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Frigate Oryol
1667

The frigate Oryol was the first Russian-built warship. Commissioned by Tsar Alexis I to protect Russian trading ships on the Caspian Sea, the Oryol was built between 1667 and 1669 by the developing shipyard in Dedinovo, on the Oka River. Although the Oryol was captured and burned in 1670, it has achieved lasting importance as a symbol of the birth of Russian naval power. The Oryol is often considered the first Russian sailing ship of Western European type.

During the 17th Century, Russia and Persia developed closer commercial ties, exchanging extravagant embassies and trading in cloth, silk, and other goods. Shipping was conducted across the Caspian Sea and through the Volga River, with Astrakhan as commercial center. This route served to open Persia to commerce not only with Russia but with all of
Europe.

Dutch and English traders were active, so Tsar Alexis I ordered a naval shipbuilding program. The shipyard was
constructed south-west of Moscow in Dedinovo, a town on the Oka River in present-day Moscow Oblast. Experienced sailors were hired from Amsterdam, and a Dutchman living in Moscow, was hired for his shipbuilding expertise. The Oryol was the first large ship produced, along with a yacht and two smaller vessels. It was a three-masted sailing ship, 82 feet in length, 22 feet wide, and displacing 275 tons. It had a crew of 23 sailors and 35 soldiers, and was armed with 22 guns.

Frigate Oryol 1667

 

Side view drawing of the Frigate Oryol from a Russian stamp

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