A.A.Selin

Tesov - A Medieval preurban Centre of Novgorod Land

The subject of our study is a pre-urban centre in North-Western part of Novgorod Land - the Tesov fortress. Tesov is mentioned in the records for the first time in 1233, in connection with Novgorod-Livonian conflict and then in 1240, when Livonian army broke up Luga region. Both mentions shows Tesovo as a small fortification on the way to Novgorod from North-West. After 1240 Tesov disappeared from the pages of chronicles, since that time the main fortification was transferred to Copor'ye. But near 1500 the locality of former fortress appears as well developed territory; the central settlements of Tesovo neighbourhood plays some non-rural functions. Tesovo at that time was a trade settlement near the cross of river and land roads from Novgorod to Ivangorod and Narva. A new small fortress was built in Tesov after the beginning of Sweden occupation 1610-1618, where a detachment of Delagardy's soldiers was placed in order to control the communication between Novgorod and Sweden.

Different sources localize the place of former Tesov fortress variously. Archaeological researches in the locality of Tesov revealed a number of monuments connected with the fortress of 13. and 17. cc. According to Yu.M.Lesman's observations, Tesov of the 13. c. was placed on a cape near the mouth of Tesovaya river. Just lower, on a small island, there was a place of the Tesovo monastery of Assumption (16.c.). The modern folklore tradition connects the placement of "ancient town" just with this island. Archaeological observation of that place revealed some traces of ancient fortifications, probably - the remains of Sweden fortress that existed only for nearly 8-10 years.

We are to compare this monument with the more extensive context of unrevealed list of the monuments. Now we discover more and more mentions of such fortresses that existed in different parts of Novgorod Land - in Zarech'ye, also on the Ivangorod road, on the Msta river, near Bolon'ya pogost, on Luga, near Staritsa, on Kolp', near Cherensk pogost in the years of Sweden occupation of 17. c. It concerns not only urban and fortress building but also rural church architecture - we know that in the years of occupation 1610-1618 there were built a number of new churches and monasteries.

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