The merchants’ rows in Mstislavl

The merchants’ rows in Mstislavl


Architecture, Industrial buildings

Mstislavl has been a well-known and large town since ancient times. In 1135, it was founded by the Prince of Smolensk Rostislav Mstislavich, he called the new settlement after his father Mstislav the Great.

In 1359, Prince Algirdas seized and joined the town to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Here begins the history of the Mstislavl Principality. In the first half of the XVI century, the town was a royal residence – it belonged to Sigismund II Augustus. In 1634, the town received the Magdeburg law, and at the time that provided not only the right of self-governance but also the opportunity to expand trade. The king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth expected more profit from the Mstislavl land; and there were opened granaries for bread, shops, butcher’s stalls and other establishments.

If you go along a wide straight road towards the town center, you will come across the merchants’ rows

There was a market in the center of the town since the middle ages to the XIX century. Many overseas strings of carts passed through Mstislavl from Mogilev. Part of the goods was sold there, and the rest was carried to Moscow and Smolensk. Turkish velvet of various colors and embroideries, satin, and even Tatar saffiano leather boots for women of fashion were brought in Mstislavl. Amongst food there were, for example, Hungarian, French and German wine, the Germans also carried there ginger and salt.

The market day is an event in the town

The market square was crowded and noisy. The stalls with goods look particularly beautiful and rich. People went to the market not only to buy anything but also to see and to be seen, to learn the news. And in the meantime, you could to stop at some food or book stall to buy something.

Merchants’ rows were built in the XX century on the site of the former unorganized market of the town. They presented small one-storey houses. The buy and sale became more active in Mstislavl. In those days, townsmen were not spoiled by convenience stores and shopping complexes. Besides, there was no railway line in Mstislavl, but people needed to buy textiles for clothing, some household utensils and, of course, products. So there were regularly arranged large fairs. In Mstislavl, they were held 4 times a year, mostly on Orthodox holidays. The merchants’ rows were crowded both with merchants with goods and buyers those days.

They say that it was possible to buy anything you like at the Mstislavl market

During the excavations, archaeologists found in the town Caucasian weapons, coins from the Arab countries. This suggests that the town attracted traders not only from neighboring countries but almost from all over the world. People used Mstislavl measures in Pskov and Smolensk before the First World War: Mstislavl sagene and elbow, Mstislavl barrel, pound.

The merchants’ rows in Mstislavl still function as intended

Residents of Mstislavl still come to the center of the town for shopping. There is no longer such a large-scale market as before, but pink and white houses are occupied by small shops, store units of large retail chains. The merchants’ rows are recognized as a monument of architecture and adorn Mstislavl; thanks to their quaint appearance and historical past, they dilute the modern urban landscape. By the way, a building the district Executive Committee and a monument to Pyotr Mstislavets are very near.

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