Pskov and the sights of the city

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.

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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 Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior at Mirozh 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. A walking tour costs 1,500 P for a group of 1-5 people or 2,200 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.

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One of the cathedrals from the UNESCO list is the Church of St. Basil the Great on the Gorka. Source: Sergey Korchanov / Pixabay

Gremyachaya Tower

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 benches overlooking the river. At the lower level men go fishing.

In the summer from here go motor boats and aqua cab 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.

What to see in Pskov? 15 sights of Pskov and the region. Guide

Pskov is a major medieval Russian city, third in Russia after Moscow and Veliky Novgorod. It is not surprising that it attracts tourists with its unique monuments. There is much to see here – UNESCO monuments, the Kremlin, the Velikaya River, museums, embankments and, of course, churches. In Pskov there are 46 churches and most of them are very old – XII, XIV – XVII centuries. Pskov – a city for hiking trails, the attractions are located here densely. There are many of them. You can’t see everything during one trip. When planning a trip to Pskov, it is necessary to set aside time for trips to the region. Pushkinohorye, Izborsk and Pechory are must-see places. How to organize a trip by days? One day on Pushkinogorje, one more day on Izborsk and Pechory. And at least two days for Pskov. That’s minimum program . For one day you will see in Pskov Kremlin, Mirozhsky monastery and Pogankina Chambers at most. And it’s very little. In this guide, I made a list of 15 attractions of Pskov and the Pskov region – sites, places, cities. Only the main things in brief. The list is enough for more than one trip to Pskov. At the end of the guide – recommendations where to stay, the best hotels in Pskov in different price categories.

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Top 15 attractions of Pskov and the region

  1. Mirozhsky Monastery
  2. John the Baptist Cathedral
  3. The Pskov Kremlin and Dovmontov City
  4. Churches of different eras in Pskov
  5. Gremyachaya Tower and other towers
  6. Chambers on Romanova Gorka (Pogankina Chambers and others)
  7. Embankments of Velikaya and Pskova
  8. Snetogorsk Monastery
  9. Sokolnitsa mountain and “Ice Battle” monument
  10. Pushkin Mountains
  11. Izborsk
  12. Pskov-Pechersk monastery
  13. Porkhov
  14. Gdov
  15. Talab islands

1. Mirozhsky Monastery

  • The oldest monastery in Pskov. Founded in the XII century.
  • Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral – XII century, a UNESCO monument, unique frescoes of XII century in excellent preservation.
  • Entrance to the monastery is free, entrance to the cathedral is paid: adults – 200 rubles, schoolchildren, students, pensioners – 100 rubles, family ticket – 400 rubles. Working schedule: Tuesday – Sunday from 11.00 till 17.00.
  • Address: Pskov, Mirozhskaya nab. 2.

Transfiguration Cathedral, XII century.

2. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

  • This is the cathedral of St. John the Baptist monastery, the second oldest monastery in Pskov. XII century. Tomb of Pskov princesses. UNESCO monument.
  • Ivanovsky Cathedral has features of Novgorod temples of XI – XII centuries. It is the only one in Pskov.
  • The temple is functioning. The entrance is free.
  • Address: Pskov, Maksim Gorky street, 1.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, XII c.

3. The Pskov Kremlin (Krom) and Dovmontov City

  • The Pskov Kremlin is not a big one. Together with Dovmont city it occupies an area of 4 hectares. To learn its history better, it is better to come here for a tour. Entrance to the territory of the Kremlin is free.
  • To imagine the Pskov Kremlin in all its grandeur, it should be walked around the outside. Walking route around the Pskov Kremlin.
  • Dovmontov Gorod – a part of the Pskov Kremlin where in the XIV-XVI cc. 28 churches were erected on a small territory. The temples have not survived. But some foundations were brought to the surface by archeologists. This is how one can imagine 10 churches – their layout and location.
  • The Trinity cathedral in the Kremlin (1699) – the highest building in Pskov (78 m). Entrance is free from 08.00 to 20.00. It is allowed to take photos inside the cathedral (without flash).
  • The Prikaznaya Palata – museum. Entrance tickets: adults – 150 rubles/person; schoolchildren, students, pensioners – 100 rubles, family ticket – 450 rubles.
  • In the Prikaznaya Chamber operates the Museum Information Center. Here you can order a city tour, find out information about Pskov and museums of the city.
  • The Pskov Kremlin – a symbol of the fortress of the Russian spirit
  • Address of the Pskov Kremlin: street Kremlin, 4.

The Pskov Kremlin, the Trinity Cathedral

4. Churches of Pskov

There are 46 churches in Pskov, 10 of which are UNESCO monuments. Your aim is to see churches of different epochs – XII century (1,2), XIV, XV, XVI centuries. Here are some of them.

