Zaraysk ( _ru. Зарайск) is a town in Moscow Oblast, Russia, the administrative center of Zaraysky District, situated about 100 km south from Moscow. Population: 25,093 (2002 Census); 26,958 (1989 Census).

The town stands on the right bank of the Osyotr River, which is a right confluent of the Oka. In the Middle Ages, the town belonged to the Princes of Ryazan and was known as Krasnoye (13th century) and Novogorodok-upon-the-Osetr (14th and 15th centuries). From 1528 onwards the town was called "the town of Nikola Zarazsky" and only by the beginning of 17th century it received its present name of Zaraysk. Before the 20th century the town was part of Ryazan guberniya, as its architecture and vernacular dialect seem closer to Ryazan than to Moscow.

In Muscovite Russia, Zaraysk was one of the fortresses forming a part of the Great Abatis Border, a fortified line of felled trees, barricades, fortresses, ditches, which were built by Russians as a protection against the hordes of the Crimean and Kazan Tatars. In 1531 a stone kremlin was built in place of the former wooden citadel. The Tatars failed to take the fortress during their raids in 1533, 1541 and 1570. It was briefly captured by the Lisowczycy during the Time of Troubles.

The limestone kremlin in Zaraysk still stands and is kept in a rather good condition. The citadel is very small and has a rectangular shape, with only six towers, two of which are pierced by the gates. Zaraysk is home to five churches, the oldest of which is St. Nicholas Cathedral, consecrated in 1681. There are public statues of Prince Pozharsky who led the defense of the citadel in 1611, and Dostoevsky, whose family had a manor near Zaraysk. At present Zaraysk is an industrial center of the district, with polygraphy, building materials, foodstuff and footwear industry.

External links

* [ History and attractions of Zaraysk]
*ru icon [ Zaraysk on the internet]
* [ Photos] with annotations in Russian.
* [ Another gallery]
* [ Small gallery] with comments in English.
* [ Kolomna and Zaraysk in winter]

Sister cities

*flagicon|Bulgaria Popovo, Bulgaria.

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