Regional centre of Smolensk Region
One month prior to the Olympic torch relay, Smolensk awaits another significant event. In September 2013, the city will celebrate 1150 years since its foundation.
Smolensk is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe. It was formed as a centre of Slavic Krivichi peoples. In the 9th century, it was reported that the "city is large and with a lot of people".
Smolensk had a prominent role in the early centuries of Russia. Then it went to Lithuania, and was part of the Polish state, and finally became Russian in 1654. Now Smolensk is an industrial and cultural centre, a comfortable town on the banks of the Dnieper, where heroic history and modernity interlock.
Founder of sambo Anatoly Kharlampiev was born in Smolensk, as was 2008 Beijing Olympic champion in synchronized swimming Natalia Ishchenko.
Smolensk has the honorary status of Hero City. It is believed that Smolensk, just as Moscow, stands on seven hills Great Russian composer Mikhail Glinka was born in the village of Novospasskoye, near Smolensk.
Smolensk is the birthplace of the famous singer Eduard Khil. "War and Peace" starring Sergei Bondarchuk was shot in Smolensk.
The city has several interesting museums: the Fairytale Museum dedicated to characters of Russian fairy tales, the Russian Vodka Museum and the 17th century Blacksmith Museum. The city has the Kristall factory, which processes diamonds. Because of this, the city has the unofficial title of "diamond capital" of Russia.
In Smolensk, bathing in the river is prohibited within the city limits.
Citizens from foreign countries taking part in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay:
Tarasevich Natalya Petrovna