17th August – Pskov

17 Aug

Had a lovely day of sightseeing with Olga. Firstly we went to visit Izborsk which is one of the most ancient Russian towns, founded by one of three viking brothers who came into Russia in 862! In 2012 Izborsk celebrates its 1150th anniversary and so there is a lot of work going on to prepare for the influx of visitors.

Izborsk is also famouse for its 12 springs. The legend has it that each spring has powers to, cure disease, give happiness, good luck and love and various other desirable things. You are supposed to drink from each one ….. we cheated slightly and went to a point where the waters from the various springs meet ….. a sort of ‘lucky cocktail’!

 

 

 

We then went back up the hill to the fort and had tea in a little tea shop that was in an old traditional wooden house with a great fireplace/oven. The design was such that the smoke travels around a series of horizontal and vertical passages, each with air dampers to take out as much heat as possible before the smoke leaves the chimney. This leaves shelves that the very young and old could sleep on to keep out the chills in the -30 degree C winter nights. This one is still used to heat the tea house in winter.

 

We carried on to the Pechory Holy Dormition Monastery that has been in constant use for over 500 years. It is also famous for the sand caves that run under the monestery, which are used to bury the monks and other key religious figures. Olga was a little cheeky and attached us to the back of another group and so were given a candle and toured the caves with one of the monks. It was an amazing experience and quite creepy. We could not take pictures inside. Maybe there are some if you Google it?

 

 

The area inside the monastery walls are very well looked after. It is a tranquil place to live and walk and entry is free.

 

 

Tomorrow we have to leave Olga and her family. Thank you for looking after us, it has been a lot of fun and a great introduction to Russia. We will miss you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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