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Vitebsk area occupies the Northern part of Belarus and shares borders with Lithuania, Latvia and Russia. Vitebsk area is a little more than forty thousand square kilometers, which gives reason to call it the second largest of the six regions of the country.

Vitebsk area is located within the Belarusian Poozerie (“land of lakes”), and has the highest density of the river network in the country. It’s also Number 1 for the number and total area of lakes. Such big rivers as Western Dvina and the Dnieper, flow through Vitevsk area. The large lakes (Osveyskoe, Lukomskoe, Drivyaty, Snudy, Nescherdo, Ezerishche, Strusto and Obsterno) along with smaller water reservoirs are actively used for recreation.

1 Озеро Струсто.jpg The Strusto Lake in the National Park "Braslav lakes"

40% of Vitebsk area is covered with forest. Rossonsky district is known as the thickest local woodland. Thus nature - one of the main resources of the Vitebsk area! —  is carefully protected here. There are 3 national parks on the territory of this region: "Braslav Lakes", “Berezinsky”, and partially "Narochansky", as well as dozens of smaller local sanctuaries and natural reserves.

2.jpg Vitebsk downtown

The administrative center of the Vitebsk area is located in Vitebsk. The major cities are Polotsk, Novopolotsk, Orsha, and Novolukoml. The region is administratively divided into 21 districts with a population of 1 million 180 thousand people, most of whom live in the urban areas.

History

According to archaeologists, the first settlements on the territory of the modern Vitebsk area appeared in the early Stone Age. There were also found settlements of the Bronze Age and Iron Age. The usual archaeological sites are hill forts and mounds. The most ancient Principality on the local lands was Polotsk, located in the basins of the Western Dvina, Berezina and partially Neman rivers. It was on the trade route "from the Vikings to the Greeks", which was very important in the ancient Slavic world. The first Polotsk was mentioned in a manuscript of 862 AD.

At the end of the XIII - beginning of the XIV centuries Vitebsk, Polotsk, Drutsky and Lukoml principalities were included into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The cities of Polotsk and Vitebsk developed into the major cultural and trading centers. The high level of wealth allowed them to expand, to establish new trading connections, to build cathedrals, monasteries, and to open schools at those. Later Polotsk and Vitebsk principalities were transformed into provinces. Nevertheless, Polotsk, Vitebsk, and Orsha, with their Magdeburg law, were still the major trade and craft centers. They were proud with a developed system of education at the various monasteries, most of which were Orthodox. At the beginning of the XVII century, Vitebsk lands became part of The Polish State (Rzeczpospolita), and Catholicism began to prevail in the region. In 1796, a new administrative unit appeared on the maps: the Mogilev and Pskov governorates, as well as the Polotsk governorate became part of the Belarusian province with the center inVitebsk, six years later renamed into Vitebsk province.

In 1919, Vitebsk province entered the Soviet Russia. In the 20s, Vitebsk and its surroundings were an important economic center with many manufacturing and textile enterprises. The modern Vitebsk region appeared on January 15, 1938 as a result of the Resolution of the 1st session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of the first convocation. It was composed of 20 districts. A year later the Vitebsk Executive Committee started its work. During the World War II, Vitebsk region was under occupation for several years. During this time, thousands of settlements were destroyed and burned. The liberation of the region began in the autumn of 1943 and continued in the summer of 1944 during the military operation “Bagration”.

Now there are 21 districts in the Vitebsk area: Vitebsk, Beshenkovichi, Verkhnedvinsk, Glubokoye, Gorodok, Dokshitsy, Dubrovno, Lepel, Liozno, Orsha, Polotsk, Postavy, Rossony, Senno, Tolochin, Ushachi, Chashniki, Sharkovshchina, Shumilino.

Agriculture and agro-tourism are developing in the area, Novopolotsk, Orsha, and Novolukoml are also the major industrial centers.

