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    Oryol Region

History

Founded in 1566 by order of the Tsar Ivan the Terrible as a fortress built to protect the southern borders of the young Moscow against the Tatars, Oryol is a pleasant provincial town with its old pastel-hued buildings and 18-19th centuries churches. The historians consider that the city got its name from the name of the River Oryol, now Orlik, at the bank of which it was erected. However, the folk legend ascribes it to the mighty bird the eagle the master of the city.

In the 17th century it was one of the centers of the popular uprising against Boris Godunov and Vasily Shuisky. About the same time Oryol becomes an important commercial center, as the Oka River was one of major waterways of the time.

In 1796 Oryol becomes the center of Oryol principality. In 1937 the city becomes the center of the Oryol Region.

The town has held quite well despite being devastated several times by Nazi armies during WWII. Though at present Oryol is an important industrial and commercial center, it preserves the atmosphere of a 19th century provincial town. Oryol is the birthplace of almost a dozen of Russian writers and still has some traits of the 19th century literary capital of Russia.

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