Bryansk (Russian: Брянск; IPA: [brʲansk]) is a city and the administrative center of Bryansk Oblast, Russia, located 379 kilometers (235 mi) southwest of Moscow. Population: 415,721 (2010 Census); 431,526 (2002 Census); 452,160 (1989 Census).
The first written mention of Bryansk was in 1146, in the Hypatian Codex, as Debryansk (appears variously as Дъбряньск, Дьбряньск, and in other spellings). Its name is derived from "дъбръ", a Slavic word for "ditch", "lowland", or "dense woodland"; the area was known for its dense woods, of which very little remains today. Local authorities and archaeologists, however, believe that the town had existed as early as 985 as a fortified settlement on the right bank of the Desna River.
Bryansk remained poorly attested until the Mongol invasion of Rus'. It was the northernmost of the Severian cities in the possession of the Chernigov Rurikids. After Mikhail of Chernigov was murdered by the Mongols and his capital was destroyed, his son moved his seat to Bryansk. In 1310, when the Mongols sacked the town again, it belonged to the Principality of Smolensk.