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Prof. Dr. S.V. Zagraevsky


Historical topography of Pre-Mongol Kideksha





The questions of historical topography of Pre-Mongol Kideksha are examined, it is shown that at the time of Jury Dolgoruky it was not a prince’s castle or a cloister, but a big city with the inner fortress. The plan of Kideksha’s fortress of 12th century is reconstructed.




The following text was translated from the Russian original by the computer program

and has not yet been edited.

So it can be used only for general introduction.



Kideksha is a village in The Suzdal district of the Vladimir region, in 5 km to the East from Suzdal centre. With pre-Mongolian times in Kideksha remained white-stone Church of Boris and Gleb, built in 1152 by Yuri Dolgoruky1. This Church was on the fortress2, which was confirmed by research A. D. Varganov, even in the middle of the twentieth century in Kideksha found in the gardens to the Northwest of Saint Boris and Gleb Church the remains of the shafts3. But the questions the status of this fortress and its outlines remain open.

About the history of pre-Mongol Sochi tells the message of historian of the XVIII century Anania Fedorov, recorded according to local old-timers: "In the place where now the village of Kideksha Church, near Toya of the Church was the court of the Great Princes Suzdalskij, suburban, and Prince The great Georgy Vsevolodovich of Washoe that is at the shore of the Nerl, Church ustroili a stone Cathedral, and a castle with strength to bring a signified place, but by a certain the phenomenon was rebuked, then forgive his undertaking, and arrange the Church prekrasno, and Preciado a stone Cathedral on the place where he was before inside the Kremlin city, and in the place where Hoth fortress city to arrange and collegiate Churchon the shore of the Nerl, staging of kaminia, ostasio from the structure of the Cathedral in the city The Suzdal Church, Church of the Holy martyrs Boris and Gleb and monastery on sogrady the dwelling of a monk, and Protva the place Kideksha, that is, abandoned, or unusable; (until here from the novel verbal)"4.

N. N. Voronin took this message of Ananias Fedorov (albeit with the caveat that the last probably confused of Yuri with Yuri Vsevolodovich5) and believed that Sochi was not a "full" city (with a permanent population, local government, trade, crafts, warriors, Posada, etc.), but only rustic yard Dolgoruky6.

Published in 2008 the monograph "a New study of architectural monuments of Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-reserve" the author has devoted a separate Chapter to questions of date and status the Church of Boris and Gleb in Kideksha7. In this study, was shown a number of internal contradictions in the position N. N. Voronin. For example, the researcher has adopted the message of Ananias, believing that instead of Yuri Vsevolodovich it was about Dolgoruky – but in this case would have had to take and the hypothesis, that Yuri Dolgoruky built the virgin Nativity Cathedral in Suzdal (this Ananias is told directly). But the researcher rightly objected to this hypothesis8.

The internal contradictions and inadequate information exists in the message of Ananias. There is a confusion with the names of the princes, and we may assume that Anania Fedorov still talking about Yuri Vsevolodovich and, accordingly, called him Boris and Gleb Church the Church is wrong. After all, the Prince in the message Fedorov called "the pious" – so Ananias could say about canonized by Yuri Vsevolodovich, but not about Dolgoruky. And indeed it is unlikely that a local historian of the eighteenth century mistook Yuri Vsevolodovich with Yury Vladimirovich.

Besides Ananias gave the name "Sochi" comes from the word "abandoned" (the place). But if, on Fedorov, the Prince built there a monastery, then this is the place in any case could not be "abandoned", it became "Holy". (The origin of the name Sochi we will discuss next).

And given the absurdity the survey, "local old-timers" in the eighteenth century, XII century (it's like that in our time to interview the indigenous inhabitants of Aleksandrova on the time of Ivan IV), we unequivocally reject the message Ananias Fedorov as a historical source.

In the monograph 2008 the author showed that Kideksha was "full" city (permanent population, local government, trade, crafts, warriors, Posada, etc.). This position was justified by the following considerations.

