Kursk is the capital city, economic and cultural centre of the Kursk oblast (region). Kursk is one of the oldest cities in Russia, stretches along the upper Seym River, about 280 miles (450 km) south of Moscow. It covers an area of 18,600 hectares and has a population of 435,200 people.
The climate in Kursk is temperate continental. The average temperature in January is -9 °C, and the average temperature in July reaches +19 °C. The region lies within the forest steppe zone.
Kursk is the oldest Russian city in the central black earth region. The first mention of Kursk (in "Patrick Pechersky" manuscript) dates back to 1032, but the first inhabitants lived at the region much earlier, thousands years before.
In the X century, Kursk fortress became an important location. Trade developed very quickly, as the town was located at the crossroad of the very important river routes. It was the capital of a small principality in the XII century until destroyed by the Tatars in 1238.
Then, it was Lithuanian territory for some 200 years before being annexed by Moscow in 1508. In 1508, under the Moscow Prince Vasily III, Kursk region entered the Russian state, became a border region and later fortified as part of its southern defence against the Crimean Tatars in the late XVI century. It became the provincial capital in 1797.
In August 1781, there was heavy fire in Kursk, which almost destroyed the town. In February 1782, the Empress Ekaterina II approved a new plan of the town that divided town into 4 parts, and Kursk began to grow again. On September 7, 1868 railway between Kursk and Moscow was opened. In 1873 the first public library was founded and in 1891 the local government opened the first telephone station.
Kursk was an important commercial centre until the 1940s. From November 1, 1940 to November 2, 1941 the town was besieged by the German troops. There was strong partisan movement at Kursk. The city and the surrounding region were the site of a decisive tank battle in July - August 1943 which signaled the ultimate defeat of German forces on the Eastern Front.
Places To See
Kursk is one of the oldest Russian towns, and has many places of interest. It has rich history, and thousand years of its existence are reflected in a large number of historical and architectural monuments. Most of them were built between the XVII and XIX centuries. There are several beautiful temples that represent ancient Russian architecture. They are Nikolaevsky (founded in 1505), Korennaya Rogdestva Bogoroditsi Pustyn (1597), Znamensky (finished in 1615), Sviato-Troitsky (the first half of the XVII century) temples. The most famous temples are Znamensky in Kursk and Korennaya Pustyn in the region. Architectural monuments such as Sergievo-Kazansky and Znamensky cathedrals, the Romodanov and Baryatinsky palaces, the historical buildings of the Korennaya Hermitage, the former building of the Assembly of the Nobility (now the Officers' House), and many more, also attract tourists to the city.
Numerous museums operate in Kursk today. The Regional Museum of Archeology and the Museum of Local History have many unique exhibits of everyday life items. The Museum of Local History has the sections of "Pre-Soviet", "Soviet", and "The Modern Period". Zoological Museum, the Motor Transport Museum and the Museum of the History of Electric Transport are also of interest.
Kursk is famous for its theaters. The Pushkin Drama Theater, with its classical and contemporary repertoire, is known far beyond the region's borders. The Kursk Regional Philharmonic Hall, which has won numerous prizes at Russian and international competitions, brings both classical and contemporary music to Kursk audiences.