14 Jul Smolensk in one day
Have you already visited Red Square and Peterhof, and you think that there is nothing else to see? Well, today we will tell you about another jewel in Russian treasure chest.
Walking along Bolshaya Sovetskaya street you will get to the Uspensky Cathedral. Built in XII century the original construction didn’t live to see nowadays. What is now the true pearl of Smolensk was built in memory of heroic defense of 1609-1611 but has a resemblance with previous grand cathedral. Not only the external decorum is splendid, but the interior is overwhelmingly stunning. First thing you will encounter are massive metal gates that used to secure exit and make the Cathedral great shelter for people. Currently it secures the ancient icons that were saved by soldiers and locals from foreign intruders. They are framed with gold and silver, and in general everything that is inside makes a grand ensemble. If you look to the ceiling you will be amazed by the marvelous frescos. No weather can spoil the view from the hill Uspensky Cathedral stands on. Smolensk is surprisingly green so you will see roofs of the buildings here and there stick out of the rich bushes.
Smolensk always was a shield taking the first blow from the invaders. Taking into account its severe and cruel past it is not too surprising that downtown features numerous memorials and monuments honoring the bravery and strengths of those who protected their land. People in Smolensk are proud of their past and cherish their heritage. Smolensk is more than 1000 years and you can easily see that. Some memorial plaque and signboards are written in old Russian language (if you spot letter “ъ” at the end of the word most likely this word is written in old Rus).
One of the most famous sights of Smolensk is Kremlin wall. Still in good condition though not securely round anymore. Many years ago it served as protection to the city. Nowadays you can climb up the tower, feel history under your feet and imagine the view guardians of Smolensk used to see every day.
You can move from one park to another in city center. One of the oldest ones is Lopatiskyi Sad. Recently it celebrated 140 years. Beautiful bridges, swans, “love bench” or “reconciliation bench”, numerous street lights made in a form of sculptors, pirates, waiters, and other professionals. A lot of events are held here but even on the calm day it is nice to have a promenade there. Be sure to see the Tree of Happiness not long ago planted near the pond.
And this is far from being the full list of fascinating landmarks of Smolensk. We’ve already seen it and now invite you to get acquainted with it! Leave a request now and we will make a tour for you today!
Where to eat?
Smolensk has its own chain of restaurants and cafes. There are Domino (with pizza and quite original beef Caesar roll), tavern Tangerin goose (Chinese cuisine), Donna Clara café (with delicious dessert, unusual beverages and affordable prices), pie shop Samovar (our personal favorite! Be sure to try mushroom soup there!), retro-bar Kilka and Domino Burger Diner. The chain covers whole city so you will always be able to grab a bite. Moreover, each of the places mentioned above gives out the tourist maps of Smolensk for free.
Where to stay?
Smolensk has numerous guest houses where you can stay with all the comfort. Some of them are located in suburbs, but you can reach city centre on the bus in 15 minutes. For example, guest house Valentina on Gagarina street 41a. Actually it is a complex of cottages , each of which has a barbeque place and inventory. Russian banya and swimming pool are at your service. The territory is beautifully done by landscape designers, and features various berries’ bushes, flowers, green arch, stone gardens. There is even a squirrel, who gets significant nuts’ ratio every day. The great advantage of such guest houses would be an affordable price.
For those who love to stay in the heart of the city we can recommend any hotel situated on Bolshaya Sovetskaya street. For example, Pilgrimage House Cathedral Yard which is two minutes away from Uspensky Cathedral. We also heard great reviews about hotel Medved (hotel Bear) and Apartments in Centre.
How to get there?
To get to Smolensk from Moscow you can take a train or become fellow traveler to some Smolensk native citizen coming to visit their parents or returning from a business trip in Moscow. It is not only fun but also money-saving mean of transportation. You can easily do this by registering in blablacar platform. And make sure to read reviews from previous companions. The trip will take around 5-7 hours in dependence of the traffic.
It is more convenient to go at night or leave Moscow early morning. The trip doesn’t have to be long. Smolensk is a very compact city suitable for walking. Even if you will make solid stops at parks for ice-cream or ride around the pond in catamaran, you still will be able visit all must-see sights in one day.