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Photo - Rakov

The population: 2 thousand. Status: Small The year of foundation: XIV Minsk region, Volozhin district

Location - Rakov

Rakov is a small agro-town in the Volozhin district of the Minsk region. Rakov is located 40 km from the district center and 27 km from Minsk.

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History of the development - Rakov

There are several known versions of the origin of the name of the town. The first of them says that the city was named Cancer because a lot of arthropods lived in local rivers. According to another version, the name comes from the name of the ancient Egyptian sun god Ra. However, local residents are of the opinion that the name comes from the word «raka» it's a casket in which the relics of the saints are kept.

For the first time in written sources, Rakov is mentioned in the XIV century due to the fact that Casimir Jagiellon is the king of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania presented the city to the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Michal Kazhgaila. Kezgayly were the owners of Rakov for almost a hundred years. In the middle of the XVI century. Rakov passed by inheritance to Zavisham, and in the 17th century. Sangushki became the new owners of the city, under which Rakov reached its greatest development. In the late XVI - early XVII centuries. a printing house worked in Rakov, in 1686 a Dominican monastery was founded in the town, and in 1702 a Basilian monastery was founded. In 1701, Rakov received permission from the king of the Commonwealth to hold annual fairs and organize a weekly market.

After the second section of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1793, Rakov fell to the Russian Empire. In the middle of the XIX century. In the town worked two mills, brick and breweries. In 1863, a public school was opened, and in the 1880s, parochial and craft schools. By the end of the century, the population was about 3,500, 60% of whom were Jewish.

Rakov has long been famous for its pottery and the skills of local craftsmen. In the town were made household utensils, as well as tiles with embossed decor. The greatest flourishing of the crayfish ceramics reached in the XIX - early XX centuries. At that time in the town there were more than a hundred potters.

After the signing of the Riga Peace Treaty of 1921 between Soviet Russia and Poland, Rakov, as part of Western Belarus, became part of the Second Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where he remained until 1939. The border between Poland and the BSSR took place in the immediate vicinity of the town, which affected lifestyle of local people. Rakov became a smuggling center. The city had several dozen restaurants and even casinos in which smugglers let down their fortunes. After the start of the Second World War in 1939, Rakov became part of the BSSR. During the Great Patriotic War, more than 2,000 residents of the village died.

Today Rakov is a modern agro-town, located not far from the capital. In the city there are foundations of culture and education, small enterprises.

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Tourism potential - Rakov

Rakov is one of the most interesting cities of Belarus, which has tourist potential. In the town there are several historical architectural monuments. The church of the Mother of God of the Rosary and St. Dominic is located on the western outskirts of Rakov, on the right bank of the Isloch River. The temple was built in 1906 with the assistance of the then owners of the town, the landowners of Zdziechowski.

One of the main attractions of Rakov is the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior, founded in 1735. The church contains the icon of Athos, highly revered by the parishioners, which is a copy of the Akathist or Forerunner image of the Mother of God. The icon, written for the Church of Rakov, was transferred in 1910 to the monks of Mount Athos at the request of the then abbot of the church Konstantin Okolovich.

In addition to the architectural attractions, Rakov is famous for the fact that there is a private art gallery of the famous Belarusian artist Felix Yanushkevich in the town. The gallery exhibits both the works of the artist himself and the objects found during archaeological exchanges or randomly entered the museum. These are ancient documents, ancient household items, furniture, musical instruments and even fragments of Slutsk belts. It should be noted that the largest collection of ceramics in Europe is exhibited in Rakov.

Rakov, though a small but entertaining city with an interesting and rich history, which preserved interesting sights.

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GPS Google: 53.9667243′ N, 27.0464210′ E