Balashikha - History

History

Balashikha was established in 1830. It granted town status in 1939. Several rural hamlets had existed long before on the site of the modern city.

The city stands on the famous Vladimir Highway, which led out of Moscow to the east. This was the route along which convicted criminals were marched to forced labor camps in Siberia. The road was renamed Gorky Highway in the Soviet era. The failure of the Decembrist Revolt against Tsar Nicholas I led to the execution of its ringleaders and the exile of many nobles to Siberia. Soviet-era schoolchildren were told that the prisoners were marched in chains along this road followed by their wives. In truth, the Decembrist prisoners were sent from St. Petersburg, then the capital of Russia, through Yaroslavl, and not through Moscow and Balashikha, and the story was invented as part of celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the event in 1925.

Between 1830 and 1870, a cotton factory was in operation in the area, with its fabric called Balashikha. A railway station was built at the end of the 19th century, again called Balashikha Station.

As it grew, Balashikha absorbed other villages, including Gorenki, a suburban estate of Count Andreas Razumovsky, and Pekhra-Yakovlevskoye, an estate of Prince Galitzine, the latter being in use for 250 years from 1591 to 1828. This is the site of a stone church, built from 1777 to 1782.

Saltykovka, a part of Balashikha, has long been known for its attractions to the artistic community. Isaak Levitan, the famous landscape painter, lived there in 1879. Lev Tolstoy was another frequent visitor.

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