Murom is the administrative center of the Murom district, the third largest city in the Vladimir region with a population of 110 070 people (2016). In is located on the left bank of the Oka River, 137 km southeast of Vladimir.


Murom is the oldest city on the Vladimir land. In the "Tale of Bygone Years" the first mention of Murom as a "large settlement on the Oka" refers to 862. This date is considered to be the "year of birth" of the city.

In the middle of the 9th century, the lower Oka was heavily populated by the Mordvinian tribes, among which tribe of the Muroma stood out (hence the name of the future city). Their settlement here was already in the 6th-7th centuries. The Muroma led a sedentary life, traded in hunting and fishing, engaged in primitive crafts, trade. In the 9th century, the Muroma were dependent on the Slavs, who took root here by the end of the 10th century, with the expansion and strengthening of Kievan Rus. Gradually, the Slavs drove the Muroma out of the settlement they founded and turned it into an outpost of their further offensive on the lands of the Mordvinian tribes.

At the beginning of the 11th century, Murom was already one of the significant cities on the outskirts of the Russian state. The Kiev prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich (the Baptist) gave Murom as an inheritance to his son Gleb, and another city of the north-eastern outskirts of his principality, Rostov, to his son Boris. The chronicle did not retain details of Gleb's rule in Murom. But the work of the 16th century "The Tale of the Establishment of Christianity in Murom," which is considered a kind of chronicle of the history of Murom since ancient times, left interesting information about Gleb's attempt to baptize the Murom’s pagans – the Muroma and the Slavs – and his exile. The prince settled two miles from Murom, where he founded the first church in these places in the name of the Savior. At this place the Savior Transfiguration (Spassky) Monastery is situated today.

In 1015 Gleb and his brother Boris of Rostov were insidiously killed by order of their elder brother Svyatopolk the Cursed. So they became the first Russian holy wonderworkers. After the death of Gleb, Murom passes to Yaroslav the Wise, at whom the city became the place of exile of disgraced boyars.

In the middle of the 11th century (about 1054), Murom became the possession of the princes of Chernigov, who since 1076 made it the center of the Murom-Ryazan part of their vast lands. Having risen to the reign of Murom from 1097, Yaroslav- Constantine (the son of Svyatoslav of Chernigov) with threats and persuasion  baptized the city dwellers in the cold waters of the Oka, like Prince Vladimir, who baptized inhabitants of Kiev in the Dnieper.

From the middle of 12th century, Murom princes fell into dependence on stronger Vladimir-Suzdal princes, especially Andrei Bogolyubsky and his heirs. After the Tatar ruinous invasions in 1239, 1281, 1288, Murom was devastated for a long time, and at the end of the 14th century was annexed to the Moscow Principality. Until the middle of the 16th century, there is practically no mention of Murom in annals. Monuments of material culture of the most ancient period were not preserved in the city at all.

But the information about Murom remained in the epic. The city was surrounded by dense forests. According to folk traditions, after the adoption of Christianity in Rus, the supreme Kiev priest of Perun – Bogomil, took refuge in the Murom forests, became the leader of bandits and was known in Russian epic as the  Nightingale the Robber who killed travelers with his menacing whistle. The folk tradition connects with Murom the favorite hero, the mighty warrior, peasant son Ilya, who faithfully served the Kiev prince Vladimir and killed the formidable Nightingale the Robber. True, historians of ancient Russian literature call the real home of Ilya the town of Moroviysk in the Chernigov princedom. He became Ilya Muromets only in the epics, since the 16th century, when the village of Karacharovo is mentioned, which actually exists within the limits of Murom nowadays, and is considered today the birthplace of the epic hero.

Murom legends and written sources of the 16th century, connect the beginning of stone construction in Murom with the name of Ivan IV the Terrible. Murom was the last city on the way of Tsar Ivan Vasilievich to Kazan in 1552. Here, after the inspection, the troops, including the Murom squad, were to cross the Oka and go to Sviyazhsk, where they would connect with troops marching through Ryazan and Meshchera. The tsar served a moleben of the Murom saints with a promise to build several temples in the city in case of victory over Kazan. Really, in the period of 1555-1565, the royal masters built four stone churches in Murom: the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin over the relics of Saints Peter and Fevronia, the Annunciation Cathedral with a chapel over the relics of Constantine and his sons, the Transfiguration Cathedral in the Spassky Monastery and the Church of Kozma and Demyan on the bank of the Oka River.

Since the 17th century, Murom became an important handicraft center. There were skilled craftsmen for dressing of leather, shoemakers, blacksmiths, jewelers, tailors and other craftsmen. Since that time, the glory of the Murom kalaches began.

