Drutsk


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Drutsk

 

(also Driutesk, Drutesk), an Old Russian princely city in Polotsk Land; the center of the Principality of Drutsk.

Drutsk is first mentioned in the chronicles under the year 1092. It arose during the 11th century in the upper reaches of the Drut’ River (its ruins are in Tolochin Raion, Vitebsk Oblast, Byelorussian SSR) at the beginning of a portage of one of the branches of the Dvina route “from the Varangians to the Greeks.” During the 12th century Drutsk became a part of the Principality of Polotsk; at the end of the 12th century it was taken by Smolensk, and around the middle of the 13th century by the Grand Principality of Lithuania. The city existed into the 15th century.

Remnants of the fortified citadel have been preserved, as well as the city’s outskirts, which were enclosed by ramparts and moats, and traces of an unfortified suburb and a necropolis of burial mounds. Excavations in 1956-62, 1965, and 1967 have demonstrated that Drutsk came into being at the beginning of the 11th century. It flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries (two wooden-paved, intersecting streets were discovered along with many wooden structures). The city perished during the late 14th or early 15th century, probably from fire during a siege. The sections occupied by the prince and by craftsmen, as well as the city square, were discovered in the citadel. Numerous finds testify to the development of crafts, trade, and writing.

REFERENCE

Alekseev, L. V. Polotskaia zemlia (Ocherki istorii Severnoi Belorussii). IX-XIII vv. Moscow, 1966.