Orel (əryôlˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 337,000), capital of Orel region, central European Russia, on the Oka River. It is a large railroad junction, an agricultural trade center, and an industrial city producing machinery and clothing. Like Moscow, its main streets are rings and radii moving outward from a central core. It was founded in 1564 by Ivan IV as a fortified settlement to protect the southern border of Muscovy from Crimean Tatar attacks. In the 18th and 19th cent. it was a large trade center. Orel was (1919) the northernmost point reached by Denikin's White Army in the Russian civil war. The city was almost totally destroyed in World War II. The house of the author Turgenev, who was born in Orel, is now a museum.
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