The manufacture of kalach in Murom arose two centuries earlier, on the basis of contacts between the Muromlians and Tatar bakers. The word "kalach" means appetizing (from Tatar "kalach", that is literally – "be hungry!", which expressed a high degree of appetite). The consolidation of the production of kalaches in Murom spoke of the commercial importance of the city in the Middle Ages. According to legend, they treated Catherine II with kalaches, when she traveled to Murom, and later – treated Pavel I. Imperial persons spoke highly of the taste of Murom kalaches made according to a special recipe. In 2012 in Murom for the first time in Russia was installed the monument of kalach, heated from inside (in the center of the city, next to the market).

In 1778, Murom, as part of the provincial reform of Catherine II, received the status of the county seat of the Vladimir governorship (since 1796 - the province). In 1781, it was given a coat of arms on which the Vladimir Lion was depicted in the upper part, and in the lower part there were three large Murom kalaches that glorified the city and once were well received by the Empress. Since 2004, the historical coat of arms is used as the official symbol of the Murom district.

The architectural appearance of the historical part of Murom was formed in the 19th - early 20th centuries, since large-scale fires in 1792 and 1805 destroyed virtually all old wooden buildings. Anew the city was built up according to the general plan developed by I.M. Lem and approved by the Empress Catherine II as far back as 1788. The original fan arrangement of the streets of the Old Russian city was replaced by a rigid rectangular grid of quarters. With all the schematism of the plan, urban planners still managed to build in it the existing town-forming values ​​– monasteries and churches. These distinct outlines of the streets of the old Murom were largely preserved until the end of the 20th century, making, strangely enough, its peculiarity and difference from other cities of the region. Unfortunately, in the 1980s, some streets in the center of Murom were blocked by multi- entrance houses, which violated the previously formed order.

In 1863, the first in the Vladimir province water pipe was built in Murom with a water tower, 14 wells and several water columns where it was possible to water horses. The high brick tower, combining the functions of a water tower and a fire tower, was decorated at the top with intricate turrets (today it is not preserved) and was topped by a small superstructure with a spire. It produced the impression of not an economic structure, but an architectural monument, functioned until the 1930s, and today it is a showplace of the city. The construction of the tower and the laying of water pipes were carried out at the expense of the city's head A.V. Ermakov (1862-1869), the rich merchant and philanthropist. It is noteworthy that Ermakov’s main condition of  transferring the water pipe to urban use was its full free of charge for the citizens. In addition, the childless couple of Yeramkovs at their own expense opened a children's shelter, a hospital, a library and a theater in Murom. On the wall of the water tower today is a memorial plaque to the honorary citizen of Murom A.V. Ermakov, and in 2012 a monument to him was erected near the tower.

In 1880, a railway was run through Murom – from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan. In 1912 the construction of a large railway artery was completed by the opening of the bridge across the Oka. This bridge is still functioning today. At the same time,  according to the project of architect A.V. Shchusev a railway station was built  in the modern style, with elements stylized under the Moscow Kremlin’s wall.

In the 19th century, industry began to develop in Murom, iron foundries and mechanical plants, flax and spinning mills began to operate. In 1916, railroad repair workshops were built, which in 1928 were renamed to the Murom Switch Plant.

In 1919 the first Murom power station was built in a wooden room in the city garden, serving to illuminate the adjacent streets. Built in 1923-1926, the power station at the factory "Red Spinner" ("Krasny pryadilshchik") supplied electricity not only to the factory, but also to the city. In the years 1926-1930, the city was supplied with electricity from the CHPP of the locomotive repair plant.

In the 1930s, many temples in Murom were closed, ruined and about a dozen churches were destroyed. Among them was the cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin dominated in the city building, built on the orders of Ivan the Terrible in the middle of the 16th century. Fortunately, many unique icons and values ​​from destroyed and closed churches were preserved in the Murom Historical and Art Museum (opened in 1919).

During the Great Patriotic War, most of the Murom enterprises were transferred to military races. For example, a plywood mill produced air plywood, as well as plywood for gun, rifle and automatic lodges. At the iron foundry and machine building enterprises were made corps of light tanks and self-propelled artillery installations, and even towers for the T-34 tank. They produced shells, mines, detonators, details of rockets for Katyusha. The Murom railway workers at their own expense built the armored train "Ilya Muromets" in 1942, the monument to which (in fact, its model) was installed in 1971 near the park of the 50th anniversary of Soviet power. Murom gave the country 24 Heroes of the Soviet Union. Among them – the famous pilot N.F. Gastello, to whom in 1964 was installed a monument on the station square.

