DmitrovRussian: Дмитров is a very small, ancient city located 65 km north of Moscow. It was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiya Rurikid prince and founder of the city of Moscow only seven years after he founded Moscow. In the past, Dmitrov was a major Russian political and economic centre and formed the Moscow’s northern line of defence. Dmitrov’s earliest rampart (dating back to the 12th c.) still exists today.

The Dmitrov RegionRussian: Dmitrovskiy rayon or Дмитровский район boasts a variety of picturesque landscapes, ranging from lowlands and hills to forests, marshlands, rivers and valleys. The major treasure of this beautiful town are its historic landmarks, including the well-preserved Kremlin and some 70 churches and monasteries, many of them dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The city has many residential and public buildings, monuments and memorial places from different centuries, all of which are very popular among both tourists and pilgrims who visit Dmitrov.

History of the Town

Archaeologists have unearthed Neolithic sites, Bronze Age burial grounds and an Iron Age settlement in the town’s surroundings. Among the exhibits on display at the local museum are artifacts from 11th to 13th-century settlements. Dmitrov was founded in 1154 on the bank of the YakhromaRussian: Яхрома River, in the lowland in front of the Klinsko-Dmitrovskaya Ridgeit is a part of the Moscow Upland, located in the northern part of the Moscow Region, and thus became a stronghold whose impenetrability was enhanced by natural barriers. At the same time, the town benefitted from its location along trade routes by land and water. The town was named after the newborn son of Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy, Dmitri.

The town became the center of the Dmitrov Principality in the 14th century and was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1364. The reign of Ivan III’s son Yuri in the first half of the 16th century marks the golden age of Dmitrov. The town became a major trading outpost, developing economic relations with some of the most remote places in Russia, such as the Caspian region and the Baltic States. It is during Prince Yuri’s reign that the Assumption CathedralRussian: Uspenskiy sobor or Успенский собор was built in the town’s Kremlin surrounded with tall earthen ramparts. The construction of the stone Boris and Gleb MonasteryRussian: Borisoglebskiy monastyr or Борисоглебский монастырь also dates back to this time.

During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the town fell into decay after it passed into the hands of oprichniksthe political police and was later destroyed by Polish invaders in 1610. In the 18th century, Dmitrov became an important town once again, due to its position along the waterway from Moscow to St. Petersburg, the new capital of the Russian Empire. The town’s first large-scale places of industry, including a cloth factory and an ironworks, were built at that time, wooden churches were replaced with stone, and the first stone residential houses also appeared.

The town fell upon hard times after the Russian Revolution of 1917. A huge labour camp, created in order to construct the Moscow Canala canal that connects the Moskva River with the Volga River, was established in this area in the 1930s, with its headquarters located in Dmitrov’s Boris and Gleb Monastery. November 1941 was marked by heavy fighting against the Nazis, but they were unable to breach Dmitrov to get any closer to Moscow.

The revival of this ancient town started in the early 2000s in commemoration of 850 years since it was first established. In 2005, it ranked first among Russia’ best-maintained cities with a population under 100,000. Today, Dmitrov is a cozy, beautiful town with a population of about 70,000. It is also the centre of one of Moscow OblastRussian: Moskovskaya oblast or Московская область’s most successful regions. Situated at the intersection of railroads and highways, it also has an active port on its river.

As Dmitrov’s history attracts more and more tourists and pilgrims on visit to holy sites, tourism promises to be a considerable source of income for the town, whose infrastructure has undergone considerable upgrading recently.

Dmitrov’s landmarks

The most interesting location in Dmitrov is its Istoricheskaya SquareRussian: Istoricheskaya ploschad or Историческая площадь with the city’s Kremlin in the centre. The square is surrounded by 980-meter-long and 15-meter-high ramparts and remnants of the moat, a fine example of 12th-century Russian fortification construction. Out of three passages that once existed in the rampart only Nikolskiye GateRussian: Nikolskiye vorota or Никольские ворота has been restored so far. Paths run along the top of the rampart offering one of the town’s best vantage points for panoramic view of the kremlin and the surroundings. An architectural complex dating back to the early 19th century is also located in Dmitrov’s Kremlin.

The heart of the Kremlin is the Assumption Cathedral (11, Istoricheskaya Square), built between 1509 and 1533. Five domes and an open arcade crown this magnificent cruciform building, the architecture of which is strongly influenced by the Italian Renaissance style and adorned with faceted apses in the altar section and circular lucarne windows. The cathedral’s external décor includes three unique tiled bas-reliefs, the round one portraying Saint George with the other two on the north and south facades in the shape of a cross.

