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History of the town

Kaluga was mentioned for the first time in the official document of the Lithuanian prince Olgerd in 1371. This year is considered to be the year of foundation of the town. In 1389 Kaluga became a part of Moscow principality. Kaluga used to be an outpost of Moscow, a reliable barrier against foreign raids from the South and the West.

In 1719 Kaluga became the centre of Kaluga province amounting to Moscow government. On December, 15th 1775 empress Ekaterina the Great visited Kaluga. As a result of it a region ruled by a governor was set up and Kaluga government was established.

In 1777 the emblems of Kaluga and the towns of the region ruled by the governor were established.

At the same time some educational and religious institutions, Kaluga Drama theatre were opened. Virtually, all extant architectural historical buildings in Kaluga were built according to «a regular city plan» personally approved by Ekaterina the Great.

Being situated at the crossroads of land and water ways, Kaluga reached its full power in XVIII – XIX centuries and became a large industrial and trade centre. It worked with Moscow and St.Petersburg, Volga region and Ukraine, foreign countries, such as England, Persia, China, Turkey and Holland.

In the second quarter of the 19th century the population of Kaluga was bigger than the population of such a well-known commercial centre of Russia as Nizhniy Novgorod. But when the river navigation along the Oka river ended and Sizran-Vyazma railway was constructed (1874) Kaluga found itself some distance away from the ways to the south and west harbors and became a country town. In 1914 there were about 56 thousand people in Kaluga. In early 1940-ties – about 90 thousand. At present moment the regional center’s population is 341,3 thousand people.

Rapid growth of industry began in the Soviet era. Many leaders of Russian engineering industry began to work, producing heavy machinery to satisfy needs of the Army, the Navy and the Soviet Space Program.

When on the 5th of July 1944 Kaluga region was formed, Kaluga became its administrative centre with developed industrial potential and agriculture.

In the 20th century our city became famous because of its first Honorary citizen Konstantin Tsiolkovsky – an outstanding Russian scientist, founder of scientific theory of interplanetary flights.

He lived in Kaluga since February 1892 till his death on the 19th of September 1935.

In Kaluga there are many places associated with his life, pedagogical, scientific and public work. In 1961 the first Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin laid a symbolic stone into the foundation of the Museum of Cosmonautics named after Tsiolkovsky. It was opened in 1967 and became one of the three museums of such kind in the world.