The reasonsto visit Vitebsk area

To take a trip to the largest bog in the country, to eat cranberries at the special festival, and to observe thousands of crane

The bog of Yelnya in Vitebsk area is 9 000 years old. It appeared after the European glaciation and has the status of the largest bog in Belarus and one of the largest in Europe. Its area extends over 200 000 km2 (77 220 mi2). Most of the local lakes, which are more than a hundred, are clean enough to drink water from those. Yelnya is a real “land of birds”, with more than 90 species of those live here. It is the place where cranes make a month long stop in the autumn on their way to South Africa for the winter. The Yelnya wetland breaks the gloomy stereotypes about swamps. Of course, it’s a place where many tourists come. A few years ago a wooden deck was built 1.5 km (almost a mile) deep into Yelnya, ending at a clean lake where everyone can swim. People go to Yelnya to see the yellowish-red and brown colors of the moss carpet, the purple heather, and the scattering of blue, red and orange dots of blueberries, cranberries, cranberries, cloudberries and blueberries. Even more impressions can be obtained if you walk across the waving ground of the swamp with the special “swamp steps”on your boots.

3 озеро Курганистое.jpg Kurganistoye Lake is one of the most beautiful places on the giant bog

At the end of September the ecological “Cranes and cranberry festival”. Yelnya has a huge reserve of these very healthy berries. At the festival one can learn how, where and when to pick cranberry, what to do with berries, how to store, try different meals with it, and of course buy cranberries. Cranberry ripen in September-October and stays through the winter, so one can pick it even after a snowfall.

Cranberry is very popular in Belarus. It blossoms for 18 days in May with light purple and pink flowers on a thin stem. It is rich in vitamins PP, B, C, phylloquinone, potassium and tannins. Cranberry is used to make fruit drinks, jelly, juices, the traditional Slavic soft drink “kvass”, and jam, while its leaves can be added to tea. On holidays they drink a strong cranberry liquor "Zhuravinka", and as a gift to foreign guests they take cranberries in sugar coats. The cranberry festival is also attended by birds that gave cranberry its name. During the autumn migration, you can see up to 400 thousand cranes on Yelnya. The key participant of the festival, the organization "Protection for the Birds of Belarus" run the birding tours guided by experienced ornithologists. Only a few kilometers away from the festival place one can see those graceful red-listed birds through the lens of a scope.

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To relax on the Braslav lakes

The town of Braslav started to use its tourist potential back in the early XX century. The local air full of the healing pine odor, lakes, and the hilly landscape made the town to be an attractive place. Braslav lakes are well known to tourists. There is one of the largest groups of lakes in Belarus around Braslav, it includes more than fifty lakes. The Central part of that group is named as “Braslav lakes”. The most famous of them are Drivyaty, Tsno, Nespish, Nedrovo, Potsekh, Voiso, Boloiso, Strusto, Snudy, Volos Severny and Volos Yuzhny, connected to each other by the Druika River and canals. The Obstern group of 13 lakes on the border of the Braslav and Mior districts is less known, but not less attractive. Uklya, Obsterno, Nobisto, Ikazn  lakes are the most picturesque of those.

5 Слободковская озовая гряда.jpg Slodkowska chain of lakes

The national Park "Braslav lakes" was created in the mid-90s here, it was designed to preserve the natural resources of the region.  Camping on the local lakes is only possible in the designated areas. For those who don’t like camping there are plenty of eco-barns and hotels around Braslav.

To find the addresses of Marc Chagall in Vitebsk

Vitebsk is the birthplace of Marc Chagall. The city attracts the art professionals, also thousands of tourists come here to find the address of the world famous artist.