  • Church of the Archangel Michael (XIV century) – Sovetskaya street, 18,
  • Pokrov and Nativity of the Prolom (XV-XVI cc) – Sverdlova str,
  • Church of Kozma and Damian from Primorye (XV-XVI cc) – L. Pozemskogo St., b. 7,
  • Church of the Epiphany with belfry (XV century) – Gerzen St., 7.

See a full list of World Heritage Sites in Pskov here.

Church of St. Basil on the Gorka, 1413-1415.

5. Gremyachaya tower and other towers

  • Until now, 16 towers survived in Pskov. The oldest is Mstislavskaya (10, Velikaya Naberezhnaya St.), the largest is Pokrovskaya (3, Sverdlov St.), the most beautiful and legendary is Gremyachaya (8, Gremyachaya St.). However, all of these towers are covered with legends and must be seen! And if you have a chance, look at the others – Petrovskaya (Sverdlova St.), Mikhailovskaya (Sverdlova St., 72), Volkovskaya (Zapskovie District, Zastennaya St.) and others.

Gremyachaya Tower, 1525.

6. Chambers on Romanov Hill

  • Many civil buildings of the XVIIth century have survived in Pskov – the Menshikov Chambers, Pogankin Chambers, Court of Podznoyev, Solodezhnya, the Pechchenko House, and others.
  • On Romanova Hill (Pokhval Hill) there are several chambers and other places of interest. Romanova Gorka is the most rich in sights quarter of Pskov! It is located in the area of Nekrasova Street and Sovetskaya Street. Some attractions are marked on the map.
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The sights of the city.

Pogankin Chambers, XVII c.

7. Embankments of the Velikaya river and the Pskova river

  • Quays in Pskov are both great places for walking and the most spectacular viewing platforms of the city.
  • There are four embankments in total – two each on both banks of the Pskova and Velikaya. But there are more walking areas for them. The embankments of the river. The Velikaya – Olginskaya, the embankment along the Kremlin, the section of the embankment from the Olginsky bridge to the Pokrovskaya tower. Embankments of the Pskov River – along the Kremlin. The Pskova – along the Kremlin, the Soviet embankment, and the shore of the Pskova in the Finnish park in Kuopio. All embankments are marked on the map.
  • The best views are from several points on the Olginsky embankment, the Golden embankment (Sovetskaya nab.).
  • From the Olginsky bridge you can see 10 churches of Pskov. This is the only such point in the city. If in St. Petersburg there are seven bridges, Pskov has, if I may say so, ten churches.

View on Velikaya river embankment from Olginsky bridge

8. Snetogorsky monastery

  • It was founded in the XIII century. It is 3.5 km from the center of Pskov on the high bank of the Velikaya River.
  • Christmas Cathedral is famous for its frescoes of 1313. Although, they do not come down to us in such an excellent condition as the frescoes of “Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral” (see Section 1). The cathedral is very unusual. It is a UNESCO monument.
  • Monastery on a rocky hill looks very beautiful from the opposite bank. It is worth to photograph it, reflecting in the waters of the Velikaya River.
  • Address: Pskov, Snyatnaya Gora street, 1.

9. Sokolnitsa Mountain (Sokolikha)

  • Sokolnitsa Mountain is both a natural and cultural monument of Pskov. It is located 1 km north-west of the city.
  • Why go? To see the beautiful views of the Pskov land. To see the monument “The Battle of the Ice”.
  • There is a parking lot. From parking to the monument you have to walk 200-300 m.
  • To get to the monument you can take a road in the direction of Gdov (see item 14).
  • You can combine your visit to Sokolikha with the visit to Snetogorsky monastery (see item 8). Between them there is 2 km.
  • It is better to come in good weather.

10. Pushkin mountains

  • Pushkin Mountains – Pushkin Reserve. It includes Mikhailovskoe, Trigorskoe and Petrovskoe estates, Voskresenskoe, Golubovo, Deriglazovo, Lysaya Gora estates, the museum in Bugrovo village, the ancient settlements of Savkina Gorka, Voronich, Vrev, Velie, the merchant village Velie and numerous lakes. As you can see, the volume is decent. Ideally, you should visit Pushkinogorje not less than 3-4 days, better – a week. At least 2 days.
  • Website of Pushkin Reserve: http://pushkinland.ru

The main manor house in Mikhailovskoye Manor

Articles about the Reserve on the site:

