Kursk (Russian: Курск; IPA: [ˈkursk]) is a city and the administrative center of Kursk Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Kur, Tuskar, and Seym Rivers. The area around Kursk was site of a turning point in the Russian-German struggle during World War II and the site of the largest tank battle in history. Population: 415,159 (2010 Census); 412,442 (2002 Census); 424,239 (1989 Census).
Archaeology indicates that the site of Kursk was settled in the 5th or 4th century BCE. The settlement was fortified and included Slavs at least as early as the 8th century CE.
The first written record of Kursk is dated 1032. It was mentioned as one of Severian towns by Prince Igor in The Tale of Igor’s Campaign: «As to my Kurskers, they are famous knights—swaddled under war-horns, nursed under helmets, fed from the point of the lance; to them the trails are familiar, to them the ravines are known, the bows they have are strung tight, the quivers, unclosed, the sabers, sharpened; themselves, like gray wolves, they lope in the field, seeking for themselves honor, and for their prince, glory.»
The seat of a minor principality, Kursk was raided by the Polovtsians in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and destroyed by Batu Khan around 1237. The city was rebuilt no later than 1283. It was ruled by Grand Duchy of Lithuania between 1360-1508. Kursk joined the centralized Russian state in 1508, becoming its southern border province. It was an important center of the corn trade with Ukraine and hosted an important fair, which took place annually under the walls of the monastery of Our Lady of Kursk. It was raided frequently by Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Crimean Khanate until late of 17th century and was ruled Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth between 1611-1634. It was bounded to successively Kiev Governorate (1708–1727), Belgorod Governorate (1727–1779), and Kursk Viceroyalty (1779–1797). Town status was granted to Kursk in 1779. It became the administrative center of Kursk Governorate in 1797.
The Soviet government prized Kursk for rich deposits of iron ore and developed it into one of the major railroad hubs in the Russian Southwest. During World War II, Kursk was occupied by Germans between November 4, 1941 and February 8, 1943. Again in World War II, the village of Prokhorovka near Kursk was the center of the Battle of Kursk, a major engagement between Soviet and German forces which is widely believed by historians to have been the largest tank battle in history and was the last major German offensive mounted against the Soviet Union.