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Address #1: 11 Pokrovskaya Str. It is the former home of Marc Chagall, and now his House Museum opened in 1997. It is believed that the family of the future artist moved here after a big fire from a poor quarter (called Peskovatiki) on the left Bank of the Dvina. It was the place where Marc spent his childhood: here he was playing, in his parents' house he exhibited his drawings for the first time. In the next door house, where he was renting a shop when he already was an artist recognized in Europe, he created the "Vitebsk series" of works, which are now in private collections of St. Petersburg, Paris, in museums of New York and Moscow. City architects are thinking of creating a Shagall’s quarter on Pokrovskaya Street with the facilities for visitors. Now this street has a too industrial appearance with its factory buildings. However, the Chagall's birthday on July 7 is annually celebrated on the street and in the courtyard of the Museum. The “Mark and Bella party” is a night of music, poems, songs, dances and theatrical performances.

Address #2: Malaya and Bolshaya Ilyinskaya Str. Now this street is named “Revolutionary Str.”, but in the past it used to be named after the Iliya (Elijah) Church, which is gone now. A synagogue appeared on the street in the early XX century. At that time there were more than 50 synagogues and prayer houses in Vitebsk. In today's Vitebsk, the synagogue in Revolutionary Street is the only one which ruins have been preserved… Perhaps Chagall's father was visiting this synagogue, maybe also Chagall himself. At least, the trips to the synagogue were the most vivid childhood memories of the artist. Later, he will make many paintings with Vitebsk synagogues, and their interiors. Among those such works as "Synagogue", and "Studies of the Bible".

Address #3: the corner of Bolshaya Mogilevskaya and Rozhdestvensky pass. Now the building of the former four-class school, where Chagall entered in 1900, stands in Lenin Str. 24/15, and belongs to the city center for education. Chagall was a low-achieving student, in grade 3 he wasn’t even passed to the next year. However he was always praised and set as an example in geometry and drawing calsses.

Address # 4: Bukharin Str., 10. In 1918 being the Comissar of Arts of the Vitebsk province (it’s really remarkable that immediately after the Revolution and even before the Civil War the Russian Bolsheviks established Comissariates (“Ministries”) of art!) Chagall opened the People's Art School, where the famous artists Yudel Pan, Vera Ermolaeva, El Lisitsky, and Kazimir Malevich were invited as teachers. The school building has been preserved. In this monument of architecture of the XIX century there is now a Museum; the street has been renamed after Marc Chagall.

Address #5: 2 Putna street. The two-story brick building on the Bank of the Dvina river used to be an apartment building, but since 1990 it is the art center of Marc Chagall with original works of the artist. It keeps 300 graphic works by Chagall, including the illustrations for Gogol's poem "Dead souls". Most of the works are exhibited in summer, during the high tourist season. The Art Center has a rich library with publications devoted to the life and work of Chagall, And history of art.

To learn more about the life and work of Chagall in Vitebsk, one can also visit the performances dedicated to the artist in the local theater of Yakub Kolas and the puppet theater "Lyalka".

To visit the city of museums, to buy a guide to Polotsk of the beginning of the last century, and to talk to the head of Gabriel Gruber

The “town of museums” in Vitebsk area is certainly Polotsk. Besides being itself a remarkable historical place with its old streets, monuments, and cathedrals, Polotsk also has really many museums. The Museum of the history of architecture is located in the St. Sophia Cathedral, the art gallery in one of the buildings of the former Jesuit College of Polotsk. There is also a Museum of Poozerye’s traditional manual weaving,and the children's Museum, the Museum of Belarusian book-printing, and the Library-Museum. The last one is located in the former school of Polotsk Epiphany female monastery. The Museum of History occupies the building of the former Lutheran Church, while the only “museum of one street” in Belarus (“A Walk along Nizhne-Pokrovskaya Str.") is located in the house of Russian Tsar Peter I. The Museum of Nature and Ecology with its observation point is located in the old water tower. While visiting the building of the former Jesuit Collegium, one can see the mechanical head of Gabriel Gruber, and to have a talk with it! This engineer, which used to teach Technical Sciences in Polotsk at the end of the XVIII century, can reply you in Russian, Belarusian, English and Latin. After having this conversation, one should try hot chocolate according to the old Gruber's recipe (with spices and ginger) and listen to the mechanical piano. And after having a walk through the “exhibition of one street”, a visitor may want to buy the guide around Polotsk of 1910, published for the St. Euphrosynya celebrations.

