by Olga BAZANOVA, journalist
As shown by archeological evidence collected in the 20th century, people settled in this area at the confluence of the Pskova and the Velikaya as early as the first centuries A.D. By the mid-millennium a settlement of the Slav tribe Krivichi was there, and towards the 10th century Krom, or a kremlin citadel, was built. Protected by a wooden fence, it became the core of a major industrial and trading center.
This city, one of our country's oldest, was first mentioned in the Tale of Bygone Years, the chronicles dated from the early 12th century. It is said to be founded anno 903 A.D. as the Kievan Prince Igor Ryurikovich took a maid "of Pskov named Olga".* Upon her husband's death (he was slain by local tribesmen) this wise and resolute woman headed Kievan Rus (ruled in 945 to 960) and implemented sweeping reforms, namely in tax collection, administrative division (with each district headed by an official called tiun), town building and, what is most important, she was the first Russian ruler to embrace Orthodox Christianity, thus heralding the adoption of Christianity by Kievan Rus in 988.
Local folks revere Princess Olga as the founder of Pskov, formerly known as Olgin grad ("Olga's town"), or the St. Trinity House. As legend has it, she saw three dazzling rays pointing at the site where a magnificent church was to rise, with a glorious and rich town around it, everlasting and immovable. The first wooden church of the Life-Giving St. Trinity must indeed have been built in the 10th century, still during Olga's lifetime. A stone church replaced it in the late 1130s.
The 72-meter-high cathedral of five domes that we see today is still the tallest structure in Pskov. Built of well-finished limestone slabs (limestone is the staple building material in the locality) and fitted with three apses**, two side-chapels and galleries, the church was put up between 1682 and 1699 on the old foundation accordin ... Читать далее