Russian city south of Moscow on the Oka River
City on the Oka; Turgenev's birthplace; Southern
Russian city; City founded by Ivan IV; City south of
2 times a year
Video: WWII – Battle
for Orel and Bielgorod
or Orel is a city in Russia, administrative center of Oryol
Oblast. It is located on the Oka River, approximately 360 km
south-south-west of Moscow. In Russian, the word means eagle.
Population: 333,310 (2002 Census). It is served by Orel Airport.
street in Orel
there are no historical records, archaeological evidence proves
that a fortress settlement existed between the Oka and Orlik
Rivers as early as the 12th century, when the land was a part of
the Grand Principality of Chernigov. The name of the fortress is
unknown; it may not have been called Oryol at the time. In the
13th century the fortress became a part of the Zvenigorod
district of the Karachev Principality. In the early 15th century,
the territory was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The
city was soon abandoned by its population, after being sacked
either by Lithuanians or the Golden Horde. The territory then
became a part of Muscovy in the 16th century.
the Terrible decreed that a new fortress be built on the spot in
1566, for the purpose of defending the Souther borders of
Muscovy. The fortress was built very speedily, work starting in
the summer of 1566 and ending in the spring of 1567. The location
chosen was less than ideal strategically, as the fortress was
located on a seasonally flooded low ground easily targeted from
the neighboring high ground. Both the speed and location are of
course due to the new fortress built upon the ruins of the old
Dmitry I and his army passed through town in 1605; Ivan
Bolotnikov in 1606; False Dmitry II camped in Oryol for the
winter of 1607–1608. Polish intervention sacked the town in
1611 and 1615; the population abandoned the town after the second
sacking and moved to Mtsensk. Oryol district nonetheless
continued to exist on paper.
was rebuilt in 1636. The question of moving the fortress to the
more advantageous high ground was in the air up until the 1670s,
but the move was never made. The fortress was deemed unnecessary
and taken apart in the early 18th century.
the mid-18th century Oryol became one of the major centers of
grain production, with the Oka River being the major trade route
until 1860s when it was replaced by a railroad.
1708, Oryol was included as a part of Kiev Governorate; in 1719,
Oryol Province was created within Kiev Governorate. The Province
was transferred to the newly created Belgorod Governorate in
1727. On March 11 (February 28 old style), 1778 Oryol
namestnichestvo (vice-royalty) was created from parts of Voronezh
and Belgorod Governorates. In 1779, the city was almost entirely
rebuilt based on a new plan; and the Oryol River was renamed to
Orlik (lit: "little eagle").
the October Revolution of 1917, the city was in communist hands,
except for a brief period between October 13 and October 20 of
1919 when it was controlled by Denikin’s White Army.
was once again moved between different oblasts in the 1920s and
1930s, finally becoming the administrative center of its own
Oryol Oblast on September 27, 1937. Christian Rakovsky, Maria
Spiridonova, Olga Kameneva and 160 other prominent political
prisoners were shot on September 11, 1941 on Stalin's orders in
the Medvedev forest outside Oryol.
World War II, Oryol was occupied by Nazi Germany on October 3,
1941, and liberated on May 8, 1943, in the course of the famous
Battle of Kursk. The city was almost completely destroyed.
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