Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture
The Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture reflect the city’s Golden Age and are the best examples of this style.
The buildings date mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries, when Pskov was an important trade partner of the Hanseatic League. They comprise religious, defensive and civic architecture.
Map of Churches of the Pskov School of ArchitectureLoad map
I visited Pskov at the end of my trip to Russia in 2016. I did not expect anything special in Pskov, although wanted to visit this city, with links to the history of Poland and famous city walls. And indeed, massive city walls were the first thing that was outstanding in Pskov. The second one was its kremlin (here called Krom) which was very small comparing to Russian standards (where usually kremlins are quite broad) but one of the niciest. But honestly I had mixed feelings with the historical center – although overall it was fine, it lacked integrity and historical buildings were mixed with much newer ones. It did not help that the weather was rainy that day and at the end I got all wet.
The third outstanding thing about Pskov was the abundance of churches. During my 18-day trip I had visited hundreds of tserkvas, including iconic ones in Vladimir, Suzdal, Yaroslavl and other cities of Golden Ring, but I remember the ones in Pskov were special. They were all white with really thick walls – I bet they can survive a nuclear attack. Contrary to most of Golden Ring tserkvas, covered in frescoes, the ones in Pskov had plain white walls and roofs. They reminded me the architecture of Russian Far North, e.g. Solovetsky Islands.
I am not sure how many of now inscribed churches I visited – not so many due to bad weather. I certainly visited Church Vasiliya na gorkie (completely renovated in 2016), neighboring church Nikoly so Usokhi (see photo) and Church of Saints Kosma and Damian. I have evidence of my visit to Church of St. Anastasia – also very old (XVth century) and similar in style to the inscribed churches but not proposed for inscription.
Part of my Russian experience was to ride a night train once. I did some digging and found that Pskov was a good destination on my way from Moscow to St. Petersburg as it also allowed me to visit Novgorod along the way. Admittedly, the experience was rather boring: All the Russians on board of the train wanted to sleep and I ended up drinking the beers I brought on my own.
In any case, I made it to Pskov and found a pretty Kreml (or Krom as they call it in Pskov). The weather was gorgeous and I had a nice time visiting and wandering around the city.
Not to be missed is the Mirozhsky Monastery on the other side of the river. The 12th-century artwork by a Greek/Byzantine artist in the chapel is astonishing and survived the Mongols. To me, these together with those in Suzdal were the best wall paintings I have seen in Russia.
[Updated July 2019] I had to update this yet again. The Unesco site today (08 July) shows all locations including Krom / Kreml. Apparently, Icomos recommended to exclude the Krom and focus on the surrounding churches and monasteries. This was approved by the committee. Let's see what happens.
The Mirozhsky Monastery is included. And I think I stumbled into plenty of the other locations spread across the city. So tick done. Still, I don't understand Icomos here at all. Why not simply inscribe a core zone than 10 locations? And why exclude the central, most prominent building in Pskov, the Krom?
I took a night train from Moscow (I think Kalanchovskaya). We arrived in the morning at the train station on the outskirts of town and I walked into town. From Pskov, I continued on by bus to Novgorod in the afternoon. There are also direct buses to St. Petersburg.
While You Are There
Around Pskov on the border with Estonia, you find Lake Peipus and the Pechory Monastery. The Pechory Monastery is known for its "eerie burial chambers". I did not make the trip.
2019 Name change
Upon inscription: from Monuments of Ancient Pskov to Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture
Only 10 out of the 18 nominated locations were inscribed, leaving out the Kremlin and administrative buildings which ICOMOS found had no OUV.
2018 Incomplete - not examined
As Monuments of Ancient Pskov
2017 Incomplete - not examined
As 'Monuments of Ancient Pskov'
The site has 10 locations
The site has 3 connections