A posad (Russian: посад) was a settlement in the Russian Empire, often surrounded by ramparts and a moat, adjoining a town or a kremlin, but outside of it, or adjoining a monastery in the 10th to 15th centuries. The posad was inhabited by craftsmen and merchants and was its own distinct community, separate from the city it adjoined. Some posads developed into towns, such as Pavlovsky Posad and Sergiev Posad.
The posad was the center of trade in Ancient Rus. Merchants and craftsmen resided there and sold goods such as pottery, armor, glass and copperware, icons, and clothing; as well as food, wax, and salt. Most large cities were adjoined by a posad, frequently situated below the main citadel and by a river. Posads were sometimes fortified with earthen walls.
As posads developed, they became like villages. Membership in the community became hereditary, and posad residents were expected to pay taxes and perform other duties to the state. Leaving the posad required the permission of an elected official. Until the 18th century, the posad had its own elected assembly, the "posadskiy skhod," though the wealthiest members of the posad tended to dominate the governance of the community in "a tight self-perpetuating oligarchy."
A number of posads evolved into towns. Those by a kremlin often gave rise to local toponyms, such as Nagorny Posad (Uphill Settlement), and Kazanski Posad for the historical center of Kazan. Those by a monastery often gave rise to cities named after the monastery, e.g., Sergiev Posad is named after the nearby Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra.
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