Pskov (Псков, ancient spelling Пльсковъ, also Psków (Polish)) is an ancient Russianncity, located in the north-west of Russia near the border to Estonia, on the river Velikaya. It is the capital of the Pskov Oblast.
The city is believed to have been founded in the 10th century or possibly even earlier. There is no surviving contemporary reference to its foundation, and accounts differ. The earliest mention is in 903, when it is said that the Kyivian Prince Igor Rurikovich married St. Olga there. This year is sometimes taken as the city's foundation date, and in 2003 there was a great jubilee to celebrate Pskov's 1,100th anniversary.
Pskov is surrounded by a number of substantial city walls; at one point, it was ringed by five of these walls, making the city practically impregnable. The initial fortress, or Kremlin, still stands.
However, the walls were little protection against artillery, and during World War II, Pskov suffered substantial damage during the German occupation from July 9, 1941 until July 23, 1944. Many buildings were destroyed before the Germans could occupy the city. Though a huge portion of the population was killed, Pskov today has a population of about 200,000.
Pskov has a rich cultural history, with many dozens of churches having survived the Soviet era, some dating back to the tenth century. However, there is presently only a very minimal tourist infrastructure, and much of the city needs serious rennovation.