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The Staraya Russa Branch
The city of Staraya Russa is one of the oldest in Russia. It is the site of annual archaeological excavations which bring to light a lot of materials both interesting and useful, including birch-bark letters. The remaining constructions of the Spasso-Preobrazhensky monastery, founded in 1192, also speak of the city's ancient past.
The more recent history of the city is no less interesting. It is connected with the name of Peter I, who established a hospital for wounded soldiers in the place of healing hot wells and mineral springs. Thus the great Russian tsar lay a foundation for the famous resort, which later made the life of the local people much more exciting for in those days at least during the summer months the city was crowded with visitors from St. Petersburg, Moscow and other cities. Many prominent Russian actors and actresses stayed here, and M. Savina, V. Komissarzhevskaya and M. Andreeva performed in the local theater.
The old and modern life of the city is demonstrated in an exposition, open in the Transfiguration Cathedral (12th century). Next to it, the Sretenie (Feast of Purification) Church (16th century) which is part of the monastery complex, houses an exhibition of works by local artists. The core of this collection is based on works by prominent Soviet artists V. Svaroga and N. Tomsky.
The heroic history of Staraya Russa during the days of World War II -- the guerrilla war, the liberation of the city from the German occupation -- is revealed in a small but vivid exposition of the northwestern front, based purely on original items.
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