By Darya Kurilova
Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Tozik, who heads the organising committee for celebrating the most ancient Belarusian city’s jubilee, tells us that Polotsk’s 1150th birthday will become an extraordinary cultural event, never to be forgotten. Patriotism and pride in our past are the major goals, with numerous guests from the CIS and beyond invited to take part — including those from Polotsk’s twin cities, business partners and famous personalities born in the city.
An artistic team of people from a cultural, educational and scientific background are to join those from the Orthodox church in making preparations, with certain ministries and agencies also invited to contribute: the Information Ministry, the Culture Ministry, the Academy of Sciences, the Belarusian Exarchate and public organisations.
The celebrations are planned for late May-early June 2012, as Polotsk usually hosts week-long festivities at that time — including official and church events dedicated to the city’s anniversary.
Polotsk has a rich and glorious history, being first mentioned in 862 in the Tale Bygone Years. Its advantageous geographical location on the ‘From Varangians to the Greeks’ route made it one of the most significant trading and cultural centres in medieval Europe. It has also given us many outstanding personalities: Yevfrosiniya Polotskaya, Frantsisk Skorina and Simeon Polotsky, General Roman Kondratenko — a Port Arthur hero of defence, and Yuri Tarich — a founding father of Belarusian cinema. About 150 historical treasures are located in Polotsk, including beautiful Sophia Cathedral and Holy Transfiguration Church.