Travels Across Russia: Torzhok

Torzhok, Tver, Russia

Torzhok is among the oldest settlements in central Russia. The town is first mentioned in ancient chronicles, under the year 1139. Its favorable location on the Tvertsa River made it a place of active commerce (the name “Torzhok” comes from the word for trading site), and the town was closely connected to the city-state of Novgorod, a leading center of medieval Russian trade.

The rise of Muscovite power in the 15th century brought an end to Novgorod's independence, and in 1478 Torzhok became part of the domain of Moscow's ruler Ivan III (the Great). After the founding of St. Petersburg in 1703, Torzhok experienced a revival of its fortunes as the town became a major transfer point for people and supplies heading to the new imperial capital. In the early 19th century, Russia’s greatest poet, Alexander Pushkin, visited Torzhok on a number of occasions, as did Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, and Leo Tolstoy.

The following views are from a collection of nearly 55,000 photographs and digital images of Russia donated by the scholar and photographer William Craft Brumfield.

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