In the late 18th century, a belfry was added to the cathedral and the gallery underwent major reconstruction. Today, the cathedral’s interior features a carved five-tiered iconostasis with both icons (15th to 19th centuries) and mural paintings. The Assumption Cathedral is considered to be the most important of Dmitrov’s landmarks. Religious services resumed in the cathedral in 1991 and recently, a Sunday school was opened as well.

Dmitrov’s Museum of History and ArtsRussian: Istoriko-khudozhestvennyi muzey Dmitrova or Историко-художественный музей Дмитрова, also known as Dmitrov Kremlin Museum ReserveRussian: Muzey-zapovednik «Dmitrovskiy Kreml» or Музей-заповедник «Дмитровский Кремль» is a major exhibition space situated at 17, ZagorskayaRussian: Загорская Street. This is one of the most exciting museums in the Moscow Oblast, as almost the entire territory comprising the Istoricheskaya Square, the Kremlin and a dozen historical churches and buildings form part of this museum, making it a great place to explore. The buildings featuring in the museum include a prison, public offices, a gymnasium (built in 1876), the Nobility Assembly and a parochial school. The St. Elizabeth prison churchRussian: Turemnaya Elizavetinskaya tserkov' or Тюремная Елизаветинская церковь, located at 17A, Istoricheskaya Square, was built in the pseudo-Russian style reminiscent of 17th-century Russian churches. The house of martyr Serafim Zvezdinsky (17, Zagorskaya Street) is another historical landmark of the old town.

Pyotr Kropotkin, a well-known Russian theorist of the anarchist movement, geographer, scientist and traveler, lived in Dmitrov from 1918 to 1921 and did a lot for the museum. P. A. Kropotkin’s HouseRussian: Dom-muzey P. A. Kropotkina or Дом-музей П. А. Кропоткина (34, Zagorskaya Street), in which he spent his last years, is now a part of the Dmitrov Kremlin Museum Reserve.

The Boris and Gleb Monastery is located at 4, MininaRussian: Минина Street, to the east of the Kremlin. The first mention of this monastery is found in chronicles dating back to the 14th-century. The monastery is dominated by the Saints Boris and Gleb Cathedral, consecrated to two martyr princes killed in the 11th century. Built in 1537, this four-pillar and two-altar cathedral features three apses and one dome (the other one has not survived). Over the centuries, the cathedral has undergone multiple reconstructions and modifications. The side chapels, the porch and the tent-roofed belfry were added to it at different times. The Holy GateRussian: Svyatye vrata or Святые врата were built on the monastery’s premises in 1672, followed by St. Nicholas gate churchRussian: nadvratnaya Nikolskaya tserkov' or надвратная Никольская церковь and hegumen and monk cells. The white-stone enclosure with corner towers was built in 1689, and the Cathedral of the IntercessionRussian: Pokrovskaya tserkov' or Покровская церковь was erected near the hospital in 1702.

The Boris and Gleb Monastery was closed after the Bolsheviksmembers of a wing of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party, which, led by Lenin, seized control of the government in Russia (October 1917) and became the dominant political power came to power. From that point, it housed a local history museum, a DmitLagRussian: ДмитЛаг administration office, and later a military base and various public institutions.

The monastery’s revival began in 1993 when it was handed back to the Russian Orthodox Church. The main cathedral was consecrated in 2004. The sanctuaries of the Boris and Gleb Monastery include a reliquary containing relics of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Matthew and Luke the Apostles, John Chrysostom, Saints Pyotr and Fevroniya of Murom, St. George and others, along with a particle of the Holy Cross. These relics and the reliquary with the relics of Boris and Gleb, the first saints canonized in Kievan Rus’, attract thousands of pilgrims.

The centre of Dmitrov abounds with churches and chapels. Located on an ancient street, the Kazan ChurchRussian: Kazanskiy khram or Казанский храм (8, PodlipichyeRussian: Подлипичье Street) contains Our Lady of KazanRussian: Kazanskaya Bozhiya Mater' or Казанская Божия Матерь, one of the most venerated icons in Russia. This active blue and white church, built in the Baroque style in 1752, is associated with the names of local martyrs Serafim Zvezdinsky, Paraskeva and Vassily Sokolov.

The red-brick Entry ChurchRussian: Vvedenskiy khram or Введенский храм (49, Staro-RogachyovskayaRussian: Старо-Рогачёвская Street) in Konyushennaya SlobodaRussian: Конюшенная слобода was built in 1768, also in the Baroque style. A belfry built in the classical style was added in 1786. The church retains its original interiors and comprises an awe-aspiring six-tiered golden iconostasis and frescoes, along with sculptures and carvings decorating the walls and the ceiling. The main icon is the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the TempleRussian: ikona Vvedeniya v khram Presvyatoy Bogoroditsy or икона Введения в храм Пресвятой Богородицы. This church was not forced to close after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and has always been open to churchgoers.

