Close to the Russian border with Latvia and Belarus is the city of Velikie Luki - which can be translated as Great Bows, although rather than being named after the weapon, it is believed the bow is in fact in reference to bends in the River Lovat on which the city stands. Nevertheless it was decided to depict bows when designing the city’s coat of arms. This is however appropriate taking into account Veliky Luki’s military past.
Understandably given its location on Russia’s western border, the city has played a significant role in national defence. During the Second World War the city was heavily bombed and very briefly fell to the Nazis. The much-celebrated heroism and self-sacrifice of Matvey Kuzmin took place during this period just outside Velikie Luki. Today Velikie Luki holds the honorary title of a City of Military Glory.