Infobox Settlement
official_name = Ві́цебск / Ви́тебск Vitsyebsk /Vitebsk
nickname =

imagesize = 250px


map_caption = Location of Vitebsk, shown within the Vitebsk Voblast
subdivision_type = Country Subdivision
subdivision_name = Belarus Vitebsk
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name =
established_title = Founded
established_date = 974
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 =
area_land_km2 =
area_water_km2 =
population_as_of = 2004
population_note =
population_total = 342,381
population_metro =
population_density_km2 =
timezone = EET
utc_offset = +2
timezone_DST = EEST
utc_offset_DST = +3
elevation_m =
postal_code = 210000
area_code = +375-21
blank_name =License plate
blank_info =2
website = []
footnotes =
Vitebsk, also known as Vitsyebsk (Belarusian: Ві́цебск, IPA2|'vʲitsʲepsk; Russian: Ви́тебск, "Vitebsk", Lithuanian language|Lithuanian: Vitebskas), is a city in Belarus, near the border with Russia and Latvia. The capital of the Vitebsk Oblast, in 2004 it had 342,381 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth largest city. It is served by Vitebsk Vostochny Airport and Vitebsk air base.


Vitebsk developed from a river harbor where the Vitba River (Віцьба, from which it derives its name) flows into the larger Dvina, which is spanned in the city by the Kirov Bridge.

Its official founding year is 974, based on an anachronistic legend that it was founded by Olga of Kiev, but the first mention in historical record is in 1021, when Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev gave it to Bryachislav Ezyaslavovitch, Duke of Polotsk. [ [ History] , Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee]

In the 12th and 13th centuries Vitebsk was the seat of a minor principality, which thrived on the crossroads of the river routes between the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas. In 1320 the city was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; in 1569 it became a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1597 Vitebsk was granted the Magdeburg Rights. In 1772 it was taken over by Russia in the First Partition of Poland.Under Imperial Russia the ancient center of Vitebsk was rebuilt in the Neoclassical style. The town was a significant shtetl in the Pale of Settlement, with around half its population Orthodox Jewish at the turn of the 20th century. The most famous of its Jewish natives was the painter Marc Chagall. In January 1991, Vitebsk celebrated the first Marc Chagall Festival. In June 1992, a monument to Chagall was erected on his native Pokrovskaja street and a memorial inscription placed on the wall of his house.

In the years 1919–1991 Vitebsk was part of the Soviet Union. During World War II, the city was under German occupation (1941-44). Up to 150,000 Jewish people were murdered during this time. Much of the old city was destroyed in the ensuing battles between the Nazis and the Red Army.

Since 1992, Vitebsk has been hosting the annual Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, an international art festival. Its main program is devoted to Slavic music. The main participants are artists from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, with guests from many other countries, both Slavic and non-Slavic.


The city long preserved one of the oldest buildings in the country, the Annunciation Church. This magnificent six-pillared building dates back to the period of Kievan Rus. It was constructed in the 1140s, rebuilt in the 14th and 17th centuries, repaired in 1883 and destroyed by the Communist administration in 1961. Scarce remains of the church were conserved until 1992, when it was restored to its presumed original appearance, although it's a moot point how the church looked like when it was first built. [ The Annunciation Church is a six-pillared building with one apse. It is built of hewn limestone quadras, each row being separated by two rows of brick, covered with a thin layer of stucco so as to emulate large blocks of stone. This technique was widespread in Byzantium; but there are only two examples north of Crimea — one in Vitebsk and another, unfinished and long ruined church in Navahradak, probably by the same team of Byzantine builders. Another extraordinary feature of the church is that its bays are equal and the central nave is square in plan. The choir gallery occupies the western bay; it adjoins two secluded chapels over the lateral aisles. Stairs leading to the gallery are built into the western wall. [] ]

Churches from the Polish-Lithuanian period were likewise destroyed, although the Resurrection Church (1772-77) is now being rebuilt. The Orthodox cathedral, dedicated to the Intercession of the Theotokos, was erected in 1760. There are also the town hall (1775); the Russian governor's palace, where Napoleon celebrated his 43rd birthday in 1812; the Neo-Romanesque Roman Catholic cathedral (1884-85); and an obelisk commemorating the centenary of the Russian victory over Napoleon.

Other remarkable architectural structures

At Vitebsk, there is a lattice steel TV tower carrying a horizontal cross on which the antenna mast is guyed. This tower, which is nearly identical to that at Grodno, but a few metres less tall ( 245 metres in Vitebsk versus 254 metres at Grodno) was completed in 1983.

Natives of Vitebsk

* Zhores Ivanovich Alferov, physicist
* S. Ansky, playwright, author of "The Dybbuk".
* Marc Chagall, famous painter
* Yehuda Pen, painter
* Joseph Günzburg
* Leon Kobrin, playwright
* Immanuel Velikovsky, psychiatrist/psychoanalyst and controversial author
* Kazimierz Siemienowicz, an engineer, pioneer of rocketry.
* Simeon Strunsky (born, 1879) author in New York City
* Joseph Solman (born 1909), American painter
* Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk (born 1730), Hasidic Rebbe
* Isser Harel (born 1912) Israeli intelligence chief
* Tanya Dziahileva (born 1991), top model
* Leonid Afremov, painter
* Lazar Lagin, Writer


* "Shishanov V.A." Vitebsk Museum of Modern Art: history of creation and collection. 1918-1941. - Minsk: Medisont, 2007. - 144 p. In Russian. [Минск/Belarus/Russian/qx/russian/books/product.asp]


External links

* [ city Vitebsk]
* [ Vitebsk regional museum]
* [ Shishanov V.A. Vitebsk Museum of Modern Art(1918-1941)]
* [ Marc Chagall Museum in Vitebsk]
* [ Tourist support in Vitebsk]
* [ Vitebsk summer festival]
* []
* []
* [ Official site of the Department of Internal Affairs Vitebsk executive committee]
* [ of Arms]
* [ Photos on]
* [ Shtetl: Vitebsk]
* [ Historic images of Vitebsk]
* [ Slavic Bazaar]
* [ News of Vitebsk]
* [ Forum of Vitebsk]
* [ Your personal Vitebsk city-guide]
* [ Weather Vitebsk]
* [ Cultural forum of cultural capital]
* [ Photo.Vitebsk]
* [ Goods and Services]
* [ Health resort of Vitebsk]
* [ Museum - manor I.E.Repin’s Zdravnevo]

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