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A verst (Russian: верста, versta) is an obsolete Russian unit of length. It is defined as being 500 sazhen long, which makes a verst equal to 1.0668 kilometres (0.6629 miles; 3,500 feet).

In the English language, verst is singular with the normal plural versts. In Russian, the nominative singular is versta, but the form usually used with numbers is genitive plural verst — 10 verst, 25 verst, etc. — whence the English form.

A mezhevaya versta (Russian: межевая верста, lit. border verst) is twice as long as a verst.

"The verst of the 17th century was 700 sazhens or 1.49 km as against the 500 sazhens or 1.067 km it became at the time of Peter the Great".[1] The Russian Wiki mentions several other old values.

In Finland, virsta was originally 1.069 km according to the Swedish standard, but the Russian verst (1.0668 km) replaced it after annexation to the Russian Empire in 1809. Virsta was originally 600 sylis (fathoms, 1.781 m), but then changed to 500 syli, since the Russian syli was longer, 2.134 m. A derived unit was peninkulma = 10 virsta (see Finnish units of measurement). Metrification replaced virsta with the kilometre in the 1880s.[2]


  1. Raymond H Fisher, 'The Voyage of Semen Dezhnev', Hakluyt Society,1981, page 176, citing Dal's Tolkovyy Slovar
  2. Konu, Mia. Palvelukseen halutaan yksi raitis imettäjä - notiiseja ja reklaameja 1800-luvun sanomalehdistä. Nemo, Helsinki 2009.

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