One of the oldest Russian cities, Smolensk is famed for its kremlin and the Dormition Cathedral which once held the revered Our Lady of Smolensk Icon. The city also has a very rich military history having been invaded by the armies of both Napoleon and Hitler, which has earned Smolensk the title of Hero City.
Top recommendations in Smolensk
Of course Smolensk is most famous for its kremlin and although only a few fragments and towers remain, they are nevertheless impressive. There are also many sights within the kremlin which are worth visiting, the foremost of them is the amazing Dormition Cathedral which stands on a hill inside the kremlin and is beautiful both inside and out.
12 Century Churches
Smolensk can also boast three surviving 12th century churches: Ss Peter and Paul's Church, Archangel Michael's Church and St John the Theologian's Church. All three churches are located outside of the Kremlin.
Smolensk has a rich military history due to its location on the approach to Moscow and having experienced the invasions of Napoleon and Hitler. Although there are several war-related monuments around the city, the most famous ones are found on Heroes Remembrance Square. Also located here is the Museum of Smolensk Lands during the Second World War.
Go to the village of Katyn to visit the memorial complex at the sight of the 1940 massacre of Polish officers. There is now also a memorial here to the 2010 aircrash which killed the Polish president.
Go to the village of Flenovo to see the Talashkino Estate and its Holy Spirit Church which is decorated by Nicholas Roerich.