The Museum collections include about one 100 000 Museum items distributed across 35 collections. The expositions are supplemented with QR codes, and audio guides in English. Reference information is always available in the info-centers. The Museum poster is full of events-quests, theatrical excursions, and the thematic exhibitions. Walking around the “museum town” is easier with a single ticket that opens the doors of all 11 museums.

7 Мемориал.jpg Monument to the heroes of the war of 1812 in Polotsk

There are other places worth visiting in Polotsk. One of them is a private Museum of medieval chivalry. First mentioned in 862 in the "Tale of bygone years", the town of Polotsk on the banks of the Western Dvina River looks like a Museum itself. Being one of the oldest Belarusian cities, it tops the list of places attracting the history lovers.

To listen to the "live orchestra" in the Berezinsky reserve

The Berezinsky National Park, a part of the UNESCO world network of biosphere reserves, is also located in Vitebsk area. With a total area of 85.2 hectares (213 ac), it is located in the northern part of the country on the border of Vitebsk and Minsk areas. The reserve has different types of woodlands, meadows and swamps – including a vast and unique swamp massifs, overgrown with black alder. It’s also the land of numerous rivers (including the Berezina River) and lakes. The rare species of birds and animals can be observed here. It’s the home of beavers, otter, badgers, ospreys, black storks, gray cranes, golden and white-tailed eagles, and many others. The territory of the Berezinsky reserve is the place where "the big five" of large mammals (moos, bison, wolf, lynx and brown bear) live in the wild. The local population of bears includes 1/3 of these animals of Belarus. The reserve has developed hiking, biking, horse riding, skiing, and combined routes - as well as exciting canoeing trips along the Berezina water system, which used to be a part of the ancient merchants’ way "from the Vikings to the Greeks".

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The forest zoo is also open to the public. On 12 hectares (30 ac) in the pine forest visitors can see the moos, bison, bear, lynx, wolf, deer, fallow deer, wild boars, roes, foxes, and raccoon dogs.

Local Architecture

The approximate date of construction of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk is between 1044 and 1060. It was the first stone сhurch on the territory of Belarus. The Cathedral on the right bank of the Western Dvina River looked majestic and solemn, those days it was a real symbol of the Prince’s power. Today there is only the authentic ancient basement, parts of the apse, pillars and walls that remained from the construction of the XI century. Visitors can see all this, as well as fragments of masonry and frescoes of the XI century, and hear numerous stories about Sophia in the Museum operating at the temple. Well, those who love the organ music can listen to it in the concert hall of St. Sophia Cathedral, which is one of the best in Europe.

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One of the oldest Orthodox monasteries in the Belarusian lands is the Spaso-Euphrosyne monastery in Polotsk, founded by St. Euphrosyne and opened in 1125. The Euphrosyne of Polotsk Church, the Holy Cross Church, the "warm" Church, two-storey residential house, the gate with a belfry, combined with residential monastery building, and the basements of the temple-tomb which existed in the XII–XVII centuries  - all the above makes up the architectural ensemble of the monastery. Faces of saints created by artists of the XII century can be seen on the walls and columns of the church. The monastery has a tourist office, visitors can enjoy the hotel rooms and meals.

