Russian folklore: The hidden city of Kitezh

According to Russian legend hidden beneath the waters of Lake Svetloyar is a mythical city built by Georgy II, the Grand Prince of Vladimir in the early part of the 13th century.

The Drown Town” by Konstantin Gorbatov, 1933 – Public Domain

Batu Khan and the Golden Horde

According to legend when Batu Khan sacked the Russian city of Vladimir he first heard of Kitezh and became determined to capture it and he led the Golden Horde into Russia. The Mongols attacked and captured Maly Kitezh forcing Georgy to retreat with his army to the forests towards Bolshoy Kitezh . Although they had found and captured Maly Kitezh the Mongols did not know where to look for Bolshoy Kitezh as it was hidden on the lakeside which was protected by thick forest. Only those who knew the secret paths could find it.

The Mongols attempted to bribe and torture the prisoners to get the secret but none would talk despite the pain inflicted. At last one of the prisoners betrayed the secret of how to find Bolshoy Kitezh and was greatly rewarded for his treachery. He led Batu Khan and the Golden Horde through the forest towards Lake Svetloyar where they found Bolshoy Kitezh.  Read more

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