Dorogobuzh (Russian: Дорогобуж; Polish: Dorohobuż) is a historic town and the administrative center of Dorogobuzhsky District of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, straddling the Dnieper River and located 125 kilometers (78 mi) east of Smolensk and 71 kilometers (44 mi) west of Vyazma. Population: 10,720 (2010 Census); 12,250 (2002 Census); 12,254 (1989 Census).
It originated before the Mongol invasion of Rus' as a fortress defending eastern approaches to Smolensk. In 1508, Vasily III sent Italian masters to build a wooden fort there. The town was ravaged during the Time of Troubles, and its population was reduced to ten men in 1614. Between 1611 and 1668, the town belonged to Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as a part of Smolensk Voivodeship. Subsequently, the town survived other foreign invasions and numerous fires.
The principal points of historic interest lie outside the city proper. The 18th-century estate of Aleksino, for instance, used to be reputed for its stud-farm of Orlov stallions. The Boldin Monastery, dating from the 15th century, was renovated by the Godunov family in the late 16th century. The Godunovs commissioned a five-domed cathedral, a tented refectory, and a pillar-like bell-tower to be built there. According to Peter Baranovsky, the abbey represented the best-preserved 16th-century monastery complex in Eastern Europe. It was blown up by the retreating Germans in 1943 but was partly rebuilt in the 1990s.
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