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Photo - Vitebsk

The population: 370.9 thousand. Status: Regional center The year of foundation: 1021 Vitebsk region, Vitebsk district

Location - Vitebsk

Vitebsk is the administrative center of the Vitebsk region and the Vitebsk region, one of the largest cities of the Republic of Belarus, the cultural capital of the country. The city is located 253 km from Minsk, in the north-east of Belarus on the river Western Dvina. Vitebsk occupies an advantageous geographical position: it is located at the crossroads of the most important transport communications - railways and highways of European significance E95 (St. Petersburg - Kiev) and P20 (Smolensk - Vitebsk - Polotsk - Daugavpils).

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History of the development - Vitebsk

The city originated at the confluence of the rivers - the Western Dvina and Vitba, from which, according to one of the versions, the name came. The first settlements in this place originated in the IX century, as evidenced by archaeological excavations. The Balt tribes were soon replaced by the Slavic Krivichi. It is important to note that the most important trade route of that time passed through this place - «from the Varangians to the Greeks», which determined the rapid development of the settlement. According to legend, in 974, the city was founded by Princess Olga, but the first records in the annals refer to the 1021, which is considered the year of foundation. By the end of the XII century, Vitebsk became a major trade and craft center. It is known that by that time the first stone church was built - the Holy Annunciation Church.

In 1318, the specific prince Yaroslav Vasilyevich decided to annex Vitebsk to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania through the marriage of his daughter and Olgerd, the son of the grand duke. In 1597, by decree of King Sigismund III, the city was given a coat of arms and gave a diploma to Magdeburg law.

Vitebsk has always been an important eastern point, since it was located on the border with the Russian state. His active participation in the Northern War is noted, where the city was burned by order of Peter I for helping the Swedes. Further, tragic events overtook the population of Vitebsk during the war with Napoleon, who occupied the territory and brought ruin and death.

After the division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Vitebsk became part of the Russian Empire and eventually became the center of the Vitebsk province. By the beginning of the 20th century, it was one of the largest cities on the territory of Belarus, most of whose population are Jews. The cultural sphere of human life was actively developing. Everyone knows such names as Marc Chagall, Yudal Peng, Kazimir Malevich and many others whose lives were closely associated with Vitebsk. At that time the Vitebsk Conservatory of People, the Theater of Revolutionary Satire was opened. By the middle of the twentieth century, 3 higher educational institutions, 42 schools, 3 cinemas, a circus and a drama theater function in the city.

Heavy tests had to go through the population during the Great Patriotic War. Around the city were fierce battles, as a result of which the city was still occupied. Before liberation in 1944, most of the population was destroyed, tortured in camps or taken to Germany, the city itself was almost completely destroyed. After the war, the city was rebuilt. Today Vitebsk is a modern center of Belarus where industry, science and culture are actively developing. The streets are decorated with monuments of architecture and monumental art, the city on Dvina surprises with its beauty and originality.

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Tourism potential - Vitebsk

Vitebsk is a beautiful and attractive city for tourists; it combines modern buildings and historical monuments of architecture, modern fashion trends and traditions of past eras. The rich history has allowed to create many interesting museums, art spaces and other tourist sites.

Many visitors to the city celebrate the first temples. The history was merciless to these buildings, but to this day we have reached the real masterpieces of architecture. One of the most famous is the Holy Assumption Cathedral , which is located on the bank of the Western Dvina River. During the Soviet era the temple was destroyed, but then rebuilt. Among the religious monuments, the Church of the Annunciation, the Church of Jesus the Merciful, and the Church of St. Barbara are worth noting.

Secular buildings also have amazing stories and spectacular views. Popular are the City Town Hall, the Summer Amphitheater, the Dukhovskiy Kruglik (exhibition hall building), the Governor’s Palace, the building of the former land and peasant bank and many others. A walk around the city will bring a lot of pleasure: the streets and squares themselves are witnesses of history and have many secrets. One of the most iconic was the Victory Square, which is dedicated to the Great Patriotic War. It is decorated with a monument of three bayonets and an eternal flame. Also, every tourist is advised to take a stroll along the Kirovsky Bridge, which offers a beautiful view of the city.

For those who like to make unique photos when visiting new places, Vitebsk provides a field for imagination. The city is filled with interesting and unusual monuments: a wandering musician, the sculpture «Meeting», a steam engine monument. There are also historical ones: «Three bayonets» dedicated to the Great Patriotic War, «Pain» to international soldiers, and many others. It is also worth noting a large number of unique museums, among which are the Museum of Private Collections, the museum of the Vitebsk tram, the house-museum and Art Center Marc Chagall. Even selected individuals are dedicated to this famous artist tours. You can also visit a unique place near the city - the museum-estate of Ilya Repin «Zdravnevo».

In the modern world, Vitebsk is famous far beyond the borders of the Republic of Belarus, primarily the international festival «Slavyanskiy bazar». This is a music contest that has become a real triumph. Here come the artists of Russian, Ukrainian pop, representatives of European countries. The whole city is filled with the atmosphere of a holiday, performances of folk groups, fairs and exhibitions take place on the streets. This annual event takes place in the summer and with each passing year it is getting wider.

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GPS Google: 55.1792984′ N, 30.1993999′ E