Pskov (pəskôfˈ) [key], city (1989 pop. 204,000), capital of Pskov region, NW European Russia, on the Velikaya River. It is an important rail junction in the heart of a flax-growing area. Industries include food processing and the manufacture of metals, machinery, building materials, and linen. Known in antiquity as Pleskov, it became (903) an outpost of Novgorod. Its large-scale stone construction, almost equal in extent to that of Novgorod, shows that it was already a rich town in the 12th cent. Pskov became (1347) an independent, democratic city-state and a flourishing commercial center that traded with the Hanseatic League. It was capital of Pskov Republic from 1348 to 1510 and had a form of government similar to that of Novgorod. With its annexation (1510) by Moscow, Pskov lost its democratic institutions. Its importance, except as a strategic fortress, soon declined. The railroad station at Pskov was the scene (1917) of the abdication of Nicholas II. The historic core of Pskov is the inner walled city, containing a kremlin (12th–16th cent.), with towers in the Byzantine style, a cathedral, and numerous medieval churches and monasteries. The country around Pskov is rich in architectural monuments from the 14th to the 18th cent.
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