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a city and administrative center of Tarusa Raion, Kaluga Oblast, RSFSR. Landing on the left bank of the Oka River 36 km above Serpukhov, with which it is linked by bus and steamboat services. Located 76 km northeast of Kaluga.
The earliest mentions of Tarusa date from 1246. From the late 13th century it was the center of an independent principality, but by the end of the 14th century it had become part of Moscow Principality. From the 15th to the 17th century it guarded the southern approaches to Moscow, from 1708 it was part of Moscow Province, and from 1776 it was the district capital of the Kaluga Namestnichestvo (Vicegerency; from 1796, Kaluga Province). Soviet power was established on Dec. 27, 1917. From 1937, Tarusa was a raion administrative center in Tula Oblast, and from 1944, a raion administrative center in Kaluga Oblast. From Oct. 24 to Dec. 19, 1941, it was occupied by fascist German troops.
Tarusa is the site of the Khudozhestvennaia Vyshivka Factory, successor of the Tarusa Artel of Embroideresses, founded in 1924. The factory carries on the traditions of Kaluga embroidery. Tarusa also has an experimental factory of the Scientific Research Institute of Art Industry.
The artist V. E. Borisov-Musatov, the crystallographer G. V. Vul’f, the writer K. G. Paustovskii, and the sculptor V. A. Vatagin all lived in Tarusa for many years and are buried there. The house of V. D. Polenov is located nearby and is now a museum. The picturesqueness of the city and its environs has attracted many well-known artists, including N. P. Krymov, A. V. Grigor’-ev, and V. N. Baksheev. There is a picture gallery in the city.