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Tver ( ) is a city in Russiamarker, the administrative center of Tver Oblast. Population: 405,500 (2007 est.); 408,903 (2002 Census). Tver, which is located north of Moscowmarker, was formerly the capital of a powerful medieval state and a model provincial town in Imperial Russiamarker with population of 60,000 onJanuary 14, 1913 (January 1, 1913 O.S.). It is located at the confluence of the Volga and Tvertsa Rivers. The city was known as Kalinin ( ) from 1931 to 1990.

Medieval origins

The first written record of Tver is dated 1135. Originally a minor settlement of Novgorod traders, it passed to the Grand Prince of Vladimirmarker in 1209. In 1246, Alexander Nevsky granted it to his younger brother Yaroslav Yaroslavich (d. 1271), from whom a dynasty of local princes descended. Four of them were killed by the Golden Horde and were proclaimed saints by the Russian Orthodox church.

Formerly a land of woods and bogs, the Tver principality was quickly transformed into one of the richest and most populous Russian states. As the area was hardly accessible for Tatar raids, there was a great influx of population from the recently devastated South. By the end of the century, it was ready to vie with Moscowmarker for supremacy in Russia. Both Tver and Moscow were young cities, so the outcome of their rivalry was far from being certain.Image:Tver winter.jpg||View of Tver in the winterImage:Kushalino2.jpg|This tent-like church was commissioned by Simeon Bekbulatovich in his manor near Tver in 1584.Image:mikhailoftver.jpg|17th century icon of St. Michael of Tver, slain by the Mongols, holding the town of Tver in his hands.

Grand princedom

Mikhail of Tver, who ascended the throne of Vladimirmarker in 1305, was one of the most beloved of medieval Russian rulers. His policy of open conflict with the Golden Horde led to his assassination there in 1318. His son Dmitry "the Terrible Eyes" succeeded him, and, concluding an alliance with the mighty Grand Duchy of Lithuania, managed to raise Tver's prestige even higher.

Exasperated by Dmitry's influence, Prince Ivan Kalita of Moscow engineered his murder by the Mongols in 1326. On hearing the news of this crime, the city revolted against the Horde. The latter joined its forces with Muscovites and brutally repressed the rebellion. Many citizens were killed, enslaved, or deported. This was the fatal blow to Tver's pretensions for supremacy in Russia.

In the second half of the 14th century, Tver was further weakened by dynastic struggles between its princes. Two senior branches of the ruling house, those of Kashin and Kholmskymarker, asserted their claims to the grand ducal throne. The claimants were backed up by Moscow and eventually settled at the Kremlinmarker court.

During the Great Feudal War in Muscovy, Tver once again rose to prominence and concluded defensive alliances with Lithuania, Novgorod, Byzantium, and the Golden Horde. Grand Prince Boris of Tver sent one of his men, Afanasiy Nikitin, to search for gold and diamonds as far as Indiamarker. Nikitin's travelogue, describing his journey from 1466 to 1472, is probably the first ever firsthand account of India by a European. A monument to Nikitin was opened on the Volga embankment in 1955.

Later history

At last, on September 12, 1485, the forces of Ivan the Great seized the city. The principality was given as an appanage to Ivan's grandson, only to be abolished several decades later. Last scions of the ruling dynasty were executed by Ivan the Terrible during the Oprichnina. At that turbulent time, Tver was ruled by Simeon Bekbulatovich, a former khan of Kasimovmarker. The only remnant of his ephemeral reign is a graceful tent-like church in the village of Kushalino, 28 km north-east of Tver.

Statue of Lenin on the Central square in Tver

The city's decline was not irrevocable, however. With the foundation of St. Petersburgmarker, Tver gained importance as a principal station on the highway (and later railway) from Moscow to St. Petersburg. It was much visited by Russian royalty and nobility travelling from the old capital to the new one and back.

Following a great fire of 1763, the city was rebuilt in Neoclassical style. Under Catherine the Great, the downtown was thoroughly reconstructed. Crumbling medieval edifices were razed and replaced with imposing Neoclassical structures. The most important of these are the Travel Palace of the Empress (designed by the celebrated Matvei Kazakov), and the Ascension church (designed by Prince Lvov and consecrated in 1813).

In 1931, the city was renamed Kalinin, after a notable Soviet leader Mikhail Kalinin who had been born nearby. A last vestige of the pre-Petrine epoch, the Saviour Cathedral, was blown up in 1936. In 1940 the NKVD executed more than 6,200 Polish policemen and prisoners of war from Ostashkovmarker camp. During the Cold War it was home to the air base Kryuchkovomarker, which is no longer in service. The historic name of Tver was restored in 1990.

The Wehrmacht occupied Kalinin for two months in 1941, leaving the city in ashes. A large-scale resistance movement in the city and the region resulted in over 30,000 German soldiers and officers killed during the occupation of the city. Kalinin was the first major city in Europe to be liberated from the Wehrmacht.

Apart from the suburban White Trinity Church (1564), there are no ancient monuments left in Tver. The downtown is graced with Catharinian and Soviet edifices, bridges and embankments. Tver's most notable industries are a railroad car plant, opened in 1898, an excavation-machine factory, and a glass making factory. Tver is home to Migalovomarker, which is one of Russia's biggest military airlift facilities.


Tver is home to Tver State University, the most highly rated university of the region. It is also home to the Tver State technical university, medical, and agricultural academies and more than 20 colleges and lyceums, branch campuses of some Moscow higher educational institutions and more than 50 high schools.

The Tver State Medical Academy is a medical school located in Tver, one of the largest and most reputable in Russia.

Tver also houses the Zhukov Air and Space Defence Academy the main college of the Voiska PVO

Tver also has around 50 secondary schools, a private school (lycee) and a Suvorov military school


Tver has 4 functioning Russian orthodox cathedrals, 15 orthodox churches, a catholic church, the Tver central mosque and a synagogue

Image:Catholic Church Tver.JPG|Tver Catholic ChurchImage:Mosque Tver.JPG|Tver Central MosqueImage:Voskresensky sobor tver.jpg|Voskresensky CathedralImage:White trinity church.jpg|White Trinity Church


Tver is located on the main railway line and the main motorway linking Moscow and St Petersburg. There is also a river boat terminal on the River Volga. local public transport consists of buses, trolleybuses, trams and suburban trains.



Tver is home to:

  • Tver Oblast Academic Drama Theatre
  • Tver State Youth Theatre
  • Tver State Puppet Theatre
  • Tver State philharmonic orchestra
  • Tver State Circus
  • The Tver Oblast Art Gallery
  • The Tver state Art architecture and Literature Museum


The city football team, FC Volga Tver, plays in the Russian Second Division.

Notable natives

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Tver is twinned with:


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