1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kursk (town)

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KURSK, a town of Russia, capital of the government of the same name, at the junction of the railways from Moscow, Kiev and Kharkov, 330 m. S.S.W. from Moscow. Pop. (1897), 52,896. It is built on two hills (750 ft.), the slopes of which are planted with orchards. The environs all round are well wooded and the woods are famous for their nightingales. Among the public buildings the more noticeable are a monastery with an image of the Virgin, greatly venerated since 1295; the Orthodox Greek cathedral (18th century); and the episcopal palace, Kursk being a bishopric of the national church. It is essentially a provincial town, and is revered as the birthplace of Theodosius, one of the most venerated of Russian saints. It has a public garden, and has become the seat of several societies (medical, musical, educational and for sport). Its factories include steam flour-mills, distilleries, tobacco-works, hemp-crushing mills, tanneries, soap-works and iron-works. It has a great yearly fair (Korennaya), and an active trade in cereals, linen, leather, fruit, horses, cattle, hides, sheepskins, furs, down, bristles, wax, tallow and manufactured goods.

Kursk was in existence in 1032. It was completely destroyed by the Mongols in 1240. The defence of the town against an incursion of the Turkish Polovtsi (or Comans or Cumani) is celebrated in The Triumph of Igor, an epic which forms one of the most valuable relics of early Russian literature. From 1586 to the close of the 18th century the citadel was a place of considerable strength; the remains are now comparatively few.