a city and center of Mstislavl’ Raion, Mogilev Oblast, Byelorussian SSR. It is situated on the Vikhra River (Dnieper Basin), 19 km from the Khodosy railroad station on the Orsha-Krichev line. The city has a distillery, a creamery, a bakery, and a flax-processing mill.
Mstislavl’ is the oldest Russian city of Smolensk Land. It is mentioned in the chronicle for the year 1156. In 1180 it became the center of a principality. Situated between the Moscow State and Lithuania, Mstislavl’ was constantly attacked from both sides.
There are two archaeological sites in Mstislavl’ (excavated by L. V. Alekseev from 1959 to 1964 and in 1968 and 1969): Devich’ia gora and Zamkovaia gora. Devich’ia gora, a gorodishche (site of a fortified town), belongs to the Early Iron Age (on the threshold of the Common Era); Zamkovaia gora consists of the ruins of a detinets (inner fortification) of a medieval city. Excavations of the latter site have revealed the remains of wooden structures, a 13th- or 14th-century street with a seven-layer pavement, and numerous objects reflecting the economy and culture of medieval Mstislavl’ (including a glass goblet with an Arabic inscription, intricately carved plates for quivers, crosses, small icons, and tiles).
Noteworthy architectural monuments in Mstislavl’ include a Jesuit monastery with a Roman Catholic church and a collegium (17th and 18th centuries), a Carmelite church—with mural paintings (1654), the Troitskaia Church (19th century), and the Alexander Nevsky Church (19th century).