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The Church of St. John the Baptist in the village of Kamai is more than 400 years old. Built in 1603-1606 it is considered to be one of the oldest Catholic churches in Belarus. It has been operating without obstacles for all 4 crnturies. The building belongs to the rarest type of temples — the fortress-churches. The silhouette of the church is created by towers 16 meters high and 5 meters in diameter (52 ft and 16 ft). During the Northern War between the Russian Empire and Sweden, the church was attacked by the Swedes -cannonballs of those times are built into the 2 m (almost 7 ft) thick walls. The vaults inside are decorated in the technique of grisaille, the interior is decorated with four wooden altars. More than a hundred items of historical value are stored in this church. Among them there is the icon of the Mother of God of the XVII century, wooden statues of Peter and Paul, and the oldest organ in Belarus. Next to the temple there is an old stone cross of XV-XVI centuries of 2.5 m (8 ft) height with a triangular niche for the crucifixion, carved from a granite boulder.

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The Holy Dormition Church in Sarye from the middle of the XIX century is one of the most expressive neo-Gothic Church in Belarus. It was built as a Catholic Shrinhurchee, later it was passed to the Orthodoxies.  The author of the project was the Prussian architect Gustav Schacht, who took up the work at the request of the Saryan landowner Ignatius Lopatinsky. After burying his young and beautiful wife Ignatius wanted  the temple to remind him about his loss, as well as to express the depth of his feelings in architecture.

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Trinity Church in Vidzy was also built in the neo-Gothic style. It is a church of the early XX century. It was badly damaged during the wars of the last century. The ammunition from the World War I are still immured in the walls. The Vidzy Church is perhaps one of the highest in Belarus: the height of its spires is 59 m (194 ft). One can get on the tower of the Church by a narrow ladder to see the panorama of the place, the Disna River,and the neighboring Lithuania.

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The village of Mosar in the Glubokoye district of the Vitebsk area is also worth a visit. The village is proud of the Church of St. Anne built in 1792. The flourishing of the village is associated with the catholic priest Joseph Bulka. Now the tourist and pilgrimage complex consists of the church, the historic gate and fence of the XIX century, the bell tower, the park, a number of monuments and sculptures, an ostrich farm, and other facilities. Priest Bulka initiated the creation of the only anti-alcohol Museum in Belarus in the 90s of the XX century, which became a symbol of the fight against drunkenness. The Museum is located in a small wooden building near the Church of St. Anne. The vodka-producing devices of the local villagers, bottles from under strong drinks, and cups for drinking became the exhibits. Over time the exhibition also included propaganda posters and receipts of villagers that they give up with drinking alcohol.

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It is possible to devote a separate excursion to the shrines of Vitebsk - the Dormition Church, the Church of the Resurrection and the Church of St. Barbara rise above the city. The Church of the Annunciation is worth visiting first of all because of its old age. This monument of ancient Polotsk architecture of the XII century stands on the left bank of the Western Dvina. Probably the church was built by Byzantine craftsmen, alternating dolomite hewn blocks with 2-3 rows of plinth. In 1961, the church was partially demolished - in its place they wanted to build a turning tram circle. It was rebuilt in the 90s on old foundations, preserving the masonry of ancient walls, which survived to a height of 5 metres.

This mysterious place near Polotsk is called the "Belarusian Stonehenge". The stones here are not as big as in the famous Wiltshire County complex and stand in a different order - those that rise above the ground form the Cyrillic letter "P". The group of stones on Lake Yanovo are of interest to local historians, archaeologists and even ufologists. The place is undoubtedly ancient and energy-charged. It is possible that the stars were watched here, using the complex as an archaeological astronomical observatory, the Bathroom was celebrated here and mysterious rituals were performed. The monument has now been given the status of historical and cultural value, which is quite often visited by tourists.

The Vitebsk region is deservedly called the Lake District. There are many of them and each one is worth visiting, but let us stop at the biggest, most mysterious and where Cmok probably lives.

