10 popular sights of Pskov
It is especially pleasant to come to Pskov from big cities with a frantic pace of life or from noisy industrial centers.
In Pskov it is quiet and time seems to stand still: the Kremlin, monasteries and watchtowers stand on the banks of the Velikaya River, just as it did centuries ago. Through the center of Pskov you can study the ancient history of Russia with its holy princes and Orthodox churches. One or two hours drive from the city is a cave monastery and the Mecca of all lovers of Russian literature: the village of Mikhailovskoye, the ancestral home of Pushkin. It is there that the poet’s grave is located.
The center of Pskov, where the main attractions are concentrated, is compact. You can walk around it in a few hours. But if you want to visit places outside the city, it is better to set aside a couple of days for the trip.
Pskov has abolished self-isolation for visitors and opened museums – you can travel in peace. On how to get to Pskov, I wrote in another article. And in this one I will tell you where you must visit the city and what is worth seeing. If you know other interesting places, share them in the comments.
The Pskov Kremlin
How much does it cost to enter: in the Kremlin and the Holy Trinity Cathedral – for free Time for a visit: from 1.5 hours Working time: 6:00-22:00
The Kremlin, or the Krom, is the main historical landmark of Pskov on the bank of the Velikaya river. Since the 14th century it was the center of the Pskov land. Since that time it has preserved the St. Trinity Cathedral, two belts of fortress walls with watchtowers around it and administrative buildings – the Prikaznye Chambers.
Holy Trinity Cathedral is the center of the Kremlin. The first building of the church was built back in the 10th century by order of St. Princess Olga, the founder of the city. It burned down, and then the temple was destroyed more than once. The snow-white building which tourists see now was erected in the 17th century. The cathedral is proud of its seven-tier iconostasis from the 17th-19th centuries. It holds the relics of saints and an important relic for Pskov: Olga’s Cross. It was created in memory of the wooden cross, which Olga set at the site of the founding of Pskov.
On the fortress walls of the Kremlin you can climb special stairs. From the narrow windows you can see the city and the rivers Velikaya and Pskov. I advise to climb to the observation deck of Vlasyev Tower: from its attic, from a height of about the seventh floor, there is a beautiful view of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, the River Velikaya and the city. Bear in mind that the stairs are narrow and steep. If you suffer from shortness of breath, it’s better not to risk it. In my presence an elderly woman came back from halfway up, could hardly catch her breath, and demanded a refund from the cashier.
Climbing the Vlasyev Tower for adults costs 100 P, for pupils, students and senior citizens – 50 P. It is open from 11:00 to 18:00, Monday and Tuesday are days off. You can climb the Vlasyev Tower only from April 15 to November 15. In winter it is closed.
Exhibitions are organized in the Prikaznye Chambers. They give an idea of how and what Pskov lived in the Middle Ages. On the first floor you can see models of the ancient city, household items of merchants and peasants and other relics, and on the second floor – “tables”: prototypes of modern courts and ministries. Each table denotes a department: judicial, monetary, ambassadorial. At them in the 17th century the administrative and economic issues were solved.
Admission to the exhibition is open from 11:00 to 18:00 on all days except Mondays, and costs 300 P for adults, 200 P for schoolchildren, students and seniors. Family tickets for two adults and one to three children will cost 450 P . Children under 7 years old are admitted for free. Large families, schoolchildren and students can get in free on the first Wednesday of the month.
Organized tours of the Kremlin take about 1.5 hours. It is interesting to take an evening theatrical tour: it is held at dusk, with lanterns and accompanied by “archer” or “prince’s wife”. In summer it begins at 19:00, in winter – at 16:00. Cost for groups of 3 to 7 people – 2000 P, 8 to 15 people – 3000 P. You can book tours by phone +8 8112 66-33-11 or in the information center of the Kremlin. It is on the first floor of the Prikaznye Chambers.
For walks around the Kremlin take comfortable shoes. Do not wear tight skirts or dresses: the steps on the stairs are very high, and it is impossible to take a step in such clothes.
The Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral of the Mirozhsky Monastery
How much does it cost to enter: for adults – 200 P, for pupils, students and pensioners – 100 P, children under 7 years old – free of charge. Visiting time: from 30 minutes Working time: 11:00-18:00, closed Monday, sanitary day – last Tuesday of the month
Mirozhsky monastery is a functioning monastery, but people come here first of all for the sake of the Transfiguration Cathedral. Unlike other buildings located on the territory of the monastery, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration belongs not to the church, but to the Pskov museum-reserve. It is an inactive church: it is under restoration.
Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral is an object from the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here you can see the only frescoes of the 12th century in Russia, created by Greek masters. The pictures completely cover the walls and the ceiling of the cathedral. The paintings are compared with Byzantine mosaics of the 12th century, which have survived in churches in Sicily. Most of the frescoes have already been restored, but work is ongoing and scaffolding stands in the center of the temple.
During the off-season, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration is closed, but it is open even to a single visitor. However, you can get into the temple only in dry weather.
To visit the cathedral you can buy a family ticket: for two adults and one or three schoolchildren the entrance costs 400 R . Large families, schoolchildren and students can enter the temple for free on the first Wednesday of the month.
Temples from the UNESCO World Heritage List
How much does it cost to enter: free of charge Time to visit: from 15 minutes
In the summer of 2019, 10 Pskov churches at once were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the category “Churches of the Pskov school of architecture.” They are snow-white and built of local limestone. I like their architectural minimalism: no abundance of gold or mosaics, no pretentious elements.
The temples are located in different parts of the city. If you want, you can visit them all. But to save time and at the same time to get an idea of Pskov churches, I advise to examine three cathedrals in the city center. They are situated within a 5 minute walk of each other: the Church of St. Nicholas of Usokhi of the 15th century in Sovetskaya Street, the Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel of the 14th century in the same street, and the Church of St. Basil the Great in Gorka of the 15th century in Oktyabrsky Prospect.
You can also order an excursion: a walking tour of 7 churches or a car tour of all 10. The walking tour costs 1500 P for a group of 1-5 people or 2200 P for a group of 6-12 people. Automobile – 2000 P for 1-5 people, 2500 P for 6-12 people, 3000 P for a group of 13-30 people. Phone to book a tour: + 8 8112 66-33-11.
One of the cathedrals from the UNESCO list is the Church of St. Basil the Great on the Gorka. Source: Sergey Korchanov / Pixabay
Where is it located: Zapskovie How much does it cost to get in: free of charge Time for a visit: from 30 minutes
Gremyachaya Tower is another Unesco World Heritage Site. It is a surviving part of the defensive structures built around Pskov in the 16th century. The 29-meter Gremyachaya is the highest stone tower in the city, and it consists of six tiers-stories. Many local legends are associated with it: stories about the ghost of a prince killed by enemies; about a sleeping princess with barrels of gold ringing at night; about devils who pretend to be hospitable countrymen.
You can not only walk around Gremyachaya, but also climb it. The tower offers a view of the Pskov River and Kuopio Park, which the city calls Finland Park.
Gremyachaya Tower is one of the highest observation sites in Pskov. Source: Grigory Gusev / Flickr
Embankments of the Velikaya and Pskova rivers
How much does it cost to enter: free of charge Time to visit: from 30 minutes
The embankment of the right bank of the Velikaya River is considered the main one in the city. It consists of two levels. On the upper level, tourists and locals walk, do sports, have a snack on the benches overlooking the river. At the lower level men go fishing.
In the summer from here go motor boats and aqua cabs for walks on the river and the Pskov Lake. Their mooring is between the Olginsky bridge and the Profsoyuznaya street. An hour boat ride in the summer of 2019 cost 500 R for adults, for children under 7 years old – free.
The most beautiful views open from the left side of the Velikaya River, from the Olginsky embankment: from here you can admire the Kremlin or the installation “Russia begins here”. Olginsky embankment is landscaped only partially. If you go a little further Olginsky bridge, in the direction of Mirozhsky monastery, you can get to a sandy beach.
The most cozy to me seems Sovetskaya embankment of the Pskova river. There is a lot of greenery, benches in a semicircle, artists with easels and fattened ducks. Tourists come to the Sovetskaya embankment to see the place of confluence of the Pskova and the Velikaya and take a photo of the Ploskaya Tower of the Kremlin.
Pskov sights – TOP 40
Pskov is a city with a rich history. Defensive structures built in the Middle Ages are intertwined here with beautiful monasteries and cathedrals. We have selected the most popular and interesting sights of Pskov, which every tourist must visit.
