Legend of the Town of Kitezh

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Legend of the Town of Kitezh


a cycle of traditional tales about a town that supposedly sank into Lake Svetloiar (in present-day Voskresensk Raion, Gorky Oblast) and thus escaped destruction by the Tatars.

The name “Kitezh” derives from the town of Kideksha (now a village 4 km from Suzdal’), which was laid waste by the Tatars in 1237. According to tradition, in calm weather the ringing of bells may be heard, and the buildings of the sunken town may be seen at the bottom of the lake. One of Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas, The Tale of the Invisible Town of Kitezh and the Maid Fevroniia (1907), was based on this legend and the Old Russian tale of Petr and Fevroniia.


Komarovich, V. L. Kitezhskaia legenda: Opyt izucheniia mestnykh legend. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Accounts of the legend of the town of Kitezh preserved in chronicles are given in an appendix.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.