Grodno

 

      The Grodno region is in the North-West of Belarus and has borders with Poland and Lithuania. The center of the region is the city of Grodno with the 309,000 pax. 

      The greatest wealth of the Grodno region is its magnificent tracts of forests that occupy more than the third of its territory. In the south-west of the region located the famous “Belavezhskaya Pushcha” National Park included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

      The history of the region, marked by opposition and further peaceful co-existence of the Baltic and Slavonic nationalities, left its traces on the territory. Novogrudok was the place, where Belarusian statehood originated and other cities of the region were the first to receive self-government according to the Magdeburg Law. A most famous place in the region is the above-mentioned Mir Castle, which received quite a “habitable” look after restoration. “The Red Castle” is the place of real pilgrimage of tourists, though there is another very interesting monument there — the ruins of the Novogrudok Castle (14–17th cents.), the gray stones of which remind us of previously formidable fortifications, towers and a palace.

       The Grodno region has also examples of unique architecture — military churches. In the 15–16th cents. lots of Orthodox churches had to be also castles — for better defense from enemy attacks and that is reflected in their structures, which have a look of fortified castles with towers. The fortress-churches can be seen in Zeiveny (late 15th cent.) and Shchuchin (16th cent.) districts. In Smorgon it would be interesting to visit a Calvinian cathedral of the 16th century.

       The fortress of Grodno, built at the Neman river shores in the 11th century, has turned now into a modern city, in which, fortunately, there have been preserved more monuments of architecture than in any other city of Belarus. The Government declared the historical center of Grodno as special architectural zone under the State protection. Have a walk on Grodno pavements and you will feel its charm. Climb to the Castle Hill and watch the Old and New castles. The principal Catholic church at the Sovietskaya square has long ago become the center of the city — the grandeur of the interior in this church, built in the 16th century, is particularly impressive. The earliest of the preserved churches is the Kolozhskaya one (12th cent.). Franciscan (17th cent.) and Bernardino’s (16th cent.) Catholic churches are worth attention, too.