RPT: FEATURE - Undiscovered Russia: Small Town On Moscow Canal

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RPT: FEATURE - Undiscovered Russia: Small Town on Moscow Canal

MOSCOW/DMITROV (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 24th February, 2021) OSCOW/DMOSCOW/DMITROV (Pakistan Point news / Sputnik - 24th February, 2021) ITROV, Russia, February 24 (Sputnik), Denis Chernyshenko - A Sputnik correspondent has visited a small historic town of Dmitrov located on the MOSCOW/DMITROV (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 24th February, 2021) oscow Canal.

The town was founded by Yuri Dolgorukiy, the ruler of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality, in 1154. Yuri founded many towns and cities in the northeastern Russian lands, including Moscow in 1147, but in the end wanted to make his principality strong enough to conquer Kiev, which was the main city of the ancient Rus. In 1155, he managed to establish his rule in Kiev but, two years later, died at the age of 57.

In John Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" there was a city called Minas Tirith, or the Tower of the Guard, which protected the Kingdom of Gondor. Dmitrov, a merchant town, was never meant to be a guardian of Moscow but it performed this role twice.

In 1610, the Polish-Lithuanian interventionist forces led by Hetman Jan Piotr Sapieha and loyal to an impostor royal successor, False Dmitry II, captured Dmitrov after an unsuccessful siege of the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in nearby Sergiev Posad. Soon after that, the Russian troops led by young commander Mikhail Skopin-Shuisky besieged Dmitrov in an attempt to unblock Moscow and save it from the interventionists.

Sapieha decided to leave the city and engage in a battle with Skopin-Shuisky, which took place on February 20 and ended in the decisive victory of the Russian forces. False Dmitry II was soon fully defeated but the sudden death of Skopin-Shuisky - likely as a result of a poisoning - weakened the military leadership of Russia, which triggered the disastrous defeat in the Battle of Klushino on July 4, 1610, and the fall of Moscow.

The second battle unleashed near Dmitrov 331 years later, during Nazi Germany's offensive on Moscow. On September 30, the Wehrmacht launched Operation Typhoon aimed at conquering the Soviet capital. Initially, the German troops won two major battles near the cities of Vyazma and Bryansk and managed to break through the Soviet defensive lines and inflict huge losses on the Red Army. However, the extremely cold weather, poor roads, exhausted offensive capabilities and Soviet reinforcements managed to prevent the quick fall of Moscow.

To seize the Soviet capital, the Wehrmacht wanted to defeat the Red Army on both flanks, cutting Moscow from the south and the north. The southern wing of the German army was stooped in another guardian of Moscow - Tula - on October 20-December 5, 1941.

On the northern wing, Germany launched an offensive on Dmitrov and on November 27 the fierce fighting for the Peremilovo heights near the town started.

Several years before the war, the USSR built the Moscow Canal, a short waterway linking Moscow with the Volga River, and Dmitrov, which is located on this channel, played a key logistic role in supplying Moscow and the troops protecting it from the enemy.

To prevent the Germans from crossing the channel the Soviet Army exploded a bridge near Dmitrov and after that drained the water from the canal via recently built hydrological facilities. German tanks tried to cross the canal but as there was no water under the ice, the latter collapsed preventing the Wehrmacht from creating a foothold on the opposite shore. Water was soon redirected back to the canal turning it into a formidable barrier for some time.

The German offensive stalled and several days later the counteroffensive of the Red Army made the Germans retreat leaving its advanced positions near Moscow.

Today, Dmitrov looks like a provincial town and unfortunately does not leave the impression of a significant tourist center despite having some interesting sights and being located near a huge megapolis.

The Dmitrov Kremlin lies in the heart of the city. It consists of the earth walls, the Dormition Cathedral built in the 16th century and the St. Elizabeth Church. The Museum of Frogs, the symbol of the town, is near the Kremlin.

To study the history of Dmitrov and the World War II battle that took place here one should visit the nearby Museum of the Dmitrov Kremlin, which is located in a modern beautiful building.

Another major sight of Dmitrov is its Borisoglebsky Monastery with the beautiful cathedral built in the 16th century.

Unfortunately, I had no opportunity to visit the war memorial on the Peremilovo heights outside Dmitrov that commemorates the deed of the Soviet soldiers, who saved not only Moscow, but the whole of Europe from Nazism and its horrors.

In 1766, Scottish businessman Francis Jacob Gardner opened the first private porcelain factory in the settlement of Verbilki near Dmitrov. In 1777-1783, the factory produced four dinnerware sets for Empress Catherine II The Great, which confirmed its leading market position in Russia.

In the late 19th century, the factory started to decay but the situation drastically improved after it was purchased by famous businessman Matvey Kuznetsov, who made it a part of its porcelain-making industrial group.

In the Soviet era, the factory was nationalized but was not closed. In 1941, the plant was mined so that the Germans could not use it, but Verbilki was not seized by the enemy and the plant survived.

The factory is still operating and everyone can visit its shop. Personally, I bought a teapot called the Apple of Discord dedicated to the ancient Greek myth of a dispute between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite that sparked the famous Trojan War.