Oryol or Orel is a city and the administrative center of Oryol Oblast
Oryol Oblast
Oryol Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . Its administrative center is the city of Oryol. Population: -Geography:It is located in the southwestern part of the Central Federal District, in the Mid-Russian Highlands. Kaluga and Tula Oblasts border it in the north, Bryansk Oblast is located to...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, located on the Oka River
Oka River
Oka is a river in central Russia, the largest right tributary of the Volga. It flows through the regions of Oryol, Tula, Kaluga, Moscow, Ryazan, Vladimir, and Nizhny Novgorod and is navigable over a large part of its total length, as far upstream as to the town of Kaluga. Its length exceeds...

, approximately 360 kilometres (223.7 mi) south-southwest of Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. Population: It is served by Oryol Yuzhny Airport.


While there are no historical records, archaeological evidence proves that a fortress settlement existed between the Oka and Orlik Rivers as early as the 12th century, when the land was a part of the Grand Principality of Chernigov. The name of the fortress is unknown; it may not have been called Oryol at the time. In the 13th century the fortress became a part of the Zvenigorod
Zvenigorod is an old town in Moscow Oblast, Russia. Population: -History:The community has existed since the 12th century, although its first written mention is dated 1338. The town's name is based either on a personal name or on a hydronym Zvenigorod is an old town in Moscow Oblast, Russia....

 district of the Karachev
Karachev is an old town in Karachevsky District of Bryansk Oblast, Russia. In the Middle Ages, it was the capital of one of the Upper Principalities, until its rulers moved their seat to Peremyshl. Its old architecture was heavily damaged during the World War II...

 Principality. In the early 15th century, the territory was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

. The city was soon abandoned by its population, after being sacked either by Lithuanians or the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

. The territory became a part of Muscovy
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 in the 16th century.

Ivan the Terrible decreed that a new fortress be built on the spot in 1566, for the purpose of defending the southern borders of Muscovy. The fortress was built very speedily, work starting in the summer of 1566 and ending in the spring of 1567. The location chosen was less than ideal strategically, as the fortress was located on a seasonally flooded low ground easily targeted from the neighboring high ground. Both the speed and location are of course due to the new fortress built upon the ruins of the old one.

False Dmitry I and his army passed through town in 1605; Ivan Bolotnikov
Ivan Bolotnikov
Ivan Isayevich Bolotnikov was the leader of a popular uprising in Russia in 1606–1607 known as the Bolotnikov rebellion . The uprising was part of the Time of Troubles in Russia.-Biography:...

 in 1606; False Dmitry II
False Dmitry II
False Dmitry II , also called the rebel of Tushino, was the second of three pretenders to the Russian throne who claimed to be Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich of Russia, the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible...

 camped in Oryol for the winter of 1607–1608. Polish intervention sacked the town in 1611 and 1615; the population abandoned the town after the second sacking and moved to Mtsensk
Mtsensk is a town in Oryol Oblast, Russia, located on the Zusha River northeast of Oryol. It stands on the Moscow–Simferopol highway. Population: 28,000 ....

. Oryol district nonetheless continued to exist on paper.

Oryol was rebuilt in 1636. The question of moving the fortress to the more advantageous high ground was in the air up until the 1670s, but the move was never made. The fortress was deemed unnecessary and taken apart in the early 18th century.

In the mid-18th century Oryol became one of the major centers of grain production, with the Oka River being the major trade route until 1860s when it was replaced by a railroad.

Oryol was granted town status in 1702. In 1708, Oryol was included as a part of Kiev Governorate
Kiev Governorate
Kiev Governorate , or Government of Kiev, was an administrative division of the Russian Empire.The governorate was established in 1708 along with seven other governorates and was transformed into a viceroyalty in 1781...

; in 1719, Oryol Province was created within Kiev Governorate. The Province was transferred to the newly created Belgorod Governorate in 1727. On March 11 (February 28 old style
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

), 1778 Oryol Vice-Royalty was created from parts of Voronezh and Belgorod Governorates. In 1779, the city was almost entirely rebuilt based on a new plan; and the Oryol River was renamed Orlik (lit: "little eagle").

After the October Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, the city was in communist hands, except for a brief period between October 13 and October 20 of 1919 when it was controlled by Anton Ivanovich Denikin
Anton Ivanovich Denikin
Anton Ivanovich Denikin was Lieutenant General of the Imperial Russian Army and one of the foremost generals of the White movement in the Russian Civil War.- Childhood :...

’s White Army
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...


