Posted: 21.07.2022 17:28:00

Giving joy from the first meeting

In Vitebsk, one can see amazing temples, get acquainted with the work of Chagall or go on a cruise along the Western Dvina River 


Stay for a while with Chagall, Malevich and Repin

Vitebsk has retained the flavour of cosy streets and the charm of a quiet town on the full-flowing Western Dvina River. At the beginning of the 20th century, an amazing creative environment concentrated in the ancient city, which largely determined the development of world art for decades. Chagall opened the People’s Art School in his hometown, where, together with Malevich, they turned the truism about art upside down and opened up new meanings for students. 

The Marc Chagall Art Centre

The city has preserved a small red brick house on Pokrovskaya Street. Here Marc Chagall spent his childhood and youth. If one look closely at the master’s paintings, one can identify the local domes of temples and ancient streets, miniature houses and shops with signs on them. The quiet and unpretentious life of Vitebsk inspired the artist.
During the war years, the brick building was badly damaged by bombing and fires — it survived by a miracle. In 1997, a memorial museum was opened here. The exposition contains ‘witnesses’ to the life of the famous artist — archival documents, first drawings and personal belongings. 
We advise you to finalise the tour of ‘artistic’ places in the Zdravnevo museum-reserve of I. Repin. The famous painter spent his summer periods here. With his own hands, he rebuilt a classic wooden manor into a fabulous tower, laid a linden alley and was inspired by the unpretentious provincial life, which can be seen in the Autumn Bouquet, Belarusian, In the Sun and Moonlight Night. Zdravnevo paintings.
Where: The Marc Chagall Art Centre — Putna Street 2. The Marc Chagall House-Museum — Pokrovskaya Street 11, the museum-estate — Vitebsk Region, 16 kilometres from the city.

Take a motor ship cruise 

Photo by BELTA
Be sure to check out the Church of the Annunciation, which is located on the banks of the Western Dvina River, near the Kirov Bridge. The temple was built in the traditions of ancient Russian architecture around 1120, that is, more than 900 years ago! Wars and natural disasters did not spare the unique building, but still the church was restored. And today, tourists can touch the open fragment of the original wall, which is located in the southwestern corner of the temple, to the right of the main entrance.
The snow-white Holy Assumption Cathedral rises above the river — an architectural monument of the Vilna Baroque. Citizens and tourists have been coming here for a long time to rest from daily worries, stroll in the shade of the alleys and enjoy beautiful views from the high bank. 
However, the best view of the cathedral still opens from the water. Northern Capital motor ship will take you on an unforgettable cruise. Impressions from architectural ensembles, parks and squares, ancient temples will definitely not remain ‘aground’.
Once on the shore, we advise you to take a walk to the town hall tower and look at the city from a bird’s eye view. Inside the town hall itself there is a museum of local lore. Local residents are proud of their rich collections of Masonic paraphernalia, weapons, medal art and numismatics. 
Where: Church of the Annunciation — Zamkovaya Street 1, Holy Assumption Cathedral — Krylov Street 9, City Hall — Lenin Street 36.   

To honour the heroes

The largest square in Belarus is located in the heart of Vitebsk. 380 metres long and 190 wide! At the famous Memorial Complex Three Bayonets, an eternal flame burns in honour of the heroes who liberated the city from the Nazis.

Memorial Complex Three Bayonets

The bayonets pointing into the sky symbolise the three forces that victoriously crushed the enemy: soldiers of the Soviet army, partisans and underground fighters. The monument is especially beautiful in the evening: the illumination makes it majestic and gives solemnity. Nearby are fountains and a cosy park, where it is pleasant to walk on a summer day. 
Where: Memorial Complex Three Bayonets — General Beloborodov Street 6.

Whisper a cherished wish 

All around the world, urban sculptures and monuments are of particular interest to tourists. Vitebsk is no exception. Recently, many interesting works have appeared in the city. Here one can find a monument to the family of the great commander Alexander Nevsky, who holds his son Vasily I in his arms, next to his wife — the Vitebsk princess Alexandra of Polotsk. The authors captured the moment of their meeting in Vitebsk after a long separation. The princely couple was immortalised on Millennium Square, next to the Church of the Annunciation and a wooden temple named after the commander. 

Monument to Alexander Nevsky
Photo by Anton Stepanischev

Take a look at the Vitebsk Giant — a sculpture of a stately gentleman in a top hat over three metres high! Fyodor Makhnov, a peasant from Vitebsk, who is considered the tallest man on the planet was the prototype of the Belarusian Gulliver. He lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and his height was about 285 centimetres. 
It should be noted that perhaps the most magical work is located next to the Belarusian theatre Lyalka on Pushkin Street. A good-natured genie in an oriental outfit with a turban on his head fulfils the most cherished desires — one just need to rub his lamp, which is installed nearby. A monument to a wandering musician who stretches the furs of an old harmonica on Svoboda Square will help to lure money and good luck. The townspeople assure: if one rub the artist’s nose, a wish will come true, and if one touch the coins in a bronze purse, money will come soon.
Where: Monument to Alexander Nevsky is located on the Millennium Square, the Vitebsk Giant composition — Suvorov Street 3, Old Man Khottabych sculpture — Pushkin Street 6.

Ghost of Castle Hill
It is believed that Vitebsk was founded by Princess Olga. They say that Napoleon Bonaparte also stayed here. The remarkable legends about these parts do not end there. 
Castle Hill towered over the city in the place where the Pyotr Masherov monument stands today. The Vitebsk legend about the princess is connected with it. The beauty owned untold wealth. According to legend, once a year, on the shortest night — Kupala night, she left her possessions and, having fun, scattered jewellery around her. But if the hand of an evil and greedy person touched them, they turned to dust. Another mysterious princess was a harbinger of important events. She was last seen ringing the cathedral bell before the Patriotic War of 1812.

By Kristina Khilko