local history, geography and culture, and of course the famed Bryansk Region partisan movement of the 1941-1943. You can also see art exhibitions there.




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  (Bryansk Region)

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