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Yelets is located on the bank of Sosna River (the right inflow of Don), at the distance of 78 km to the West of Lipetsk. It is a railway junction and a spot at the highway Moscow - Voronezh - Rostov-on-Don. Its overall area makes 65 sq. km.

History of Yelets

Yelets was for the first time recorded in the chronicle in the year 1146 as a fortified point for protection against nomadic Polovtsian tribes at the boundary of the Ryazan Principality. The town was named after the dialect Russian word yelets meaning an oak or fir-tree little forest, a thicket, or a grove.

In 1156 Yelets was burned down by the Polovtsians. In the 13th -14th centuries it was the center of a specific principality. In winters of 1237-1238 it was ruined by armies of Batyi Khan. It was plundered and burned by Uzbek Khan in 1316 and by Tegey Khan in 1365. On July 8, 1395, after the refusal of Yelets citizens to hand over the town voluntarily, it was razed to the ground and burned by Timur (Tamerlan's) armies. It was ruined by Mongol Tatars in 1415-1450 and fell into decay.

In 1483 it was annexed to the Moscow State. From 1591 Yelets was a sentry point at the southeastern boundaries of the Russian State. In 1618 troops of Little Russian hetman Konashevich-Sagaydachny seized the town and destroyed a considerable part of its fortifying constructions.

In 1708 it was attributed to the Azov Province (the Voronezh Province from 1725) and became the province center from 1719. From 1778 Yelets was the district city of the Oryol Province.

In 1856 the district city of Yelets of the Oryol Province had 17 churches, 3011 houses, and 215 shops.

In the second half of the 19th early 20th centuries Yelets was almost as large as Oryol in its area size. It was a big trading center for bread, fabrics, etc. The town was famous for its tanning industry, tobacco products, and making of Yelets lace.

During the Great Patriotic War 1941-45 it was occupied by fascist armies from December 5 to December 9, 1941.

Since 1960 its famous lace has been produced at the Yelets Art Crafts Centre, transformed into Yelets Laces company in 1974.

Architecture and Sights

The city has a number of museums, such as Yelets Museum of Local Lore, N. N. Zhukov's House Museum, Khrennikov's House Museum (a branch), the Writer I.A.Bunin Literary and Memorial Museum.

The central part of Yelets preserves its shape created according to the general plans of 1770 and 1827.

Other historical places of interest include dwelling houses and city estates of the 18th - early 19th centuries, the building of a tobacco factory (19th century), and the Voznesensky (Ascension) Cathedral (19th century).

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  (Lipetsk Region)

Cities of the region

    Lev Tolstoy

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