First, no other evidence that the pre-Mongol Kideksha was only fortified princely the residence, in addition to late and disavowed us of the message of Ananias Fedorov, not available.

Secondly, in Supralsky chronicle given another version on which the Prince built fortifications and the temple in Kideksha: "And CIDESCO Church would put Boris Mihalkovich the son of the brother Andreeva and Vsevoloda rash occurs, and of the city of Sochi the same Gorodets on the wolze for the home team"9. In relation to this chronicle reports N.N. Voronin rightly believed, that meant not Boris Mikhalkovich, and Boris Y. (son of Dolgoruky), who was buried in 1159 the Church of Boris and Gleb10. But such a combination in the various sources of information about chiterstve Yuri Dolgoruky and his son with a high degree of probability suggests that Kideksha was a lot of Titov and therefore "full" city.

Third, the "Power the book says:" And on the Retz on the Nerl river at Kideksha near the town Sajidali deliver. (Prince Yuri Dolgoruky – S. Z.) the stone Church in the name of the Holy martyrs Boris and Gleb, was inhabited by the Martyr saints of the total settlement, when thou in Kiev hogaku Boris of Rostov, Gleb of Murom from"11. Hardly travelling from different parts North-Eastern Russia, the princes met in the middle of the forest: about a meeting they probably agreed in advance, and, probably, a meeting was appointed in the city (so in 1147 agreed to meet in Moscow Yuri Dolgorukiy and Sviatoslav II of Kiev).

Fourthly, the word Kideksha is a Finno-Ugric origin and means "stony river" ("the kid" "rock", "CSA" – "river"; the last word is typical for names of small rivers of North-Eastern Russia – Iksha, Koloksha, Moksha, etc.). Accordingly, "Sochi" is translated as "heater", that is, there is hydronymic the motivation of the name of the toponym. It is typical for many ancient cities North-Eastern Russia (Moscow, Tver, Ruza, Mozhaysk, Kostroma, Vyazma, etc.)12.

Fifthly, Kideksha was to the East from Suzdal – from the hostile to Russia of the Volga Bulgarians. Accordingly, if Sochi was just a small fortified princely the residence of the Prince could get it in the "trap" in the event of a sudden the attack of the enemy. And the presence at the crossroads of important trade routes at the Nerl and The heater "full" (and, as we will see shortly, very big) city it is justified.

Sixthly, that the fortress in Kideksha was too great to only be a Prince castle, can be seen on the scheme proposed in the 1950-ies P. A. Rappoport13 (Il. 1). Unfortunately, the researcher did not displayed in this diagram, the Church of Boris and Gleb, what hindered the schema binding to the terrain. However, large-scale line, it follows that the perimeter of the fortifications of the Sochi depending on configuration their southern parts (not shown in the diagram) was about 700-800 meters For comparison it may be noted that in Dmitrov, Yaroslavl (Salisbury city) and Przemysl Moscow length of the fortifications was about1 km in Zvenigorod and Moscow (the fortress in 1156) is about 800 m14.


Western fence of the South wall of the Church of Boris and Gleb. View from the choir.


Il. 1. Scheme the fortress in Kideksha PA Rappaport.


In 2015, the author conducted research objectives which were initially only the schema binding to P. A. Rappoport to the terrain and at least a rough definition of the shape of the southern part fortress. But during the research it became clear that the pre-Mongol Kideksha not was limited to the area shown in this diagram. The true extent of Kideksha was much more: it was not "fortified princely castle" and not town and large city, comparable in scale with the largest cities in the pre-Mongol Russia and took the citadel.

Updated in 2015 and tied to the aerial photography of the area15 the plan of the fortress in Kideksha shown in Il. 2. Will comment on it.



Il. 2. Plan the fortress in Kideksha. The author's reconstruction.

