Velikiye Luki (Russian: Вели́кие Лу́ки, IPA: [vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪjə ˈlukʲɪ]; lit. great meanders or longbows) is a town in Pskov Oblast, Russia, located on the meandering Lovat River. It is the second largest town in Pskov Oblast; population: 98,778 (2010 Census); 104,979 (2002 Census); 113,745 (1989 Census). Velikiye Luki is a City of Military Glory, an honor bestowed on it because of the courage and heroism its citizens displayed during World War II.
It was first mentioned in a chronicle under the year of 1166 as Luki. From the 12th century, Luki was a part of the Novgorod Republic. After the construction of a fortress in 1211, Velikiye Luki gained strategic importance, defending the approaches to Pskov and Novgorod. It was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow by Ivan the Great in 1478. During the Livonian War, it played an important role. In the course of the administrative reform carried out in 1708 by Peter the Great, Velikiye Luki was included into Ingermanland Governorate (known since 1710 as Saint Petersburg Governorate). It was explicitly mentioned as one of the towns the governorate comprised. In 1727, separate Novgorod Governorate was split off, and in 1772, Pskov Governorate (which between 1777 and 1796 existed as Pskov Viceroyalty) was established. After 1777, Velikiye Luki was the seat of Velikolutsky Uyezd (later known as Velikoluksky Uyezd). At the beginning of the 20th century, it evolved into an important railway hub following the construction of the railway connecting Moscow with Riga.