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Old Town of Ustyuzhna
November 17, 2016 17:05


The old provincial town of Ustyuzhna cannot be called a tourist centre. However, those who have visited the place at least once, will definitely return. Every year in July the festival of blacksmith art “The Iron Field” is held in the framework of the Pozdeevskaya Fair. Blacksmiths from all over Russia gather in the ancient land of Ustyuzhna to match strength in their craftsmanship. Ustyuzhna was first mentioned in the Uglich chronicle in 1252 under the name Ustyug-Iron.

For centuries the city had been called Ustyuzhna-Iron Ustyuzhna-of-the-Iron-Field (Zheleznopolskaya). The town is located on the so-called “iron field”, i.e. terrain rich in bog iron ore which has been used by the local population since ancient times. The development of metallurgy in Russia started here.

The historic centre of the city is the Ancient Settlement, which means an earthwork built by pagan Slavs in XI-XII centuries on the banks of the Mologa River. In ancient times there was a pagan temple of Kupala here. In XVI century by the Decree of Peter I, Ustyuzhna I became a major centre for metal works and weapon-making. There were 77 owners of blacksmith’s shops in Ustyuzhna in 1589, and only 30 of them in Tula.

The best Ustyuzhna masters were sent to the Urals by Peter I in order to create the famous Ural plant. In XVII century the town was attacked several times, including by the troops of the False Dmitry II who tried to besiege it, but the town was never captured, thanks to the well-equipped wooden fortress. At the beginning of XVIII century Ustyuzhna was only slightly inferior to Tula in weapons production. Gogol based his comedy “The Inspector General” on the case that occurred in Ustyuzhna.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Ustyuzhna Russian festivals    

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