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Smolensk - "the Key" to the heart of Russia

Smolensk is one of the oldest cities in Russia, the administrative, industrial and cultural center of the Smolensk region.
The city is called "the key” to the heart of Russia, Moscow. The first mention of Smolensk dates back to 863.
The city is located 378 kilometers south-west from Moscow on the banks of the river Dnieper, which is flowing through the territory of three countries.
Smolensk has a favorable geographical position. It is situated on the routes from Moscow to Belarus, the Baltic States, countries of Central and Western Europe. The city stretches for 25 km from west to east and 15 km from north to south. Its territory is 166.35 km ². The population is 329,853 people.
Smolensk is one of the largest student centers in Russia. There are 6 state higher educational institutions in the city. The total number of students is about 20,000.
The main monument of architecture in Smolensk is an outstanding construction - Smolensk Fortress wall, which had a huge defensive importance for the Russian state for many centuries. Now this unique architectural monument is the third largest fortress in the world.
Smolensk has a unique relief. The urban area is cut by a large number of deep ravines, valleys and streams that flow into the Dnieper River. The height difference in the city is about 80 meters, so it is believed that the city lies on "7 hills". The rich vegetation, undulating terrain, and a large number of rivers give Smolensk a beautiful and picturesque view.
Smolensk region is the birthplace of the world's first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the great Russian composer Mikhail Glinka, the Russian traveler and naturalist Nikolai Przhevalsky.