Oryol was once again moved between different oblasts in the 1920s and 1930s, finally becoming the administrative center of its own Oryol Oblast on September 27, 1937. Christian Rakovsky
Christian Rakovsky
Christian Rakovsky was a Bulgarian socialist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and Soviet diplomat; he was also noted as a journalist, physician, and essayist...

, Maria Spiridonova
Maria Spiridonova
Maria Alexandrovna Spiridonova was a figure in Russian revolutionary circles at the beginning of the 20th century.- Biography :She joined the Socialist-Revolutionary Party during her training to become a nurse....

, Olga Kameneva
Olga Kameneva
Olga Davidovna Kameneva was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet politician. She was the sister of Leon Trotsky and the first wife of Lev Kamenev.-Childhood and Revolutionary Career :...

 and 160 other prominent political prisoners were shot on September 11, 1941 on Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's orders in the Medvedev forest outside Oryol.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Oryol was occupied by the Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 on October 3, 1941, and liberated on 5 August 1943, after the Battle of Kursk
Battle of Kursk
The Battle of Kursk took place when German and Soviet forces confronted each other on the Eastern Front during World War II in the vicinity of the city of Kursk, in the Soviet Union in July and August 1943. It remains both the largest series of armored clashes, including the Battle of Prokhorovka,...

. The city was almost completely destroyed.


  • 1991–1997: Alexander Kislyakov
  • 1997–2002: Yefim Velkovsky
  • 2002–2006: Vasily Uvarov
  • 2006–2009: Alexander Kasyanov

Twin towns/sister cities

Oryol is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Brest
Brest, Belarus
Brest , formerly also Brest-on-the-Bug and Brest-Litovsk , is a city in Belarus at the border with Poland opposite the city of Terespol, where the Bug River and Mukhavets rivers meet...

, Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

Kerch is a city on the Kerch Peninsula of eastern Crimea, an important industrial, transport and tourist centre of Ukraine. Kerch, founded 2600 years ago, is considered as one of the most ancient cities in Ukraine.-Ancient times:...

, Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 Leeuwarden, Friesland
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient region of Frisia.Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân...

, Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

Nokia, Finland
Nokia, Finland is a town and a municipality on the banks of the Nokianvirta River in the region of Pirkanmaa, some west of Tampere. As of it has a population of .-History:...

, Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

Razgrad is a city in northeastern Bulgaria, administrative and industrial centre of the homonymous Razgrad Province. As of February 2011, it has a population of 33,238 inhabitants.-History:...

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 (since 1968)

Notable natives and residents

  • Leonid Andreyev
    Leonid Andreyev
    Leonid Nikolaievich Andreyev was a Russian playwright, novelist and short-story writer. He is one of the most talented and prolific representatives of the Silver Age period in Russian history...

    , playwright
  • Mikhail Bakhtin
    Mikhail Bakhtin
    Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin was a Russian philosopher, literary critic, semiotician and scholar who worked on literary theory, ethics, and the philosophy of language...

    , literary critic, born in 1895 in Orel.
  • Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky
    Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky
    Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky was a Communist revolutionary, famous as the first director of the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, known later by many names during the history of the Soviet Union...

    , first head of CheKa
  • Afanasy Fet
    Afanasy Fet
    Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet , was a Russian poet regarded as one of the finest lyricists in Russian literature.-Origins:...

    , poet
  • Nikolai Getman
    Nikolai Getman
    Nikolai Getman , an artist, was born in 1917 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and died at his home inOrel, Russia, in August 2004. He was a prisoner from 1946 to 1953 in forced labor camps in Siberia and Kolyma, where he survived as a result of his ability to sketch for the propaganda requirements of the...

    , painter and Gulag survivor, died in Orel
  • Timofey Granovsky
    Timofey Granovsky
    Timofey Nikolayevich Granovsky was a founder of mediaeval studies in the Russian Empire.Granovsky was born in Oryol, Russia. He studied at the universities of Moscow and Berlin, where he was profoundly influenced by Hegelian ideas of Leopold von Ranke and Friedrich Karl von Savigny...

    , historian
  • Vasily Kalinnikov
    Vasily Kalinnikov
    Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov was a Russian composer of two symphonies, several additional orchestral works and numerous songs, all of them imbued with characteristics of folksong...

    , Composer 1866–1901
  • Yakov Kasman
    Yakov Kasman
    Yakov Kasman is a Russian classical pianist, professor of piano, and artist-in-residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham....

    , pianist, 1997 Van Cliburn Silver Medalist
  • Anna Petrovna Kern
    Anna Petrovna Kern
    Anna Petrovna Kern, née Poltoratskaya , was a Russian socialite and memoirist, best known as the addressee of what is probably the best known love poem in the Russian language, written by Pushkin in 1825....

