Smolensk, Russia

About This City:

The walled city of Smolensk was destroyed several times throughout its long history because it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk is noted for electronics, textiles, food processing and diamond faceting. The city is located in European Russia on the banks of the upper Dnieper River, which crosses the city in the Smolensk Upland, which is the western part of the Smolensk–Moscow Upland. The river flowing in the city from east to west, divides it into two parts: the northern and southern center.

Smolensk is among the oldest of Russian cities. The first recorded mention of the city was 863 AD, two years after the founding of ancient Rus’. According to Russian Primary Chronicle, Smolensk (probably located slightly downstream, at the archaeological site of Gnezdovo) was located on the area settled by the West Slavic Radimichs tribe in 882 when Oleg of Novgorod took it in passing from Novgorod to Kiev. The first foreign writer to mention the city was the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. In De Administrando Imperio (c. 950) he described Smolensk as a key station on the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The Rus people sailed from the Baltics up the Western Dvina as far as they could then they pulled their boats out onto the ground and dragged them along to the upper Dnieper.

Smolensk, Russia Committee Chair

Colorado Springs became sister cities with Smolensk, Russia in 1993.  Since then, we have formed business relationships between the two cities’ Chambers of Commerce, had classical music exchanges through KCME and a local radio station in Smolensk, started a pen pal project with the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale, and we provided aide in the form of monetary donations and medical supplies for two children’s hospitals in Smolensk.  The Smolensk Region is a fascinating place known for its important diamond-faceting industry and famous sons such as the first man in space Yuri Gagarin, and classical composer Mikhail Glinka.  If you are new to Colorado Springs Sister Cities International, take a moment to browse this page to learn about all of the interesting work that is being done with our friends and partners in Smolensk.