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b) Do you know much about the city you live in? Look at the pictures. Do you know how these things are connected with Kursk?
c) Read a short fact file about Kursk from a guidebook and check your ideas. Are all these facts familiar to you? Which of them are the most surprising for you?
FACT FILE: KURSK
· The first written record of Kursk is dated 1094. It was mentioned in the PechyorPaterikon one of the most famous written monuments of the ancient Church, compiled by the monk-chronicler Nestor in 1094.
· There are also some lines about the valour of Kursk warriors in the world-famous The Tale of Igor's Campaignwritten approximatelyin 1185.
· Kursk was raided by the Polovtsians in the 12th and 13th centuries and destroyed by Batu Khanaround 1237. The city was rebuilt no later than 1283. It was ruled by Grand Duchy of Lithuania between 1360 and 1508. Kursk joined the centralized Russian state in 1508, becoming its southern border province.
· At the beginning of the 17th century Kursk was repeatedly attacked by Polish-Lithuania (in 1612, 1616, 1617, 1634), the Crimean Tatars, and the Nogai horde, but Kursk fortress was never taken.
· The first school was opened in 1780, the first theatre – in 1792 (MikhialSchepkin first appeared there in 1805).
· In the 18th century there were several city districts called “slobodas” – some of them still exist in the city.
· The area around Kursk was the site of a turning point in the Soviet–German struggle during the Great Patriotic War and the site of the largest tank battle in history(April, 12 1943). After the war Kursk was included into the governmental short list of the cities needed to get reconstructed as soon as possible.
· During the Soviet period Kursk was a great industrial centre. Now as a soviet heritage one can find lots of empty industrial buildings, especially in the working areas of the city.
· One more fact from the soviet history – from 1937 till 1992 the main city cathedral, Znamensky, situated on Red Square – used to be a cinema.
· The symbol of Kursk is a nightingale. This little bird is adored here – there is even a museum of it!
· There is a monument to an apple in Kursk, which can sound strange except this is one more symbol of the city. Local apples are famous all over the country and called “antonovka”.
· If you are very attentive, you`ll see a part of Kursk Kremlin wall – just near the plant on Red Square. It`s not more than three meters long, but looks very authentic. Plus, it creates a beautiful view on the main cathedral of the city. A plant, a cathedral, a part of fortress – what a mix!
· The famous Kursk Korennaya Fair is still held as well as a sacred procession in honour of Our Lady of Kursk.
· The oldest buildings in Kursk are the upper and lower churches of the Trinity Monastery, a good example of the transition style characteristic of Peter the Great's early reign.
· Kursk is a part of Black Soil Zone and the so-called Kursk Magnetic Anomaly, the world's largest known iron-ore reserve, which makes the city very important industrial centre of Russia.
· Each year in autumn there held big jazz festival called “Jazz province”.
d) Why are these dates important for Kursk?
1094 1360 1780 1508 1792 April, 12 1943
e) Are these statements true or false?
1. Kursk is the most ancient Russian town.
2. The first written record of Kursk is found in The Tale of Igor's Campaign.
3. Kursk was destroyed by Lithuanians in 1360.
4. There is a monument to a nightingale in Kursk.
5. Kursk Korennaya Fair is held at the same time as a sacred procession in honour of Our Lady of Kursk.
6. There is still a part of Kursk Kremlin left in the centre of the city.
7. The biggest branch of industry in Kursk region is iron ore production.