the archaeological complex in Gnezdovo includes two and a half thousand old Russian burial mounds, two settlements (fortified settlements) and several villages. It has not only all-Russian, but also world cultural and historical significance.
The remains of buildings, weapons, jewelry, household items found at the site of the excavations of the Gnezdovsky complex – all this serves as material evidence of chronicle information about the oldest period of the history of our state. A small settlement, which arose at the turn of IX-X centuries, quickly became an important trade and craft and military-administrative center, located on the way "from the Vikings to the Greeks"-a kind of core of the formed Ancient Russian state.
The study of ancient mounds and settlements began in the century before last. During the construction of the railway in 1867 in Gnezdovo was found a treasure consisting of silver jewelry (now it is stored in the state Hermitage). Since that time, the attention of researchers to Gnezdovo mounds has become constant.
Since 1949, the archaeological expedition of the Moscow state University has been excavating the Gnezdovsky complex. For a long time the works were supervised by our countryman, an archeologist of world renown, D. A. Avdonin. Since 1995, the archaeological expedition of MSU is conducted in conjunction with the State historical Museum.
Recent studies have revealed new areas of settlements in the floodplain of the Dnieper, the remains of the Harbor and the pier, a large number of material materials confirming the importance of Gnezdovo as a trading point on the way "from the Varangians to the Greeks." The main material materials obtained from the excavations are stored in the State historical Museum in Moscow, in the archaeological Museum at the faculty of history of Moscow state University, in the state Hermitage in St. Petersburg, in the Smolensk Museum-reserve.
Annually, since 2012, the festival of historical reconstruction "Gnezdovo"is held. It was the first and continues to be the only festival of reconstruction of the early middle ages (IX-XI centuries) of this scale in the Smolensk region. It is attended by clubs of historical reconstruction from many regions of Russia, as well as representatives of the Republic of Belarus, specializing in authentic reconstruction of life, crafts and military skills of the early middle ages. A festival event is visited annually by thousands of Smolyan and the surrounding area. Every year the festival is of great interest to the Smolyan people and guests of the region. The main idea of the festival is the historical reconstruction of the friendly culture and living conditions of the population of one of the largest early urban centers of Ancient Russia – Gnezdovo.
Since 2016, the diocese of Smolensk has become one of the participants of the festival: visitors can see Church printed and handwritten books and facsimile editions, get acquainted with the traditions of printing. To take part in master classes on painting the ancient letter, to see carved icons and various mobile exhibitions devoted to the history of Orthodoxy.
Currently, the festival is held twice a year-at the end of may and at the end of August.