The numbers on the plan identifies:

1 – the Church of Boris and Gleb;

2 – a surviving fragment of shaft the garden of the house ¹ 23 on street Old;

I – Detinets;

II – the Northern part of the fortress;

III – the southern part of the fortress;

IV – trade Posad;

V – a fortress on the site of the present Novoselki Nilskoj.

The frequency of hatching varies in depending on the degree produce hypotheses of the reconstructed fortifications.


Let's start with the territory I (here and below, Roman numerals below refer to Il. 2) adjacent to the Church of Boris and Gleb. This area had independent fortifications and was the citadel of Sochi, which is proved by the following provisions:

– on this place earlier construction of the Yuri Dolgoruky was located fortified settlement Dyakovo culture, who is now an archaeological monument of Federal significance VII century BC – III century BC. e., X–XII centuries16;

– this area is it is located about a meter above the surrounding terrain (108-109 m above the level 107-108 sea against the North (II) South and (III) the parts of the fortress) and at 12-14 m above the level of the Nerl;

– this the territory is extensive enough, its perimeter is almost300 man area of about7000 sq. mi.e. 70 acres. For comparison, we note that the perimeter of the fortifications of ancient Russian cities Mstislavl and Kleschina was about500 mthat is, these cities were not much more;

– this area with three sides splendidly fortified by nature – the cliff to the Nerl and the two ravines, and outdoor side is very short;

– excavation around Borisoglebskaya Church in XIX–XX centuries found the ruins of columns, balusters and plinth17, therefore, a high probability of being there in the pre-Mongolian time the Prince's Palace;

– clearly visible in our time the balance shaft with a height of about1 m in the garden of the house No. 23 on the street is the Old North-West of the fortified area around the Church. This shaft had a wooden constructii of18, that is was not Dyakovo, Russian buildings. So, after I fortified territory was erected, one – outer – line fortifications.

The direction of the external lines fortifications extrapolated on the basis of the direction of this preserved fragment of the shaft. To the East of it went to strengthen the Nerl along a small of the ravine, on the West – turning South at the outdoor side of the fortress. Accordingly, the shape of the Northern part of the outer line of the fortifications surrounding territory II, rekonstruiruet quite clearly. This shows part of the fortifications and the scheme of the P. A. Rappoport (see Il. 1).

But with respect to South part of the outer line of fortifications are much more complicated. P. A. Rappoport, after spending his scheme for the fortification line far enough to the South-West, then it turned sharply to the South-East. Where this line goes to the Nerl, on his scheme not shown. Likely to the ravine South of the Borisoglebskaya Church (this ravine, as we have shown above, was the southern boundary of the citadel). But in this case, it turns out, that the area around the citadel was not developed to the South – in the direction of the arrow of the Heater and Nerli, and to the North, as the outer line of fortifications, P. A. Rappaport,existed only to the North-West of the citadel.

But we in his reconstruction we assume that:

– the area around the citadel was settled, either uniformly or with priority to South direction – in an intersection of trade routes on the Nerl and Kamenka (as developed, for example, Moscow, originally located on the Borovitsky hill in the direction from the intersection of major trade routes to Moscow and Yauza: during the XII–XVI centuries the fortifications were expanded mainly in the direction of the Yauza);

– fortress in Kideksha was formed over many centuries (from Dyakovo village to a significant Prince of the city), therefore, she, like the vast majority ancient settlements, using natural boundaries, developed by nature, since it is possible to save on the construction shafts19.

And because South of the citadel Sochi there is another slope with a height of 7-10 m (along the modern highway from Suzdal, in 20-40 m South of the highway), we may assume that the southern part of the fortress (III) in the area was comparable with the Northern (II) and ended on this slope. In this case, the outer perimeter of the fortifications was 1.1–1.2 km, which is not much less of the pre-Mongol Suzdal (1,4 km).