Lake Osveya, with its islands, is the second largest in Belarus. Du Island is the largest in Belarus with an area of 5 square kilometres. This ancient Finno-Ugric name is translated as "lake". On modern maps, the largest island in the country is marked with the name Island. This was the name of the island village, which had over fifty yards with a shop, a farm, its own club and a diesel substation. It was possible to reach the island by boat, on foot or sleigh on ice, and after the war by ferry. It became deserted in the 1970s. The island is now recognised as a sanctuary where wolves and elks live, and a good place to watch birds. There will probably be special places on the island for photo hunting, from where you can catch a whiteheaded eagle or a white heron. The second island on Lake Osvejskoye is floating. Not fixed to the bottom, it moves slowly on the surface of the lake, which has an area of 54 square kilometres, with an average speed of 1-1.5 kilometres per hour, depending on the wind. The structure of the island, which locals have nicknamed Master and Ghost Island, resembles a nest. Instead of soil, intertwined algae, roots and branches. You can walk on them, but it is dangerous. Most probably in winter, when Osveya is covered in ice. The vegetation on the island consists of flexible trees and shrubs, loved by birds. Each year, it increases in size because it gathers everything in its path during the swim and, together with other smaller but smaller floating islands, contributes to the waterlogging of the lake.

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Lake Nescherdo, the third largest lake in Belarus, is called one of the most mysterious and beautiful lakes in the Vitebsk region. Not far from the lake, in the village of Muragi, there was the house where Jan Barshchevsky, the author of the famous collection Schlyahtsich Zavalnya, an album of Belarus in fantastic Apavyadnya, was born. The writer loved to walk around the surroundings and walked around Nescherdo more than once. By the way, the lake has the longest coastline in the country, which totals over 50 km. They say that if you walk along the shore of Nescherdo at sunset or dawn, you will hear the ringing of a wooden church standing on a mountain in the middle of the lake. This is what Barshchevsky wrote about in the legend of the Knyazhu volley. Before you go to the land of fantastic stories, you can go to a play for adults at the Lyalka Theatre in Vitebsk called "The Slaughtered Soul, as Pakaranne Graeshnika", based on works by Yan Barshchevsky.

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There are at least a few dozen lakes in Belarus where a chick or dragon can live. One of them is in Lepelshchina. The Tsmok living in the lake on which Lepel stands has not been seen for a long time, but locals are convinced that it is possible to see it at a certain time. They say that fishermen used to disappear on Lepel Lake, but after a while their boats, which had been eaten in half, were found by the shore. The fishermen themselves were probably eaten by angry dicks who were dissatisfied with the fact that fish were being dragged out of their lake. A few years ago, a monument to a local tzmok was erected on the lake embankment, which Vladimir Korotkevich described in detail in his story "Christ Landed in Grodno". It is likely that the Lepel castle may become one of the mysterious symbols of the region, which has several mysterious lakes in its vicinity. For example, Lake Dragon, where it is theoretically possible to build an entire residence of the castle. Or the Saint, at the bottom of which there is a church - in quiet, sunny weather, at great depths you can see the poppet of the temple and hear the bell ringing.

Celebrities

Euphrosinia Polotskaya, an educator, first printer, humanist philosopher, writer and medical scientist Francis Skorina, theologian, poet and translator Simeon Polotskiy were born in Polotsk. The writer Vladimir Orlov is one of his contemporaries. Yan Barshchevsky, a writer, poet and one of the founders of the new Belarusian literature, was born in Muragi, Polotsk district. Vitebsk is home to artists Mark Chagall, Yudel Pan, a physics scientist Jaures Alferov and a photographer Sigismund Yurkovsky. From Vitebsk district - ethnographer and folklorist Nikolay Nikiforovsky and historian, archaeologist Alexey Sapunov. The writer Vladimir Korotkevich was born in Orsha. Zoologist Alexey Byalynitsky-Birulya was born near Orsha. In Bychki, Ushachsky district, the memory of Vasily Bykov is kept. Sculptor Zair Azgur started his way to Silence in Sennenshchina. Born in Glubochiny were the founder of the National Belarusian Theatre Ignatius Buinitsky, painter, sculptor and ethnographer Yazep Drozdovich. "The Father of Modern Hebrew" Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (Perelman) was from Luzhkov, Disnensky County.

