Pokrov is a town in the Petushky municipality of the Vladimir region with a population of 17 519 people (2016). The city is located 15 km from the border with the Moscow region and 82 km west of Vladimir. Pokrov occupies a favorable position on the tourist route "Golden Ring of Russia". The federal highway M-7 "Volga" passes through the town.


The first written mentions of Pokrov belong to 1506 and are associated with the Anthony hermitage, a monastery that was in this area. Today, only the Church of the Intercession (the 17th century) remained from the original monastery, although it was repeatedly reconstructed. Since in the 1630s the Antony monastery became patriarchal, the settlement adjacent to it was also named the Patriarchal village of Pokrovskoye. At the beginning of the 18thcentury, Antony hermitage, as a small monastery, was closed (in accordance with the decree of Peter I of 1701 on the abolition or unification of small monasteries), and its monks founded the island monastery of the Holy Introduction hermitage.

The village of Pokrovskoe continued to exist and was registered in descriptions as a large state village. In 1778, by decree of Catherine II, it was transformed into the town  of  Pokrov of the Vladimir province. In the new town status, Pokrov acquired its coat of arms, which depicts under the Vladimir lion the hands holding a golden cover ("pokrov" – in Russian), as a symbol of the very name of the town.

The town served as a convenient transfer point on the large Moscow-Vladimir road. There were many inns in Pokrov, it was famous for coachmen and blacksmiths, serving travelers. Through Pokrov passed at different times, and even stopped in it many famous writers and public figures of Russia: A.N. Radishchev, A.S. Pushkin, A.S. Griboedov, A.I. Herzen, etc. The location of the city contributed to the development of trade and the growth of the merchant class (almost to 20% of the population). By the end of the 19th century, there were several factories in Pokrov, mainly weaving and food directions.

In 1921, the Pokrov county was disbanded, and in the next decades the leapfrog with the status of the town began. Pokrov was first transmitted to the Kirzhach (1921) and Aleksandrov districts (1924), then to the Petushky district (1929). In 1945  Pokrov became the center of the Pokrov District, and in 1960 it was again transferred to the Petushky District, where it is still located.


In the 1960s, the economic revival began in Pokrov, connected with the appearance of the only in Russia Veterinary Virology and Microbiology Research Institute in 4 km from the town (now – the village Volginsky),  as well as with the Pokrov  Biopreparation plant, on the production basis of which a number of pharmaceutical companies is now formed.  Now Pokrov together with Volginsky is a well-known pharmaceutical center in Russia. In Volginsky, in particular, is developing the largest pharmaceutical enterprise "Generium" for the production of biotechnological preparations in the field of treatment of hemophilia, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, oncological and cardiovascular diseases. May 23, 2016 was officially launched a new production company "Generium" – a high-tech complex full cycle, which will increase production capacity by almost 50%. Ready-made dosage forms will be manufactured from active pharmaceutical substances of own production on the basis of recombinant technologies. This is the only  biotechnological scientific center of the world level in Russia and innovative production organized according to international standards.

In addition, the Pokrov is considered a major center of the food industry. In 1997, a chocolate factory of the German company "Stolwerk" opened in Pokrov, in 2002 the shares became the property of the American concern "Kraft Foods" (from April 2013 - "Mon'delis Rus"). Pokrov  chocolate factory produces every third chocolate bar in Russia. With the participation of the company in 2004, the Museum of Chocolate was opened in the building of the local history museum. It works on the basis of modern technologies that allow you to manage all resources using a remote control, synchronizing light, sound and video projection equipment. The exposition tells about the history of chocolate, about the family of Stolwerk – the founders of the factory, about the company Kraft Foods. A breadboard model of chocolate production – an exact copy of the  production line – was made specially for the museum.

In the modern chocolate business of Pokrov, new ideas are being implemented that are attractive for tourists: by the 15th anniversary of its activity in Russia, the company Kraft Foods in the central square of the city has installed the world's first chocolate monument, the Fairy of Chocolate. Every year the only chocolate festival in Russia is held at the end of June.

Another interesting brand for the tourists became Pokrov gingerbread. Its production today continues and develops the traditions of folk trades. Pokrov gingerbread is not only an exquisite delicacy, but also a wonderful souvenir.

Author: V. Korolkova