Now we have to pay attention to the fact that the fortress on the site of modern Sochi was though close to the confluence of the Kamenka in the Nerl, but still a bit on the side – a distance of 300-400 m. In the monograph 2008 the author even admits that the pre-Mongolian time the heater fell into the Nerl North – under the slope along a modern highway, but then withdrew to the South, as the Klyazma river in the heart of Bogolyubov20. But studies 2015 showed the following:

no oxbow of Kamenka along the highway is not visible (unlike, for example, from oxbow lakes Klyazma under Bogolyubov);

– the area IV though plain, and 7-10 m below the level of the fortress, but still 2-3 m above and The Kamenka and the Nerl, and not limited to gentle slopes and steep cliffs.

Therefore, Kamenka flowing approximately in the same direction, that in ancient times.

And in this situation we must pay close attention to the other – the right – Bank of the Kamenka where directly near the confluence of the Kamenka in the Nerl is hill (107-109 m above sea level). It now houses the village Novosilka Nerlaska. According to archaeological studies in the 1980-ies21, in XI–XIII centuries, there was a large settlement, the approximate contours of which is shown at Il. 2 (V). This settlement, like the fortress in Kideksha, splendidly fortified by nature: from the North-East – 10-12-metre cliff to The Nerl, with the North-West is almost the same cliff to the heater, from the South-East – a deep ravine, and only from the South-West – floor side. The perimeter fortifications this settlement amounted to about 1.2–1.3 km, that is, was comparable to the fortress in Kideksha, and Suzdal and other ancient cities.

And since the area IV lies between the two FORTS, situated on the site of modern settlements points of Sochi and Novoselki, and directly adjacent to the crossroads shopping ways for Kamenka and the Nerl, it is likely that this area was located shopping Posad. This area is also well fortified by nature: from the North it protects the fortress in Kideksha, from the East cliff to the Nerl, to the South and partly the West cliff to the heater, and the outdoor side is very short. The perimeter of this Posada is estimated at 1.5–1.7 km.

This by the way, on the site of modern settlements of Sochi and Novoselki Nilskoj we see the pre-Mongol city of Sochi, which consisted of two towers with shopping a settlement between them, the Northern fortress had a citadel with white stone temple. This city was very large: its outer perimeter was 3.5–4 km, which is comparable to the largest Russian cities – Kiev (perimeter fortifications city of Yaroslav – about3,5 km) and Smolensk (city of Rostislav mstislavovitch, too about3.5 km). More was only the pre-Mongol Vladimir (the outer perimeter of the fortifications – about 5.5 km22). The perimeter of the fortress of Pereyaslavl-Russian (now Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky) was much less – about1.5 kmOld Ryazan (now Pereslavl-Ryazan) – about1,4 km.

We should not forget about what the excavations of 1980-ies were discovered two settlements of XI–XIII centuries – the lowland left Bank of the Nerl, 500 and600 m from novosilky23. Were they fortified or not, they played the role of the Eastern outposts of the city of Sochi, or at the attack of the enemy to be destroyed – we do not know. But the scale is traced us pre-Mongol Sochi thanks to them look even more impressive.

During what time there was a city of Sochi? In accordance with the above mentioned archaeological Dating settlements on the site of modern settlements of Sochi and Novoselki, we believe the following:

– before the Russian colonization Zalesie the city of Sochi there was only Dyakovo settlement I;

– since the beginning of Russian colonization in the end of X century the settlement was established V, controlled the way in Kamenka the oldest and, probably, not long obey the Russian town of Suzdal (more late terms, the settlement of V was the "key" to Suzdal). Most likely, in this settlement, called Sochi the name of a river (on schedule the motivation of this toponym, see above), in the early eleventh century met Boris and Gleb;

– the former Dyakovo settlement I was a bit in the side from the Heater, but the Russians are also gradually settled, and in the first half XII century it used Yuri Dolgoruky for the construction of your yard (Vladimir the yard Dolgoruky was also out of town24);

– around the princely court settled nobles and the richest merchants, and by the end of approximately half a century of the management Board Yuri arose a need to strengthen and the surrounding area (in a similar way developed all of the ancient fortress). Respectively, were constructed strengthen the parts of the fortress II and III, and the Prince's court turned into a citadel;

– In 1152 in the citadel was built the Church of Boris and Gleb. Note that the fact that the construction in Kideksha the white stone Church emphasizes the importance of this city as Dolgoruky built such temples only in the largest cities of the Principality (except for Sochi – only in Vladimir, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Yuriev-Polsky and Suzdal. Rostov even this temple is not received);

trading Posad IV between the fortress in Kideksha and the settler may have formed during this time.