    , socialite
  • Stanislav Lebamba
    Stanislav Lebamba
    Stanislav Marselyevich Lebamba is a Russian professional football player. Currently, he plays in the Russian First Division for FC KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny. His father is from Congo and his mother Russian.-External links:* -References:...

    , Afro Russian Footballer
  • Nikolai Leskov
    Nikolai Leskov
    Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov was a Russian journalist, novelist and short story writer, who also wrote under the pseudonym M. Stebnitsky. Praised for his unique writing style and innovative experiments in form, held in high esteem by Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky among others, Leskov is...

    , novelist
  • Denis Menchov
    Denis Menchov
    Denis Nikolayevich Menchov , born 25 January 1978 in Oryol, is a professional Russian road bicycle racer for . He is a general classification rider and a climber. In 2005 he won the Vuelta a España, which he won for a second time in 2007...

    , professional cyclist, winner of the Giro d'Italia
    Giro d'Italia
    The Giro d'Italia , also simply known as The Giro, is a long distance road bicycle racing stage race for professional cyclists held over three weeks in May/early June in and around Italy. The Giro is one of the three Grand Tours , and is part of the UCI World Ranking calendar...

     2009 and the 2005 and 2007 Vuelta a España
    Vuelta a España
    The Vuelta a España is a three-week road bicycle racing stage race that is one of the three "Grand Tours" of Europe and part of the UCI World Ranking calendar. The race lasts three weeks and attracts cyclists from around the world. The race is broken into day-long segments, called stages...

  • Artem Mikoyan, founder of the famous MiG aircraft manufacturer
  • Fritz Noether
    Fritz Noether
    Fritz Alexander Ernst Noether was a German-born mathematician.Fritz Noether's father Max Noether was a mathematician and professor in Erlangen. The notable mathematician Emmy Noether was his elder sister; the mathematician Gottfried Noether was his son.Fritz Noether was also an able mathematician...

    , mathematician, was shot in Orel in 1941 during the Stalinist period
  • Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov
    Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov
    Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov was a Soviet aeronautical engineer and aircraft designer, known as "King of Fighters". He designed the I-15 series of fighters, and the I-16 Ishak "Little Donkey" fighter....

    , aviation designer
  • Yevgeni Preobrazhensky
    Yevgeni Preobrazhensky
    Yevgeni Alekseyevich Preobrazhensky was an Old Bolshevik, an economist and a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik faction and, its successor, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.-Life:...

    , Bolshevik
    The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

  • Vladimir Karlovich Roth
    Vladimir Karlovich Roth
    Vladimir Karlovich Roth — sometimes Vladimir Karlovich Rot — was a Russian neuropathologist.Roth was native of Orel. He studied medicine at the University of Moscow, where he graduated in 1871. From 1877 to 1879 he travelled abroad, and worked in clinics at Vienna, Berlin and Paris...

    , noted neuropathologist
  • Valerian Safonovich
    Valerian Safonovich
    Valerian Ivanovich Safonovich  — was a Russian statesman and politician who served as ruler of Oryol Governorate from 1854 to 1861.Educated in Moscow University. Worked in the Ministry of the Interior in 1842—1854....

    , Oryol governor in 1854—1861
  • Alexey Stakhanov, worker
  • Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin, statesman
  • Yakov Sverdlov
    Yakov Sverdlov
    Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov ; known under pseudonyms "Andrei", "Mikhalych", "Max", "Smirnov", "Permyakov" — 16 March 1919) was a Bolshevik party leader and an official of the Russian Soviet Republic.-Early life:...

    , Bolshevik revolutionary, died in Orel
  • Ivan Turgenev
    Ivan Turgenev
    Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportsman's Sketches, is a milestone of Russian Realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century...

    , novelist and playwright
  • Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov
    Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov
    Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov , or Ermolov , was a Russian Imperial general of the 19th century who commanded Russian troops in the Caucasus War.-Early life:...

    , military general
  • Gennady Zyuganov
    Gennady Zyuganov
    Gennady Andreyevich Zyuganov is a Russian politician, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation , Chairman of the Union of Communist Parties - Communist Party of the Soviet Union , deputy of the State Duma , and a member of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe...

    , head of Communist Party of the Russian Federation
    Communist Party of the Russian Federation
    The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is a Russian political party. It is the second major political party in the Russian Federation.-History:...

  • Denis Boytsov
    Denis Boytsov
    Denis Boytsov is a Russian heavyweight boxer .-Amateur career:Boytsov has had a decorated amateur career, including the following accomplishments:...

    , Professionnal Boxer

External links

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