Pechory (=Petseri, in Russian Печоры) is a town in the Pskov region of Russia. According to the 2010 population census, the town had 11,195 citizens.
The settlement of Pechory emerged around the monastery (founded in 1473), which had been converted from the temporary lodgings of travelling pilgrims near the old Livonian border. During the Livonian War in the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by a mighty stone wall with fortification towers, thus turning Pechory into a formidable border fortress. Russian Tsar Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) deployed troops in Pechory, so something like a township was set up in the neighborhood of the monastery. Since the 16th century Pechory was an important outpost and foothold for Russia in its fight against the Livonian Order, Poland-Lithuania, and Sweden, whose armies repeatedly raided and burned the town (in 1592,1634,1655, and 1702). In the big fires of 1688 and 1774 the wooden edifices of the monastery were severely damaged. In 1701 Tsar Peter the Great ordered a fortification of Pechory with earthworks and moats. After the Great Northern War (1700-1721) Pechory lost its importance as a military fortress. In 1782-1797 the town of Pechory was the centre of the Pechory county that belonged to the Pskov vicegerency.
According to the Tartu Peace Treaty concluded between the Republic of Estonia and Soviet Russia on February 2, 1920, which put an end to the Estonian War of Liberation, Pechory remained within the borders of the Republic of Estonia and became the administrative centre of the county of Pechory. In the 1920s-1930s the town made fast progress. A new district with modern buildings and streets sprang up next to the old part of the town, which was still reminiscent of a Russian village. The population of Pechory grew rapidly, having by 1922 reached about 2,000. Ethnic Estonians (including Setus) made up one third of the city's population. In 1934 the population amounted to 4,300 - 55% were Estonians, and 41% were Russians. In the 1920s, about 30,000 residents of the county of Pechory were given family names, their chances to get education improved greatly, and cultural societies thrived. On May 24,1939 Pechory was ravaged by a great fire, which destroyed 212 houses (one third of the buildings), leaving 1,500 people without shelter.
During the Soviet time Pechory was seceded from Estonia and was in 1944 attached to the Pskov region of the Russian SFSR, where it became the centre of the Pechory county. Today the population of Pechory amounts to 15,000, with a few hundred ethnic Estonians.
The principal sight of Pechory is the Russian Orthodox monastery with its multitude of sacral buildings - Uspenski Church built into sandstone (1473) and Pokrovski Church built upon it (1759), the Great Bell Tower (1523), Blagoveshchenski Church (1541), St. Nicholas' Church (1565) with the Holy Gate and the so-called Path of Blood, St. Lawrence's Church (1800), St. Michael's Church (1827), Sretenski Church (1870),the treasury and library (16th century), the monks' living quarters, the refectory (1896), the chapel (1910), the Holy Well, Holy Hill with the Holy Oak, also the stone wall with nine towers.
For several centuries, Pechory was the economic, cultural and religious centre of Setumaa. The unique culture of the Setus, an ethnic group of Estonians, effortlessly combines various characteristic features of Estonian and Russian cultures. The ethnic heritage of the Setu people - folk songs, folk costumes, traditions - is particularly rich and original.