In geographical point of Europe
Glubokoe is among the most recognisable and presentable district cities in the Vitebsk Region
Glubokoe residents revere their history, their creativity and their sense of humour, as proven by their monuments to Baron Münchhausen (who, as legend says, is buried in the cemetery) and the local Cherry Festival. The Chairman of Glubokoe’s District Executive Committee, Oleg Morkhat, speculates on why some call the city ‘a small Paris’, in admiration and envy, and why the settlement is unique, “We have plenty of residents with artistic talent in the Glubokoe District. As Belkosmosaerogeodesiya specialists state, the geographical centre of Europe is found in the Glubokoe District: near Sho Lake. Being situated at the centre of the continent, it would be remiss not to take advantage of our European connections. This very location has subjected local people to ordeals and war, bringing wisdom and greater sensibility. Glubokoe residents are known for their hospitality and are twinned with cities in the Baltic States, Russia, Armenia, France, Germany, Poland, Israel and the Netherlands. They are always delighted to welcome guests to their holidays and festivals.”
You organise wonderful celebrations, as we saw for the city’s 600th anniversary, in 2014. Your 2012 Day of Belarusian Written Language was another example.
The Day of Belarusian Written Language was a true challenge, bringing us all closer. A significant volume of state funds was needed to put the city in order but hard work was the essential factor: everyone contributed — including kindergartens and major industrial enterprises. They organised unpaid working weekends, and gave sponsorship, allowing us to reconstruct the stadium in a short space of time, alongside our sports-and-recuperative complex, our dental hospital, our art school and our district house of culture. We developed and decorated Lake Kagalny’s embankment and, as a result, Glubokoe won the Republican city development contest in 2013.
You’ve been hosting the Cherry Festival for two years: do you hope to make this your tourist calling card?
During the festival, we organise an international investment forum, allowing us to demonstrate the district’s economic potential. On learning that we boast rich deposits of peat, Czech investors have injected $2m into a facility producing peat pellets and mixtures. Foreigners are also ready to set up a facility to produce industrial oils. Meanwhile, Belarusian private companies plan to manufacture metal constructions and establish wood processing plants. As regards the Cherry Festival, we’d like to organise a contest of pop music this summer, gathering young performers from far and wide.
In February, the Glubokoe District celebrated its 75th birthday. What does this date mean for you?
It’s an opportunity to remember everyone who took up arms to defend our independence, as well as those who carried out industrialisation and fulfilled the food programme. Unsurprisingly, eight Socialistic Labour Heroes come from the Glubokoe District. This year, the city will continue its landscaping of a park to honour them.
By Natalia Stepanova