It is theoretically possible, what part of the fortress II and III were built after the death of Dolgoruky. But this option is unlikely, as it implies the continuation of the development of Sochi when Andrei Bogolyubsky, Vsevolod the Big Nest and his descendants. But in the chronicle of the princes of Kideksha is not mentioned, which is unusual for a large and the developing city.

We believe that, after the death of Dolgoruky Sochi began to decline for the following reasons:

– Suzdal was completely colonized, and lost the need to control the trade route to it Kamenka;

– Andrey founded in the mouth of the Nerl Bogolyubovo city25, assuming functions of Sochi on control over the trade route in the Nerl;

– Kideksha had in the lot Boris Yuryevich that in terms of policy to centralize Bogolyubsky did not contribute to its growth;

– in the immediate proximity to each other were four large cities – Vladimir, Suzdal, Bogolyubovo and Kideksha, and nearby was located and Yuriev-Polsky. So much weak cities agriculture of the time "to feed" could not.

After the Mongol ruin the26 Sochi have not been able to reborn as a city. Despite the fact that in 1239 the Church of Boris and Gleb was renovated and consecrated27, "List of Russian cities far and neighbors" (XIV–XV century) Kideksha not listed28. As rightly believed N.N. Voronin, also from the XIV century, deserted in Kideksha was the monastery (attached to Nizhny Novgorod Pechersky)29, and the former main city Church Boris and Gleb became his Cathedral.

In conclusion, we note that to confirm or refute stated hypotheses and to define the boundaries the pre-Mongol city of Sochi can only large-scale archaeological research, Kideksha which still did not wait (on the necessity of such studies as about the "urgent task," wrote N. N. Voronin30). Above the ravines and cliffs to rivers, most likely, trees were not, the fortifications consisted only of wooden walls or Palisades, to find the remains which are almost impossible (according to archaeological studies A. A. Yushko, this situation took place in almost all ancient FORTS31). But with outdoor side of the pre-Mongol city of Sochi to find traces of their wooden shafts and Construcci theoretically possible.




1. A detailed rationale for the Dating of the Church of Boris and Gleb in Kideksha, and other white stone temples of Yuri Dolgoruky see: Zagraevsky S. V.  New research of architectural monuments of Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-reserve. M., 2008. GL. 4.

2. In the article "on old Russian military monasteries and temples" (Zagraevsky S. V. To a question about old Russian military monasteries and temples. In the book: Materials of the XVIII international studies conference (April 19,2013.). Vladimir, 2014) the author showed that not a single stone Church in the pre-Mongolian time was not outside the fortifications.

3. Voronin N. N. The Architecture Of North-Eastern Russia. Vol.1. M., 1961. P. 68.

4. Anania Fedorov. Historical collection about the blessed city of Suzdal. In the book: Annals of the Society of history and antiquities Russian", vol.22. M., 1855.

5. Voronin N. N. Decree. CIT. p. 67.

6. Ibid. P. 68.

7. Zagraevsky SV  New research of monuments of architecture... GL. 4.

8. Voronin N. N. Decree. CIT. P. 63-66. The author of this article it was also shown that in 1148 any of the Cathedral in Suzdal was built not (Zagraevsky S. V. About the hypothetical "intermediate" building of the Cathedral Of the Nativity of the virgin Mary in Suzdal in 1148 and the original view of Suzdal temple of 1222-1225. In the book: Materials of inter-regional studies the conference (28 April2008.). Vladimir, 2009. S. 218-235). 

