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The Day of Belarusian Written Language, hosted by the ancient town of Zaslavl gains in strength each year

The word won’t ever die

By Mikhalina Cherkashina

The Day of Belarusian Written Language, hosted by the ancient town of Zaslavl gains in strength each year


The 16th century printing machine can be seen during the Day of Belarusian Written Language

The holiday opened in the evening with a theatrical performance at the town’s wall. As befits such an event, official speeches came first.

Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister, Anatoly Tozik, emphasised at the opening ceremony of the 21st Day of Belarusian Written Language, that this event, in the Year of Hospitality and the 70th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation, underlines the connection between history and modernity. He also paid attention that in the third millennium the book still worthily competes with other information carriers. Last year alone, over 11,000 books and brochures were released in Belarus, with a total circulation of 33 million copies. “Those are really happy, who remember their roots, while not forgetting about their native language,” he noted.

Alexander Radkov, First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, also addressed the guests and participants of the holiday. He voiced the greeting of the President of Belarus.

“Much is being done in the country to strengthen spiritual morality, as well as the creative and intellectual potential of Belarusian society, aimed at supporting the national book publishing industry. I will say without exaggeration that we observe not only State but also Presidential patronage of the book,” noted the Belarus’ Information Minister, Lilia Ananich, during an international round table discussion Consonance: Literature as a Mirror of the Epoch.

She reminded that this year, the country has organised the Day of Belarusian Written Language for the 21st time, while, in 2017, we will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of Belarusian book printing.

Addressing foreign guests, the Minister added, “It’s very important that you come to us. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see with your own eyes into the pure mirror of Belarus with its beautiful city of Minsk and all corners of our country.”

A landmark of the holiday was the presentation of the first five volumes of the complete collection of Frantsisk Skorina’s heritage, which are released by the National Library.

The first Belarusian printed book was republished by Vladimir Likhodedov. He didn’t just make a copy, but restored the technology, the printing machine, and the paper production methods used in the 16th century. Moreover, he perfectly recreated the first Belarusian printed book and assures that this is the first case in the world. Moreover, he also demonstrated how the ‘new’ ancient machine worked.

The holiday pleased everyone who visited ancient Zaslavl. It’s no surprise that those attending could feel the breath of history while standing near the symbol of celebrations — the monument to Duke Izyaslav Bookman — and meet with famous writers and painters in order to see that the book is as precious for us today as it was for our predecessors who didn’t know other methods of information exchange. Definitely, the word won’t ever die.
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