Dear MidLink Magazine Readers,
We are glad to write to you again. Now you'll get more information about our native
town, its places of interest, some facts from its history.
Our native town is Vitebsk. It's wonderful. It is situated on the picturesque banks of the three rivers: the Zapadnaya Dvina river, the Vitba and the Luchsa river.
Vitebsk is one of the oldest settlements in Belarus. It was founded in 974 by Princess Olga of Kiev on the Western Dvina. It had sprung up on a busy road "from Varangians to Greeks" and stood witness to a great number of glorious events and heroic deeds. Since early times the town had been known as a "warrior". So it is not by chance that its ancient emblem featured a horseman holding a spear and shield. Vitebsk people fought under banners of Alexander Nevski, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and during the Patriotic War of 1812.
The dramatic page in the town's history is its people's revolt of 1623 when they overthrew and drowned in the Zapadnaya Dvina the odious Iosafat Kuntsevich who was trying to put the Unia yoke upon the people. Reunification with Russia has played a decisive role in the town's life. Culture, public education, science and health servise developed at a rapid pace. Vitebsk lived a full life and its people looked forward to prosperous future.
But there came the Second World War which for Vitebsk people was a very serious trial. Soviet Army soldiers and peop- le's voluntary detachments did their best to save the town. Yes, it was captured by Hitler's invaders. Yes, it was captured but never subdued.
June 26, 1944 is a remarkable date in Vitebsk's history. On this day troops of the first Baltic and second Belarusian fronts cleared the town of fascist occupants. The liberated town lay in ruins and only 118 people survived in the base- ments. In its centuries long history Vitebsk had never been devastated like that.
The town's new life began after the liberation. It was full of enthusiasm. Thanks to the strong will and vogorous ac- tivities of Vitebsk inhabitants and the brotherly assistance of all peoples of our Motherland new factories, plants, dwel- ling houses, schools, hospitals, streets and avenues were bu- ilt in place of the charred ruins.
Vitebsk today is a magor industrial, scientific and cul- tural centre of the republic. Cultural life flourishes in Vitebsk as well. The Belarusian State Academic theatre named after Yakub Kolas is one of the oldest in the republic. One can also enjoy going to the Palaces of Culture, numerous cinemas, libraries, clubs and ot- her public places.
Vitebsk was the native land of Mark Chagall, the world famous artist, who died in Paris but he always dreamed about Vitebsk. He was inspired by his native town of Vitebsk, which he often depicted in his works.
We are proud of our town. We think there is no better town in Belarus than our native Vitebsk. You are welcome to visit our town.
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