Coat of arms of Smolensk: history, description, interpretation of symbols
In central Russia there is an ancient city, awarded the title "Hero City" - Smolensk. Its history dates back to the 9th century. It is considered the place where the tribal union of the Kryvichy settled. The heyday of the city falls on a century before the arrival of the Horde. At that time he was one of the richest and most fortified principalities.
Prosperity of the city contributed to the development of trade relations. A solid trade union was concluded with Riga at the beginning of the 13th century. Resisted the city from the earthquake, Mora. But the former glory and wealth declined from the invasion of hordes of eastern invaders, and later, the Lithuanian principality took over the city.
The owners of the city changed more than once: it was in the composition of both the Moscow kingdom and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The history of Smolensk is rich in important historical events. Like every old city, Smolensk has its own coat of arms.
History of the coat of arms
The first emblem was established in 1539 by prince Gleb Svyatoslavovich.It depicted a cannon, on which sat a mythical bird of paradise, according to some sources - gamayun.
One of the first references to Smolensk's own coat of arms was found in the armorial of Ambrosius in 1570 (Poland). In this book, he is described as a four-fold shield. In the first and fourth parts there is a silver cross on a scarlet background, in the second and third parts in azure there is a severed rear part of a golden walking lion, on which sits a golden eagle. The description of the emblem of Smolensk in this source caused controversy in the scientific community.
In 1946, a source relating to the period of the Constance of Constance in 1413 was described by researcher V. K. Lukomski. In other, no less authoritative sources of the XVI century, there is an indication that the coat of arms was described by Prince Feodor of Smolensk. When Smolensk passed to the Lithuanians, the prince fled with his father to Moscow. Having lived for some time in Novgorod, he went to Europe, where he later took part in the Council of Constance. In the western style was changed and his coat of arms. Prince Fyodor probably joined the Knightly Order of St. John of Jerusalem, as indicated by the crosses that appeared on the coat of arms, as well as the replacement of cannons for half of the body of lions.
City Imperial Emblem
In different periods of history, the coat of arms of Smolensk underwent changes, but one thing remained unchanged - the image of a cannon with a bird sitting on it.
In 1858, the coat of arms was updated in connection with the Ken reform: a black cannon on a silver background, golden wheels and a carriage. In the heat of the gun sat the bird of paradise. According to some researchers, on the sides were banners with the monogram of the then ruling emperor, entwined with St. George ribbon. Other scientists claim that the ribbon was St. Andrew’s, and on the sides - the banners of the Russian Empire. The shield was crowned with a city crown with a double-headed eagle in black.
The coat of arms of Smolensk, which officially entered the coat of arms, has one feature: the gun is not turned to the left, as required by the rules of heraldry, but to the right of the person holding the shield.
After the revolution, like everything that was associated with a class hostile to the proletarian power, the heraldry of the cities for a long time went into the shadows, was almost forgotten. But after World War II, the emblems of cities began to revive. Coat of Smolensk was forgotten. When there was a need to restore the city identification mark, they could not display it exactly. The following elements remained unchanged: a cannon and a bird. The rest of the confusion reigned.In one of the variants, a jagged top appears on the coat of arms, like loopholes of a fortress, and a bronze gun with a gamayun bird in the heat of the sun is placed on a scarlet background.
Description of the modern coat of arms
The new coat of arms of Smolensk was approved on April 27, 2001. We seriously thought about the restoration of the city emblems after the collapse of the USSR. Despite the recommendations of the State Herald under the President of the Russian Federation, according to which all the coats of arms of the cities, approved before 1917, became legal, the Smolensk self-government still approved the symbolism with the changes. The authors wished to display on the coat of arms of Smolensk, in addition to the ancient past, and his glorious participation in the Great Patriotic War. An exception has been made for them. Therefore, on the coat of arms in the new edition, the golden five-pointed star serves as the background of the shield. On the shield, as before, the Gamayuna bird sits on a black gun, resting on a golden carriage. Crowned by his Monomakh hat. On both sides there are red banners, on which are golden monograms “Ш” and “А І”, the flag of the St. George ribbon. Under the shield, as can be seen in the photo of the coat of arms of Smolensk, there are awards in the form of ribbons: Order of the Patriotic War, Order of Lenin.Below them is another new element - the motto: "Glorified by the fortress." He also posted against the laws of heraldry, as an exception.
Having studied the description and photo of the coat of arms of Smolensk, it is impossible not to notice the many symbols depicted on it. The gun symbolizes an old battle history. The hamayun bird personifies happiness, luck, the pursuit of lofty ideals. The silver (white) color of the shield is a symbol of Western Russian lands, as well as pure aspirations. Cap Monomakh points to the period when Smolensk was the capital of the principality of Vladimir Monomakh. The monograms on the banners indicate Alexander I and Mikhail Shein, the head of the city’s defense during the Troubles. The star on the background is the symbol of the hero city. The fact that the city has distinguished itself in three major wars is indicated by the tapes. The motto is taken from the saying of Kutuzov about the strength of the spirit of Smolensk soldiers.
What a bird
To this day, disputes about which bird on the Smolensk coat of arms does not abate. It is officially approved that this is a gamayun. But some researchers believe that this is a phoenix or a bird of paradise. These statements are based on similarities with images of birds of paradise in European symbolism.Still, most researchers agreed that this is a gamayun bird.