Rich history remembered
By Tatiana Pastukhova
The plan of events includes international conferences, including Orthodox conferences involving representatives from the three ‘cities of St. Sophia’ (Novgorod, Kiev and Polotsk), a festival of Orthodox creativity and bell ring and an international opera art festival near the walls of ancient Sophia, as well as exhibitions of photography and fairs of decorative-and-applied arts and crafts. Additionally, a Town of Craftsmen will be set up.
The Education Ministry, jointly with the Belarusian Republican Youth Union, has prepared a cycle of educational youth events dedicated to the history of Polotsk and its culture, which are to be held in schools and other educational establishments. The Union of Writers of Belarus has elaborated a separate festive programme.
UNESCO has registered Polotsk’s 1150th birthday on the 2012-2012 Memorable Date List and, in October 2012, an exhibition will be held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Preparations have already begun, including photos of the city’s past and present. Moreover, an international conference on the History and Archaeology of Polotsk and Polotsk Land is to be held in the city, with financial assistance from UNESCO.
Polotsk, which is known as the ‘mother of all Belarusian cities’, was Belarus’ first capital, built along the great ‘from the Varangians to the Greeks’ route, where the Polota River meets the Zapadnaya Dvina.
Belarus’ nationhood and culture originated in Polotsk and the city gave birth to world enlighteners Yevfrosiniya Polotskaya, Frantsisk Skorina and Simeon Polotsky. It is mentioned in the Tale of Bygone Years in 862, and became the centre of Polotsk Principality, which was ruled by an independent dynasty. It was one of the most ancient Eastern Slavonic principalities, existing for over three centuries.