Note that, apparently, in XVI–XVIIIcenturies the legend that the Church and the fortress in Kideksha built not Yuri Dolgoruky, and Yuri Vsevolodovich, was fairly common. B. M. Pudalov (B. M. pudalov Initial period of the history of the oldest Russian cities in Middle In the Volga region. Nizhny Novgorod, 2003. P. 14) cited the text of the collection of the last third of the The XVI century, rising to the Novgorod chronicle: "Toi, GSE with Kostyantin brother was beating her. On the one Baht king priide and STA at the city Retz. And SideShow built the Church of Boris and Gleb, the son of the brother Andreeva Vsevoloda, and SIPA cityKideksha, the same Toi Gorodets on the wolze for the home team" (. RNB, Coll.Pogodin, No. 1596 (1570-1580-e gg.), L. 174 vol.).

9. PSRL 17:2.

10. Voronin N. N. Decree. CIT. p. 68.

11. PSRL 21:192.

12. Most likely, in the pre-Mongolian time the river, a tributary of the Nerl in Sochi, it is not called a Heater, and Sochi, but then the name was passed on to the Slavic way that could be related to the fact that on this river in 1222-1225 carried stone for the construction of Suzdal Cathedral of the Nativity of the virgin.

13. This scheme was given in the book.: Voronin N. N. Decree. CIT. p. 102.

14. Kuchkin V. A. Moscow in XII – first half XIII century. In Sib.: Domestic history. 1996. No. 1. P.6.

15. Hereinafter, when determining the distances and heights above sea level used in the computer program Google Earth.

16. Cm. The Internet site

17. Voronin N. N. Decree. CIT. p. 69, 106.

18. Wooden shaft constructii in the gardens of the house No. 23 Old on the street were open excavations A. D. D. (see: Voronin N. N. Decree. Op. p. 68).

19. Yushko A. A. Moscow land IX–XIV centuries. M., 1991. S. 97.

20. Zagraevsky SV  New research of monuments of architecture... GL. 4.

21. Cm. The Internet site,

22. Refined calculation of the length of Vladimir fortifications see: Zagraevsky S. V. Historical topography of pre-Mongol Vladimir. M., 2015. Claim 1.

23. Cm. The Internet site

24. Zagraevsky S. V. Historical topography the pre-Mongol Vladimir. M., 2015. Claim 4.

25. That Bogolyubovo when Andrey was largest city and capital of northeastern Rus, see: Zagraevsky S. V. To a question about the capitals of North-Eastern Russia: Pereslavl-Zalesskiy when Yuri Dolgoruky, Bogolyubovo by Andrei Bogolyubsky. The article is on the web-site

26. There is a legend that Kideksha was the Kitezh, which was searched for and could not find troops of Batu Khan. But it does not proved, except for some similarity of the names. That Kideksha was ruined the Mongols, wrote N. N. Voronin (Voronin N. N. Decree. Op. p. 71), and is logical: if Kideksha to 1237, was still an important city, it is likely shared the fate of other Russian cities, i.e. was ruined by the Tatars. But if she had already went into decline, its fate had an additional negative impact of the General deterioration of the economic situation inthe time of the Mongol yoke.

27. Voronin N. N. Decree. CIT. p. 72.

28. Tikhomirov, M. N. The list of Russian cities far and others. In the book: Historical notes. No.40. M., 1952. S. 214-259.

29. Voronin N. N. Decree. CIT. p. 72.

30. Ibid. 69. In 2011 architectural-archaeological group of Suzdal expedition of the Institute of archaeology RAS conducted a security study, but only inside the Borisoglebskaya Church (Sedov VL.In. Excavations in the Church of Boris and Gleb in Kideksha. The Internet site http://www.archaeolog.EN,2012 g.)

31. Yushko A. A. Decree. CIT. p. 97.


Moscow, 2016.


© Sergey Zagraevsky

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