Tourist Information Center Partnership Project

State Museum-Reserve “Izborsk”


Pskov Oblast
Pskov region, Izborsk village, 39, ul. Pechorskaya
Phones: +7 (81148)96-696
Web site:
One of the oldest Russian cities, which is definitely worth a visitIzborsk is one of the oldest Russian cities. The city was first mentioned in the Chronicles of 862. In ancient times, the city defended the north-western borders and played an important role in preserving Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The stone fortress, erected on Mount Zheravya, withstood eight major sieges and never surrendered to enemies in open battle. Nowadays, all these ancient places can be visited on your trip.


The Nikolsky Cathedral is the main shrine of the museum-preserve. It was built in the 14th century. Religious services in the Cathedral are still held today. Izborsk is well-known for its underground springs, the most famous of them are the Slovenian Springs, named after the founder of Izborsk, Prince Sloven. They are at least a thousand years old. They are also known as the Springs of the 12 Apostles, and there is a beautiful legend associated with this name. As the legend goes, a fierce battle once took place in these parts. The earth became saturated with blood and the water in the springs ran dry. Then, one local boy who had lost his mother started praying, begging the Lord to return water to the people of Izborsk. And he had a vision: if the people of the city named the springs in honor of the 12 Apostles and conducted a prayer service, the water would reappear. And so it happened. Many tourists favor the restored merchant estates that house museum exhibits. They are all different. Some tell us of military affairs, culture and crafts, whereas others recreate the everyday life of peasants. The ethnographic collection is of particular interest: you can see old spinning wheels, pieces of furniture, costumes and photographs there. One of the expositions is called the Izborskaya Chamber of Russian Literature and the Orthodox Faith, and it contains paintings by Pyotr Ossovsky, People’s Artist of the USSR. Another unusual attraction of the museum-preserve is the only state museum of the small Finno-Ugric Seto people in Russia. It is located13 kilometers from Izborsk, on the border of Russia and Estonia. This museum exhibits unique national costumes, decorated with colorful embroidery on bright aprons, as well as household items and tools. This museum regularly hosts master classes, both in creative arts and cookery. The silver jewelry of the Seto people is also displayed in the Pechora City History Museum, which is but a short walk from the Holy Gates of the Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery of the Holy Dormition. This jewelry has always had a special meaning. It was passed down from generation to generation and accompanied every woman from her birth to her death.


The museum in Izborsk was created on the initiative of local residents and local history experts in 1964. At first, it was situated at the local library. Gradually, the small museum started receiving archaeological artifacts that were the finds of local residents. These included everyday objects as well as documented materials. The collection of archaeological finds, discovered during the exploration of an ancient Russian urban settlement, which was organized by Academician Valentin Sedov in 1971, formed the basis of the museum’s fund collection. The museum grew, and by 1993 it had attained the status of an independent legal entity, acquiring the name of Izborsk State Historical, Architectural and Natural Museum. Nowadays, the historical and architectural Izborsk natural landscape museum-preserve occupies an area of 7,734 hectares. There are more than 180 historical monuments on its premises, as well as a branch of the Pechora City History Museum and the museum-estate of the Seto people in the village of Sigovo.

Interesting Facts

Opposite the entrance to the ancient settlement, there is a large cross known as the Truvorov Cross. There is a legend still told that this cross marks the grave of Truvor, who came to reign in Russia in 862, with his brothers Rurik and Sineus. In 1920, in Soviet times, according to the Tartu Peace Treaty signed by the RSFSR and the Republic of Estonia, Izborsk was passed to Estonia, and the Russians who lived in the city did not accept the reign of Soviets. But after Estonia joined the USSR in 1940, Izborsk became a Soviet city again. The legendary Russian actor Yuri Nikulin was in Izborsk during the war, in the summer of 1944, and he mentions this city in his book.