You may be interested in cultural and historical places of St. Petersburg and Moscow
1. Gremyachaya Tower
Gremyachaya Tower is one of the most famous sights of Pskov. It was built in 1525. The architect was Ivan Fryazin, a Russian master of Italian origin. The style of the tower construction is really similar to the Italian fashion of the 16th century – researchers find many common features between Florentine and Pskov defensive constructions. For 500 years many rumors and legends have appeared around the Gremyachya Tower, the most part of which are fictions.
2. Dovmont city
Prince Dovmont is considered to be the greatest ruler of Pskov for all its existence. During his reign new fortifications were added to the Pskov Kremlin, called Dovmont Town.
Archaeologists have found there the ruins not only of the city walls, but also the remains of churches built during that period. Nowadays, active restoration works are being carried out, and it is planned to bring all the buildings of the city to their original appearance. Dovmont Town has a great cultural and historical value.
3. Menshikov Chambers
In the early 17th century the head of a merchant family Semyon Menshikov ordered four houses to be built in Pskov, which later became the family estate. All the buildings were made of white stone. In the XVIII century there was a fire in the city, and the chambers were badly damaged, so Menshikov decided to sell all the estates, located here.
Now the chambers are owned by the city authorities. The houses are easy to distinguish by the windows – they are truly unique. This place is of particular interest for the study of architecture of the XVII century.
4. Pogankin Chambers
In the XVII century the merchant Sergei Pogankin decided to build himself chambers in Pskov. According to his idea the buildings were to be used not only as dwellings, but also as workshops and markets. In the 19th century, a museum was opened on the site of his estate.
Among the exhibits on display in this Pskov landmark is a rich collection of icons from the time of the Moscow Principality, as well as a series of works in silver and other precious metals. Pogankin Chambers are open to the public all year round.
5. The Pskov Kremlin
The center of life in Pskov a thousand years ago was the Pskov Kremlin – a complex of buildings made of white stone. The Kremlin includes Dovmont town, Trinity cathedral and chambers of local dignitaries.
The height of the walls of the Kremlin is eight meters, and the total area of all buildings is three hectares. In addition, in the Kremlin there are many towers with an interesting history. This attraction of Pskov is in particular demand among visitors to the city.
We recommend you to see the sights of Sochi and the Crimea.
6. Trinity Cathedral
The most famous temple of Pskov is Trinity Cathedral. The building was rebuilt three times – due to fires and raids of neighboring countries. The first temple was built by Princess Olga in the early X century.
The exquisite interior decoration of the church is also impressive. Inside are the remains of most of the Pskov princes, as well as those of the people who influenced the fate of Pskov. The iconostasis inside the Trinity Cathedral is of particular value.
7. Church of Alexander Nevsky
In 1908 the authorities decided to erect the church of Alexander Nevsky in the city. The construction took only fourteen months. The priests always support the military who suffered during military operations – funds received from donations go to print books and help to families. Although the architecture of the church is similar to the style of all Russian military churches, this building immediately surprises with its color scheme, luxurious interior and ringing bells.
8. Mason’s House
The name of this house has nothing to do with the famous secret society. The thing is that in XX century a Scotsman named Mason has moved to Pskov and started to teach history courses in universities. He ordered to build him a house in Art Nouveau style, which is now considered one of the landmarks of Pskov.
During the Soviet years, his apartment was turned into a communal apartment, but in 1997, a museum was opened there. There is a collection of medals, weapons, and Pskov soft toys.
9. Monastery of St. John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist Monastery is one of the oldest buildings of Pskov. The first mention of the church dates back to 1243. The architecture of the church corresponds to the basic style of the XII century. Most of its existence the building was used as a nunnery.
The church reached the peak of its fame in the 17th century. Soviet authorities haven’t touched the monastery. During the Great Patriotic War the church also remained intact. Now restoration works are going on here.
10. Blacksmith’s yard
Blacksmithing is widespread in Pskov. The history of this place of interest of Pskov dates back to the XVI century. In 1944 the building was badly damaged in a fire and was not used for ten years, but in the second half of the XX century large-scale restoration works began.
In 2008 a museum was opened in the blacksmith’s courtyard. Visitors can see how Pskov masters created their masterpieces, as well as try to forge something themselves.