Living history of Skidel
Central Scientific Library of National Academy of Sciences hosts exhibition of unique documents detailing history of cities and boroughs of Grodno Region
By Yuri Chernyakevich
The Grodno Region is known for its castles, since half of the 16 castles located in Belarus are found there — including UNESCO listed Mir Castle. The others boast no less fascinating historical heritage. Meanwhile, other sites worthy of visiting include the ancient fortified church of St. Mikhail, in the village of Synkovichi, in the Zelva District, ancient Kolozha Church, and the Bernardine Catholic Church in Grodno. The unique fortress found in the village of Gaityunishki, in the Ostrovets District, is also worth a journey.
A new exhibition at the Central Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences is displaying editions detailing the history of the Grodno Region’s cities and boroughs — including some truly ancient volumes. Among those drawing attention is a 19th century edition entitled Lists of Volosts, Societies and Settlements of the Grodno Province and Cadastres of the Grodno Economy. Acts of Lithuanian Metrica: 1413-1498 is another unique volume. Newspapers dating from the 1920s are also on show: Belaruski Zvon, Syalyanskaya Prauda, Belaruskaya Niva, Narodnaya Sprava and others.
Historian Sergey Tokt and regional ethnographic journalist Nikolay Delenkovsky have published an edition entitled Skidzel and its Outskirts: Living History. This tells of the city of Skidel — founded in the mid-17th century and located 40km from Grodno. Mr. Tokt tells us, “In researching the book, we used the national archives of Belarus, Lithuania and Poland. It’s a popular scientific edition, featuring more than bare statistics. We’ve included anecdotes relayed by eyewitnesses, such as records of everyday life in Skidel until 1939 — when Western Belarus was still part of Poland. Readers will enjoy our high-quality photos, so the book should appeal to amateur history lovers as well as experts — and to local residents.”