In the second half of the 20th century the industry rapidly developed in Murom, old plants expanded and new ones were built. In the post-Soviet period, Murom, like other cities in the region, experienced economic difficulties, bankruptcy of enterprises, a drop in production. Only by the 2000s the situation got better.


Today Murom is the largest industrial center of the Vladimir region. The leading place in the economy of the city is occupied by machine building: OJSC "Muromteplovoz" (former Locomotive Building Plant named after Dzerzhinsky) produces diesel locomotives and electric locomotives on the orders of Russian Railways, as well as defense products; OJSC "Murom Switch Plant" – the leading enterprise in Russia for the production of switch products for rail transport; ZAO "Oka-cold" (former "Murommashzavod" named after S. Ordzhonikidze) produces famous refrigerators "Oka", already of the third generation; CJSC "MuromEnergoMash" is a modern plant for the production of polyhedral supports for power transmission lines and lighting; LLC "Murom Pipeline Accessories Plant" is also one of the leading manufacturers of this type of products in Russia. The production of radio equipment and instrument making are exclusively significant branches of the Murom industry: OJSC "Murom Radio Plant" develops and manufactures loudspeaker equipment, broadcast and notification equipment (including horn loudspeakers for stadiums, the radio retriever "Retro-Muromets"); OJSC "Murom Plant of Electrical Equipment and Radio Apparatus" produces operational communication and signaling systems for sea and river vessels, nuclear and thermal power stations, subways; OJSC "Murom Devices Building Plant" is one of the main Russian enterprises specializing in the production of pyrotechnic devices for space complexes and defense, rescue and signaling facilities. The woodworking and pulp and paper industry in Murom is represented by CJSC "Murom" (formerly the Murom Plywood Plant), which produces plywood, chipboard, furniture; LLC "NicholPakImperial", which produces roofing cardboard of various types, etc.

Murom as a tourist center

Until 2010, Murom had the status of a historical settlement. Today the city is extremely interesting for tourists, thanks to a large number of historical and  architectural monuments: in the southern part of the city – the Spassky Monastery (founded in the 11th century) with the monumental Spaso-Transfiguration Cathedral (16th century); near the monastery on the bank of the Oka – the church of Kozma and Demian (1565); in the center of the city – the ensemble of the Trinity Monastery in the "patterned style" of the 17th century; next to it – the Annunciation Monastery of the16th century; the buildings of the Resurrection Monastery – the five-domed Resurrection Church (1658) with a covered bypass gallery and a porch, a small one-headed  Vvedensky Church (1659) with a tent bell tower (second half of the 17th century); on the edge of the coastal cliff  –  the  church of St. Nicholas of Naberezhny (1717) with a refectory and bell tower, etc.

The names and activities of many Orthodox saints are intimately connected with Murom: the great martyrs princes Boris and Gleb; princes Constantine, Michael and Fedor, baptized the inhabitants of the city; the Russian hero Ilya Muromets; patrons of marriage and family, princes Peter and Fevronia, in honor of whom since 2008 July 8 in Murom celebrates the Day of Family, Love and Fidelity. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to worship the relics of these saints preserved in the temples of Murom.

Among the sights of the city – a monument to Ilya Muromets (sculptor V.M. Klykov), established in 1999 in a city park on a viewing platform, on the high bank of the Oka; the first in Russia monument of the Murom Saints Peter and Fevronia (sculptor N. Scherbakov), established on July 8, 2008 near the Murom Registry Office; a new monument to Peter and Fevronia, established in 2012 on the Peasant Square near the walls of  Holy Trinity and Annunciation monasteries; a monument to V.K. Zvorykin, the "father of television", installed in 2013 near the walls of his former home, where today the Murom Historical and Art Museum is located; cable-stayed bridge across the Oka River (length 1400 m, width 15 m), opened in 2012 by President Vladimir V. Putin, which has no analogues in Russia according to the distance between three cable-stayed supports (more than 230 m).

Famous people

Many famous people were born and worked on the land of Murom: academician I.M. Gubkin (1871-1939), the founder of Soviet oil geology; VC. Zvorykin (1889-1982), Russian inventor in the field of television; I.S. Kulikov (1875-1941), Russian artist, an academician of painting, a disciple of I.E. Repin; K.N. Ryabinin (1877-1955), Russian doctor, researcher of Tibetan medicine; A.A. Prokurorov (1964-2008), Soviet and Russian skier, Olympic champion, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, Honorary citizen of Vladimir and others.

In the 1970s, feature films were shot in Murom – " There is no ford in the fire" and "Beginning" by G.A. Panfilov, "Ascent" by L.E. Shepitko, in 2009 – "A Man from the Boulevard of the Capuchin" by A.I. Surikova and others.

Author: V. Korolkova