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Peter the Great's conquest of Estonia and Latvia during the Great Northern War in the early 18th century spelled the end of Pskov's traditional role as a vital border fortress and a key to Russia's interior.

As a consequence, the city's importance and well-being declined dramatically, although it has served as a seat of separate Pskov Governorate since 1777.

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Most famously, it withstood a prolonged siege by a 50,000-strong Polish army during the final stage of the Livonian War (1581–1582).

The king of Poland Stephen Báthory undertook some thirty-one attacks to storm the city, which was defended mainly by civilians.

Pskov's independence was formally recognized by Novgorod in 1348.

Several years later, the veche promulgated a law code (called the Pskov Charter), which was one of the principal sources of the all-Russian law code issued in 1497.

In 1241, it was taken by the Teutonic Knights, but Alexander Nevsky recaptured it several months later during a legendary campaign dramatized in Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 movie.