Events

The richest festival poster is in the administrative centre of the region. The international arts festival "Slavic Bazaar in Vitebsk" has been involved in event tourism for almost three decades. For many travellers, the arts forum is an occasion to visit Vitebsk. In recent years, the festival has become more and more street-format, and in addition to the international competition, the programme also includes new forms of solo concerts - the festival "On Seven Winds", "Puppet Quarter", "Musical Evenings in the Philharmonic Society", sports competitions, processions and parades. For three decades now, the IFMC Festival of Contemporary Choreography has been held in Vitebsk. Dance campaigns, renowned choreographers and world premieres in the multifaceted direction of contemporary dance perform on the Vitebsk stage for several festival days. Alongside traditional events such as the Sollertinsky Festival, many new events appear, each of which is worth a visit. These include the young festival "Cardboard", poetry readings "Baradulinki" and "Fotakrok" by Sigismund Yurkovsky. The organ music festival "Zvany Safii" is held at St Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk. It is a landmark event in the music world. Since the cathedral's custom-made organ, built by the Czech company Rieger Kloss, appeared in 1985, the concert hall has given around 300 concerts annually. In spring, connoisseurs of the sound of a keyboard and wind instrument come to St. Sophia Cathedral to participate in a festival of ancient and contemporary chamber music. The celebration of the Mother of God Day of the Braslav lakes gathers thousands of believers in Braslav. The main celebrations take place at the church - on stage as a ship sailing along the lakes. The Viva Braslav Youth Festival on the banks of the Drivya River has become one of the most popular music opera houses in the country in a short time. The Sprava Festival in White Church has a more chamber format. The event has transformed the village, making it an atmospheric place. The ruins of an old church on the peninsula have become the main festival site. The mythology festival "Visit Lepelski Tsmok" is suitable for lovers of mythology. The Lepelsky Tsmok, which lives in this lake, becomes a visiting card of the region. For lovers of historical reconstruction, there are the Rubon medieval cultural festivals in Polotsk and the Bračyslava Sword on Zamková Hill in Braslav. The gastronomic direction is supported by the Cranberry Festival "Cranes and Cranes of the Mursk Region" and the Cherry Festival in Deep. The festival is held in July. Participants compete for the title of the best cherry-bone shooter and bet on cherry snail races. A few years ago, a cherry orchard was planted on one and a half thousand trees near Glubokoe - an occasion to see the Belarusian cherry "khanami". Another gastrofest is the "Blueberry Festival" in Polotsk. It starts at six in the morning, when participants armed with baskets and buckets follow blueberries into the forest. The competition lasts several hours, and the picker with the most berries wins. The festivities continue in the city. And the main treat on it is a multi-metre blueberry pie.

What to bring home from Vitebsk area?

Linen products are brought as souvenirs from the Vitebsk region. The Orsha flax mill, which produces clothes, linens and accessories, operates under the Belaruskiy Linen brand. Tourists often visit the Belwest and Marko branded shoe shops. They bring edible souvenirs - cheeses from Braslav, Postav, Polotsk, Verkhnedvinsk and Lepel. Vitebsk meat products are famous for their "MeatVit", "Vitkon Product", "Ganna", "Grandma's delicacies" of Gluboka meat processing plant, "Gourmet Mara" from Gorodok. Sweet brands include Vitba and Karavay Pridvinya. Candy cloves and cranberries in sugar are brought from Glubokoe. The company "Arzhanitsa" produces cranberries in icing sugar, chocolate glazed with coconut and peanuts, sets of sweets, marmalade, jam, syrups from wild and garden cranberries. In each historical centre there are souvenirs with city emblems and city symbols on stationery, clothing and accessories. In bookstores you can buy photo albums and postcards with views of places you like. And for someone, a souvenir from the Vitebsk region will be commemorative trophies after a successful hunt.

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