The Troitse-Tikhvinskaya ChurchRussian: Troitse-Tikhvinskaya tserkov' or Троице-Тихвинская церковь, built in 1801, is still active today. It is located at 17, PushkinskayaRussian: Пушкинская Street. This beautiful one-domed Baroque church is in the shape of a quadrangle, complete with a refectory and a belfry. The lower part houses St. Nicholas’ ChurchRussian: Nikolskiy khram or Никольский храм and the upper part contains a side chapel added to the church in 1818. The structure is rather charmingly painted light green with white borders.

The Church of the Meeting of the LordRussian: Sretenskaya tserkov' or Сретенская церковь, located at 19, ProfessionalnayaRussian: Профессиональная Street, was rebuilt in stone in 1814 in commemoration of the Russian victory over Napoleon. Consecrated once more in 2010, this early classical church boasts old icons of Ferapont of Mozhaysk and Alexander of Svir (with relics), as well as an accurate reproduction of the icon of the Gift of the Magi.

Of equal importance is another collection of architecture that includes the pillarless St. Elijah ChurchRussian: Ilinskaya tserkov' or Ильинская церковь (1, Staro-YakhromskayaRussian: Старо-Яхромская Street), built in 1778, and the St. Alexander Nevsky ChapelRussian: chasovnya Aleksandra Nevskogo or часовня Александра Невского, built in the pseudo-Russian style at 1, Torgovaya SquareRussian: Torgovaya ploschad or Торговая площадь in 1968. There are many other churches and chapels that are well-worth seeing.

The surviving old buildings are also a part of Dmitrov’s architectural legacy. For example, Sukhodayev’s House (4, SovetskayaRussian: Советская Street), built in 1890, was once a hotel, with an inn and a bowling alley; it now houses the Dmitrov Region administration. Tugarinov’s House built in the classical style in 1788 and a hospice (26, Novo-RogachyovskayaRussian: Ново-Рогачёвская Street) is all that has remained of an 18th-century manor.

Old wooden buildings are a huge source of pride for the town. Located at 38, Zagorskaya Street, Countess Milyutina’s wooden mansion is a fine sample of early 20th-century Art Nouveau architecture. Also of great interest are two Empire-style wooden buildings, the mansion of the merchant family of Klytov (1842) at 85, KropotkinskyaRussian: Кропоткинская Street and the Fufayevs’ mansion (1850) at 37, Pushkinskaya Street. Dmitrov’s railway station, built in the Classical style in 1890, is a magnificent example of a pre-revolutionary administrative building.

Dmitrov contains many monuments that were erected to commemorate this or that historical event. ‘To the Heroes of the Battle of MoscowRussian: Geroyam bitvy pod Moskvoy or Героям битвы под Москвой’ on the Premilovskaya high groundRussian: Premilovskaya vysota or Премиловская высота, a T-34 tank by the town’s rampart and the Eternal FlameRussian: Vechnyi ogon' or Вечный огонь on the central square are dedicated to World War II. A large cross installed on the bank of the Moscow Canal is a monument to thousands of innocent victims of DmitLag who died during the construction of the channel. Other monuments include those to historical personalities whose names are associated with the town of Dmitrov, such as Yury Dolgorukiy (near the entrance to the Kremlin), Cyril and Methodius (next to the Assumption Cathedral), Saints Boris and Gleb (near the Boris and Gleb Monastery) and Pyotr Kropotkin (close to the museum dedicated to him). Group sculptures, including ‘A Merchant and his Wife’, ‘A Teacher’, ‘Nobles’, ‘A Pilgrim’ and others give a special charm to Kropotkinskaya Street, which is solely for the use of pedestrians.

© 2016-2023
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Outside Moscow


All Saints' Church
Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery
Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery
Alexander Nevsky Chapel
Church of the Meeting of the Lord in Dmitrov
Church of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple
Church of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple in Dmitrov
(Tikhvin) Trinity Church
Church of the Meeting of the Lord
Sculptures on Kropotkinskaya Street
A Square in Dmitrov
The Tugarinovs' Headstone
Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb
Ivan the Terrible
Ivan III the Great
Tugarinov Almshouse
The Fufayevs' House
Sukhodayev House
Merchant Klyatovs' House
Dmitrov Church in Honour of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple in Zarechye
Dmitrov Fountain
Dmitrov Forced Labour Camp
Dmitrov Drama Theater
Dmitrov Railway Station today
Old Dmitrov
Old Dmitrov Railway Station
Dmitrov, Coats of Arms

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