«Nitty hill» («Vshivaya Gorka»)

Kirzhach, the museum and park zone "Nitty Hill"
56.18239265, 38.84778788

The "Nitty hill" is one of the historical places in Kirzhach, which has recently attracted much attention. Such a cacophonous name – the "Nitty hill"– during the Patriotic War of 1812 received a hill above the Kirzhach River, 700 meters from the city on the right side, along the Kirzhach-Alexandrov road. At the height of the fierce winter of 1813, after Napoleon left Moscow, the Vladimir militiamen were sent home. Many of them were sick with typhus, cholera and pediculosis. Fearing to infect civilians, they did not go to populated areas. One of the detachments broke a quarantine camp a mile and a half from the town of Kirzhach. People were exhausted by illness, hunger and cold and were treated directly on the snow.

Vladimir people's militia (6 foot regiments numbering more than 15 thousand people) was collected in autumn of 1812 from retired officers and serfs. The backbone of the fourth regiment was the inhabitants of the Pokrovsky uyezd, including residents of Kirzhach (Kirzhach then belonged to the Pokrovsky uyezd). They formed horseback units for patrolling all roads leading from Moscow in the north-west direction. It was the task of preventing the French suppliers from entering Moscow with food stocks and forage, stolen in the Vladimir province, which had not yet been touched by war. After the expulsion of Napoleon from Moscow, the Vladimir militiamen performed police functions in the capital – they caught marauders and robbers, took care for the wounded in the infirmaries (including the French), buried the dead from typhus and cholera. In 2012, to the 200th anniversary of the Patriotic War of 1812, in memory of self-sacrificing compatriots -militiamen a cross and a memorial stone were installed on the "Nitty Hill".

The strategic importance of this elevation was also evident during the Great Patriotic War. In the autumn of 1941, the Kirzhach district turned out to be front-line. After the failure of a frontal attack on Moscow in October-November 1941, the Hitlerite command was plotting a plan to capture the capital from the rear. To prevent this plan, Moscow's circular defense was organized, a part of which Kirzhach was also preparing to become. In the winter of 1941-1942, one of the frontiers of the Moscow defense zone was built on the "Nitty Hill".

December 30, 1941 the first echelons with parts of the 9th Airborne Corps under the leadership of Lieutenant-General I.S. Bezuglov, formed by the Supreme Commander, arrived at the station Kirzhach.  Simultaneously with the preparation for march-throws and fierce battles behind enemy lines, the paratroopers dug trenches and built bunkers. Every day, after the shift, 600-700 workers of local enterprises came to their aid. Until now, trench lines, remnants of machine-gun nests and pillboxes are visible in the small woods around the city on the "Nitty Hill".

Near the paratroopers and in cooperation with them, the world's first women's air regiment, led by the Hero of the Soviet Union M.M. Raskova, prepared for combat operations at the Kirzhach airfield.

The "Nitty hill" is also memorable for local residents because in 1960-1970s cosmonauts of the first "Gagarin detachment" liked to have a rest here. Yu.A. Gagarin, G.S. Titov, A.N. Nikolaev, A.A. Leonov and other cosmonauts came to this place after intense training at the Kirzhach airfield to rest and swim in the river. Expressing respect and gratitude to the citizens of Kirzhach for friendliness and assistance in difficult training, the joint-stock company "Cosmos-Earth", headed by cosmonaut G.S. Titov appropriated one of the stars in the constellation "Pisces" the name "Kirzhach".

In the summer of 2015, a museum and park recreation area was opened on the "Nitty Hill". The initiator and sponsor of arrangement for the citizens of this place was the general director of "Kirzhach printing house" Ltd E. Fyodorov.  About fifty employees of this enterprise brought the territory in order, and accidentally came across ditches, similar to military trenches. Local historians confirmed that these are really trenches and positions for the destruction of tanks, built in the winter of 1941. In August 2015, before the trenches, a memorial plaque was opened in memory of the creation of the boundary of the Moscow defense zone (1941-1942). This event was timed to the Day of Airborne Forces, since it was the paratroopers who were preparing to hold back the enemy on the "Nitty Hill" during the Great Patriotic War.

The museum and park zone "Nitty Hill" becomes a favorite vacation spot for Kirzhach residents. In January 2016, an illuminated ski track was opened on its territory.

Author: V. Korolkova