The Church of Peter and Paul on Gorodyanka is the most ancient surviving Christian temples in Smolensk. It was built in 1146 and dates back to the architecture of pre-Mongolian period.
The church was built by Prince Rostislav Mstislavovich, a grandson of Vladimir Monomakh. Apart from this church there remained another two churches of 12 century in Smolensk – the Church of Archangel Mikhail and the Church of John the Evangelist. All of them are on the bank of the Dnieper river.
The one-domed, four-piers church of Peter and Paul has the characteristic features of the Byzantine architecture. It was built from thin buff brick (plinthiform brick) but looks strong because of its proportions and high dome. The inscriptions of 12 century were discovered on the walls of the church.
Initially, the church of Peter and Paul was the family chapel of the prince and was connected to his residence with a covered wooden passage. Foreign merchants that came by the Dnieper were also allowed in the church. After 1168 it became a parish church. Then naves and burial vaults were added to the church.
During the period of the Polish intervention of 1611-1654 it was occupied by the Polish Roman Catholic church. In 17 century all surrounding buildings were pulled down and the Church of the Great Martyr Barbara was added to the west side of the church.