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Two men playing gorodki, Moscow, USSR, 1935

Gorodki (Russian: Городки, townlets; Swedish: Poppi) is an ancient Russian folk sport whose popularity has spread to Karelia, Finland, Sweden, Ingria, Lithuania, and Estonia. Similar in concept to bowling and also somewhat to horseshoes, the aim of the game is to knock out groups of skittles arranged in various patterns by throwing a bat at them. The skittles, or pins, are called gorodki (literally little cities or townlets), and the square zone in which they are arranged is called the gorod (city).

Gorodki arranged in the pushka (cannon) pattern

In Scandinavian and Baltic languages, the game has many different names, such as kurnimäng, kriuhka, köllöi, keili, and miestučiai. The Finnish variant is called kyykkä, or Finnish skittles.

The game is mentioned in the Old Russian Chronicles and was known in a form that is quite close to the modern one at least from the 17th century, since one of the famous gorodki players was young Peter I of Russia.[1]


  • Gameplay 1
  • History 2
  • Popular culture 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The game consists of throwing a bat from a predetermined distance at the gorodki, which are arranged in one of 15 configurations: cannon (пушка, pushka), fork (вилка, vilka), star (звезда, zvezda), arrow (стрела, strela), well (колодец, kolodets), crankshaft (коленчатый вал, kolenchatyy val), artillery (артиллерия, artilleriya), raquet (ракетка, raketka), machine gun installation (пулемётное гнездо, pulemyotnoe gnezdo), lobster (рак, rak), watchmen (часовые, chasovye), sickle (серп, serp), shooting gallery (тир, tir), airplane (самолёт, samolet), and letter (письмо, pis'mo).


Although traditionally Gorodki is a folk game, it was played by such Russian historical figures as

External links

  1. ^ The history of gorodki at (Russian)
  2. ^ a b


See also

The game was also featured on Schlag den Raab on 4 June 2011 and was a favorite childhood pastime of the eponymous protagonist of the novel "Pnin" by Vladimir Nabokov (p. 106, Vintage).

Additionally, Gorodki was featured in the popular CBS reality show The Amazing Race 17, episode 7, during a Roadblock challenge. Gorodki can be played on Wii Game System through the game disc REC ROOM released in 2009.

The game was shown in an episode of the Soviet animated series Nu, pogodi!.

Popular culture


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