A verst (Russian: верста, versta) is an obsolete Russian unit of length defined as 500 sazhen. This makes a verst equal to 1.0668 kilometres (3,500 feet).

Plurals and variantsEdit

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 the genitive plural verst – 10 verst, 25 verst, etc. – whence the English form.

A mezhevaya versta (Russian: межевая верста, literally '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]

Finnish virstaEdit

In Finland, a virsta was originally 1,068.84 m according to the Swedish standard, but the Russian verst of 1,066.8 m replaced it after the province was annexed to the Russian Empire in 1809. A virsta was originally 600 sylis (fathoms, 1.781 m), but was then changed to 500 syli, since the Russian syli was longer, 2.134 m. A Finnish virsta was defined as 110 of a peninkulma, the Finnish language name for the pre-metric Swedish mil, used in Finland since the early 17th century (see Obsolete Finnish units of measurement). Metrication replaced virsta with the kilometre in the 1880s.[2]


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

External linksEdit