Save 20% on Awesome and Plus accounts with Our A+ Back to School Sale Upgrade now

About one kilometre from Mikhailovskoye, not far from the “forested hills” on the bank of the Sorot, is the ancient site of Savkino, or Savkina Gorka, as it was called after Pushkin’s day.
The road which spirals along the hill to the top is typical of such fortifications. From here you have a splendid view of Petrovskoye (Kuchane) Lake and park, Mikhailovskoye and the meadows indented by the meandering River Sorot.
To the left is the spot where the Transfiguration Monastery once stood in the 15th to 17th century, destroyed during Stefan Bathory’s invasion in 1581.
Savkino was one of the fortified settlements of the 9th to 13th century in old Russia. It is quite possible that this was the site of the Mikhailovskoye Monastery with an old settlement, which gave its name to Mikhailovskoye estate. Right up to the beginning of the 20th century there was a very old, half-ruined wooden chapel here built in honour of those who died defending the town in the 16th century. Today it has been restored. The chapel is not open to the public, but inside is a copy of Stefan Bathory’s campaign map showing the disposition of his army on their campaign against Pskov (the original is in the Vatican ).
Next to the chapel is the “Savkin stone”. It is more than 400 years old, one of the “authentic” (not reconstructed) stones of which there were many on the Pskov lands in early times.
This can be seen from the faded inscription on Old Slavonic: “in the year 7021 (1513) Sava the priest did set up a cross”. Sava the priest was a real person, who set up a cross in memory of the town’s defendants. Hence the name Savkino.
The place attracted Pushkin because of its seclusion, beautiful views and aura of antiquity. He longed to acquire the village, which at that time belonged to three small landowners, the Zateplinskys. On 29 June, 1831 Pushkin wrote to Praskovia Osipovna in Trigorskoye: ”I would ask you as a kind neighbour and dear friend to let me know whether I might acquire Savkino and on what conditions. I would build myself a shack there, fill it with books and spend … a few months a year… the project fills me with delight, and I return to it constantly.” Two months later, on 11 September, he wrote: “I thank you for the labour that you have undertaken in negotiating with the Savkino landowners. If one of them should prove too stubborn, perhaps it might possible to reach an agreement with the other two, leaving him out.” But Pushkin’s dream of acquiring Savkino was not realized, although he never stopped thinking about it to the very last.

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app