  • First acquaintance with Pushkinogory. Part 1. Mikhailovskoe
  • First acquaintance with Pushkinogory. Part 2. Petrovskoe
  • Pushkin’s mountains to Pskov. Report. Part 1. Road to Pushkin’s mountains.
  • Pushkinskie gorye – Pskov. Report. Part 2. Pushkinohorye. Trigorskoye. Svyatogorsky monastery.
  • Pushkin’s mountains – Pskov. Report. Part 3. Pushkin’s mountains. Mikhailovskoe

Izborsk

  • Izborsk is one of the most ancient settlements of the northwest Russia. Now located here is a historical-architectural and natural landscape museum-reserve. It includes Izborsk fortress (first mentioned in 862), as well as natural landmarks – Slovenskiye Kluchi and Truvorov’s hill fort. In Izborsk there are 10 churches and chapels as well as museums – the estate of the merchant Anisimov, the outbuilding of the estate of the merchant Shvedov.
  • From the walls of the fortress you can enjoy the spectacular views. It is worth to go up by all means!
  • You must pay the entrance ticket to the museum-reserve: 100 rubles for adults, 50 rubles for adults, 30 rubles for children. Full price.
  • I recommend to visit Izborsk with overnight stay. The place is very cozy and atmospheric. You’d like to stay here, to wander around and have a rest.
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Izborsk fortress, the beginning of XIV century.

12. The Pskov-Pecherskiy Monastery

  • The largest and most beautiful monastery in Russia. Founded in 1473.
  • On the territory of the monastery there are caves, 10 churches, springs, walls and towers. The picturesque landscape of the area where the monastery is situated, the hills, the architecture – everything makes a lasting impression.
Excursions
  • Held from 9 to 19 hours by appointment: +7 (911) 360-11-77.
  • With a tour you can visit the Riznitsa and the Museum of Starets – cave cells. These are nearby caves, but there are more distant ones.
  • God-called (distant) caves can be visited from 9 to 16 hours (except Monday and Friday) by appointment.
  • More information on tours here.

13. Porchov

  • The most ancient city of the Pskov region is located 70 km east of Pskov.
  • The main attraction of the city is a fortress. Here is a museum.
  • Other places of interest – St. Nicholas Church (1412), the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (1305), Savior Transfiguration Church (1670), the Old Fortress, abandoned Porkhov Power Plant, the Local History Museum, the Postal Museum, etc.

14. Gdov

  • Gdov is an old Russian town. In 2 km from it there is the Chudskoe Lake where the Ice Battle took place. In Gdov, touch the history and admire the beauty of nature.
  • The sights of Gdov are the fortress (ruins), the cathedral of the Sovereign Mother of God (built 1540, destroyed in 1944, restored in 1990th of the XXth century), the Museum of the History of the Region.

15. Talab Islands

  • This is a group of three islands in Lake Pskov. Picturesque and very revered places. Places of power, as they say. On the island of Zalita is the church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (1792) with paintings. On the island of Belov is the church of Peter and Paul.
  • On the island of Zalita there is a restaurant “Ersh” and hotel “Quiet Harbor”.
  • How to get to the Talabskie Islands? Go from Pskov to the village Bolshaya Tolba (20 km), then take a 24-seater boat “Talabsk” (timetable) to the Talabskie islands. The navigation usually starts at the end of April.
  • From Pskov to the Talabskie islands goes “Aquataxi” (from Vlasyevskaya tower). It takes 1,5 hours each to get to two islands: Belov and Zalit. You have to book the places beforehand. Website: https://www.pskovaquataxi.ru

Where to stay? The best hotels in Pskov

“903” hotel – the best value for money, excellent location, buffet breakfast included in the price, its own free parking. Rating 9,1. My review.

“On the Upper Coast” guest house – excellent value for money, excellent location, view from the window, kitchen in the room, family rooms, its own free parking, no breakfast. Rating 9.9.

“Arles” hotel – great budget option, very good location, continental breakfast included, free parking. Rating 8.9.

“Zolotaya Naberezhnaya” hotel – best location on the bank of the Pskova river, view of the Pskov Kremlin, continental breakfast included, free parking. Rating 9,2.

“Dvor Podznoyeva” hotel – the best hotel in Pskov, location in the historical center, buffet breakfasts, free parking. Rating 9,4

“Pokrovsky” hotel is the best 4-star hotel in Pskov, located near Pokrovskaya tower, beautiful view, availability of air conditioning in the rooms, excellent buffet breakfast, very tasty cuisine in the a la carte restaurant, free parking. Rating 9.5.

Breakfast at the Pokrovsky hotel restaurant. Photo by Elena Uslanova

A view on Pokrovsky Tower from the restaurant of the Pokrovsky hotel. Photo by Elena Uslanova

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