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Vyazma (English)
Вязьма (Russian)
-  Town  -
Hodegetria church, Vyazma.jpg
Hodegetria church is one of three major three-tented churches in the world, the other two being preserved in Uglich and Moscow
Map of Russia - Smolensk Oblast (2008-03).svg
Location of Smolensk Oblast in Russia
Vyazma is located in Smolensk Oblast
Location of Vyazma in Smolensk Oblast
Coordinates: 55°12′N 34°15′E / 55.200°N 34.250°E / 55.200; 34.250Coordinates: 55°12′N 34°15′E / 55.200°N 34.250°E / 55.200; 34.250
Coat of Arms of Vyazma (Smolensk oblast) (1780).png
Coat of arms
Administrative status
Country Russia
Federal subject Smolensk Oblast
Administrative district Vyazemsky District[citation needed]
Administrative center of Vyazemsky District{{{adm_ctr_of_ref}}}
Municipal status
Mayor[citation needed] Viktor Semeykin[citation needed]
Area 44 km2 (17 sq mi)[citation needed]
Population (2010 Census) 57,101 inhabitants[1]
Rank in 2010 288th
Density 1,298 /km2 (3,360 /sq mi)[2]
Time zone MSK (UTC+04:00)[3]
First mentioned 1230[4]
Town status since 1776[citation needed]
Postal code(s)[5] 215100
Dialing code(s) +7 48131[citation needed]
Official website
Vyazma on WikiCommons

Vyazma (Russian: Вя́зьма) is a town and the administrative center of Vyazemsky District of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Vyazma River, about halfway between Smolensk and Mozhaysk. Throughout its turbulent history, the city defended western approaches to the city of Moscow. Population: 57,101 (2010 Census);[1] 57,545 (2002 Census);[6] 59,022 (1989 Census);[7] 44,000 (1970).

Medieval history and monuments[edit]

Spasskaya tower is the only tower left of the mediaeval Kremlin

Vyazma was first mentioned in a chronicle under the year of 1230, although it is believed that it is a much older settlement. The town was named after the river, whose name was from Russian "вязь" (vyaz'), meaning "bog" or "swamp".[8] At that time, the town belonged to a lateral branch of the Rurikid House of Smolensk. In 1403, the local princes were expelled by Lithuanians to Moscow, where they took the name of Princes Vyazemsky. The most notable among them were Pyotr Vyazemsky, an intimate friend of the poet Alexander Pushkin and a poet himself, and Sophie Viazemski, a French writer, for a time married to Jean-Luc Godard.

In 1494, Vyazma was captured by Muscovy and turned into a fortress, of which but a single tower remains. Two important abbeys were embellished with stone churches, including a rare three-tented church dedicated to Our Lady of Smolensk (Hodegetria) and consecrated in 1638 except Polish occupation between 1611–1634. A barbican church of the same abbey dates back to 1656, and the city's cathedral was completed by 1676. Other churches are designed mostly in baroque style.

Battles of Vyazma[edit]

Main article: Battle of Vyazma
A monument commemorating the Russian victory over Napoleon

During the Patriotic War of 1812, there was a battle between the retreating French army (up to 37,000 troops) and the Russian army (25,000 men) near Vyazma on October 22, 1812. The vanguard of the Russian army under the command of Lieutenant General Mikhail Miloradovich and a Cossack unit of General Matvey Platov attacked the rearguard corps of Marshal Louis Nicolas Davout east of Vyazma and cut off his retreat. Owing to the intervention of Eugène de Beauharnais and Józef Antoni Poniatowski, Davout managed to break through the Russian army's encirclement. The French army's attempts, however, to hold the heights near Vyazma and the city itself were unsuccessful. By the evening of October 22, the Russians seized Vyazma, which had been set on fire by the French. The French lost 6,000 men during the battle; 2,500 soldiers were taken prisoners. The Russians lost around 2,000 men.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945, Vyazma became a battlefield between the Red Army and the Wehrmacht during the Battle of Moscow. It became the centre of a Red Army pocket after it was encircled by the 3rd and 4th Panzer armies. Vyazma was occupied by the German army between October 7, 1941 and March 12, 1943. The city was mostly destroyed and then rebuilt after the war. American war correspondent Quentin Reynolds visited Vyazma shortly after the German retreat and gave an account of the destruction of the city in his book The Curtain Rises, in which he stated that its population was reduced from 60,000 to 716, with only three buildings remaining. The Nazis also established two concentration camps in the city, Dulag 184 and Dulag 230. About 80,000 people died there and were buried in mass graves. The victims included Jews, political officers, and POWs. ref

Modern Vyazma[edit]

Esh 4290 0-10-0 steam locomotive outside Vyazma railway station

Vyazma is a major railway junction, with connecting trains from Moscow, St.Petersburg, Kaluga and Bryansk. It is also located near the main M1 highway between Moscow and Minsk.

The city's main industries are engineering, leather working, graphite products, and flax textiles.

In terms of education Vyazma has branches of the Moscow State Industrial University, the Smolensk Humanitarian University, the International Academy of Tourism (WF RMAT), and the Moscow State University of Technology and Management, as well as the Vyazemsky Polytechnic College.

The city association football club, FK Vyazma, plays in the Amateur football league.


The city of Vyazma is known in Russia for the aviation-squadron Vyazma Russ which flies in Aero L-39 Albatros jet aircraft.[9]

The city is served by the Vyazma Airport.


  1. ^ a b "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ The value of density was calculated automatically by dividing the 2010 Census population by the area specified in the infobox. Please note that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the infobox does not necessarily correspond to the area of the entity proper or is reported for the same year as the population.
  3. ^ Правительство Российской Федерации. Постановление №725 от 31 августа 2011 г. «О составе территорий, образующих каждую часовую зону, и порядке исчисления времени в часовых зонах, а также о признании утратившими силу отдельных Постановлений Правительства Российской Федерации». Вступил в силу по истечении 7 дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Российская Газета", №197, 6 сентября 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Resolution #725 of August 31, 2011 On the Composition of the Territories Included into Each Time Zone and on the Procedures of Timekeeping in the Time Zones, as Well as on Abrogation of Several Resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation. Effective as of after 7 days following the day of the official publication.).
  4. ^ Энциклопедия Города России. Moscow: Большая Российская Энциклопедия. 2003. p. 99. ISBN 5-7107-7399-9. 
  5. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Russian)
  6. ^ "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. May 21, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров." [All Union Population Census of 1989. Present population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs, krais, oblasts, districts, urban settlements, and villages serving as district administrative centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года (All-Union Population Census of 1989) (in Russian). Institute of Demographics of the State University—Higher School of Economics. Retrieved February 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ Е. М. Поспелов. Географические названия мира (Москва, 1998), p. 108.
  9. ^ http://www.vyazmarus.com/ Vyazma Rus L-39 squadron

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]