THE TOWN OF SLAVGOROD
The name Slavgorod means «The Town of Glory». And very few people remember that before World War II it was called Propoysk, which means «The Town of Drunkards». The legend says that after a very severe battle in Propoysk, Stalin was supposed to sign an Order naming one of the Army divisions after ‘The Town of Drunkards’. Having read the name of the town, he decided it was not good enough for war heroes and renamed the town into The Town of Glory, Slavgorod, instead.
The place was first mentioned in chronicles in 1136. It was part of Smolensk principality in those times and had the name of Propoy. In reality the name had nothing to do with drinking but only meant «quick stream». The place was so named because the river along which it was located had the same name. Later the name of the river was transformed into Pronya, and the name of the place — into Propoysk.
Historians say that Slavgorod, like many other towns (Krichev and Mstislavl, for example), was founded as a town-fortress to strengthen the eastern border on the Route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The town was famous for its well-fortified wooden fortress on the Castle Hill standing high above the rivers Sozh and Pronya.
The town’s landmark is a site of ancient town on the Castle Hill on the high bank of the Sozh. Even today one can see the remains of military fortifications — ditches and earthworks.
Another place of interest is the site of the Golitsyns’ estate built in the 18th century. Today tourists can walk along the alleys of the adjoining park.
Slavgorod has its own urban legends supported by facts. For many years there were rumors about an underground passage in the town. In the1960s even archeologists came to the site of Prince Golitsyn’s former estate. They became interested in this place after ancient gold coins had been found by local school-children. Old residents remember that archeological works started here more than once, but every time they stopped very quickly because of the lack of funds.
But it would be so exciting to find out one day what secrets and mysteries are kept in Slavgorod catacombs!