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Polotsk - The Oldest Town Of Belarus

Polotsk, Belarus

Polotsk is one of the most beautiful towns in Belarus.

Situated  on the River Western Dvina,

Polotsk was founded in 862 and is not only is it the oldest town in the country, it is one of the oldest in the whole Slavic region, making it a popular tourist attraction in Belarus.

The town is located 250 km north of Minsk in the Vitebsk region of Belarus.

In its eventful history the town has endured Viking incursions from the north, fought against crusaders and had been occupied numerous times.

Polotsk became the centre of Christianity during the first Russian state of Rus. The town was a birthplace for the first Belarusian canonized woman Euphrosyne of Polotsk.

In the 10-13th centuries Polotsk was the centre of the powerful Polotsk Duchy.

In 1307 the town became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and became self-governingin 1498.

Frantsysk Skorina - Belarusian first printer and enlightener was born here.

Ivan the Terrible conquered the town in 1563. Polotsk was returned to Lithuania in 1578. Two decisive battles of the Napoleonic wars were fought in Polotsk in 1812

During the early 20th century, the town was thriving. Occupied by the Nazis in 1941, it was liberated in 1944 by the Soviet Red Army

The town is dominated by the Cathedral of Saint Sophia in the centre. Originally built between 1044 and 1066, it was a rival for cathedrals of the same name in Kiev and Novgorod. Much of the cathedral has been destroyed and rebuilt, but the eastern elevation and some of the basement walls are original.

Potolsk is full of historical buildings and monuments. Other interesting places to visit in the town include:

  • Boris’ Stone (12th century)
  • Red Bridge over the river Polota, commemorating the bloody battles of the Napoleonic wars
  • Museum of Belarusian Typography
  • Museum of Regional History and Culture
  • Saint Ephrosinia Convent (12th century)
  • Epiphany Monastery (1582)
  • Monument to the 23 Guardsmen – commemorating those who died defending the town in 1944 

Polotsk is the fist Belarusian town named  Belarus’ Capital of Culture due to its outstanding historical and cultural heritage, rich cultural life.

We shall be glad to arrange tours for your to enjoy this wonderful oldest city of Belarus.

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