The Info List - Polotsk

or Polatsk (Belarusian: По́лацк, translit. Połack, Russian: По́лоцк, translit. Polotsk, Polish: Połock, Lithuanian: Polockas, Yiddish: פּאָלאָצק‎, translit. Polotsk)[2][3][4][5] is a historical city in Belarus, situated on the Dvina River. It is the center of the Polotsk District
Polotsk District
in Vitebsk
Voblast. Its population is more than 80,000 people.[6] It is served by Polotsk Airport and during the Cold War
Cold War
was home to Borovitsy air base.


1 Nomenclature 2 History 3 Cultural heritage 4 Sports 5 Notable people 6 Gallery 7 References 8 External links

Nomenclature[edit] The Old East Slavic name, Polotesk, derives from the Polota
River, which flows into the Western Dvina
Western Dvina
nearby. The Vikings rendered that name as Palteskja. History[edit] Main article: Principality of Polotsk

in the 16th century.

is one of the most ancient cities of the Eastern Slavs. The Primary Chronicle
Primary Chronicle
(a history of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
from about 850 to 1110, compiled in Kiev
about 1113) listed Polotsk
in 862 (as Полотескъ, /poloteskŭ/), together with Murom
and Beloozero. However, an archaeological expedition from the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
suggests that Polotsk existed in the first half of the 9th century.[7] The first known prince of Polotsk
was Rogvolod
(ruled 945–978). He had two sons and a daughter named Rogneda. Rogvolod
promised Rogneda to the prince of Kiev, Yaropolk, as a wife. But Yaropolk's brother, Vladimir, had attacked Polotsk
before Yaropolk came. He killed Rogvolod, his wife and sons, and married Rogneda. Vladimir and Rogneda had five children and the eldest of them, Izyaslav, became Prince of Polotsk
(ruled 989-1001). Between the 10th and 12th centuries, the Principality of Polotsk emerged as the dominant center of power in what is now Belarusian territory, with a lesser role played by the Principality of Turov
Principality of Turov
to the south. It repeatedly asserted its sovereignty in relation to other centers of Kievan Rus, becoming a political capital, the episcopal see and the controller of vassal territories among Balts in the west. Its most powerful ruler was Prince Vseslav Bryachislavich, who reigned from 1044 to 1101. A 12th-century inscription commissioned by Vseslav's son Boris may still be seen on a huge boulder installed near the St. Sophia Cathedral. For a full list of the Polotsk
rulers, see the list of Belarusian rulers.

The Siege of Polotsk
in 1579

In 1240, Polotsk
became a vassal of the Lithuanian princes. The Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytenis
annexed the city by military force in 1307, completing the process which the Lithuanian princes had begun in the 1250s.[8] Polotsk
received a charter of autonomy guaranteeing that the grand dukes "will not introduce new, nor destroy the old".[9] It was the earliest to be so incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.[9] By doing so, the Lithuanians managed to firmly grasp the Dvina trade route
Dvina trade route
in their hands, securing an important element for the surrounding economies.[8] Magdeburg law
Magdeburg law
was adopted in 1498. Polotsk
functioned as a capital of the Połock Voivodship
Połock Voivodship
of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
until 1772. Captured by the Russian army of Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible
in 1563, it was returned to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania just 15 years later. It was again captured by Russia
on 17 June 1654, but recaptured by Poland-Lithuania on 30 October 1660 during the Russo-Polish War (1654-67).

The main street of Polotsk
in 1865, by Dmitry Strukov

In 1773, with the First Partition of Poland, Russia
seized Polotsk (then Połock) as part of the Russian Partition
Russian Partition
of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Since the Russian Empress Catherine II did not acknowledge the Papal suppression of the Society of Jesus (1773–1814), the Jesuit branches in these lands were not disbanded, and Połock became the European centre of the Order, with a novitiate opening in 1780, and with the arrival of distinguished Jesuits from other parts of Europe who brought with them valuable books and scientific collections. Jesuits continued their pastoral work and upgraded the Jesuit College in Polotsk
Jesuit College in Polotsk
(opened in 1580 by decree of the Polish king Stefan Batory, with the Jesuit Piotr Skarga (1536-1612) as its first rector) into the Połock Academy (1812–1820), with three faculties (Theology, Languages and Liberal Arts), four libraries, a printing house, a bookshop, a theatre with 3 stages, a science museum, an art gallery and a scientific and literary periodical, and a medical-care centre. The school was also the patron of the college in Petersburg, the mission to Saratów
and an expedition to Canton. When in 1820 pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church influenced the Russian Emperor Alexander I to exile the Jesuits and to close the Academy, there were 700 students studying there.[10][11] The Russian authorities also broke up the Academy's library of 40,000-60,000 volumes, the richest collection of 16th- to 18th-century books - the books went to St. Petersburg, Kiev
and other cities, 4000 volumes (along with books from other closed Jesuit schools) going to the St. Petersburg State University Scientific Library.[12][13] That period[which?] of warfare started the gradual decline of the city. After the first partition of Poland (1772), Polotsk
became reduced to the status of a small provincial town of the Russian Empire. During the French invasion of Russia
in 1812 the area saw two battles, the First Battle of Polotsk
First Battle of Polotsk
(August 1812) and the Second Battle of Polotsk
(October 1812). Polotsk
came under occupation by the German Empire
German Empire
between 25 February 1918 and 21 November 1918 in World War I, by Poland between 22 September 1919 and 14 May 1920 in the Polish–Soviet War
Polish–Soviet War
and by Nazi Germany between 16 July 1941 and 4 July 1944 in World War II. Polotsk functioned as the center of Polatsk Voblast between 20 September 1944 and 8 January 1954. A reorganisation of the area between Vitebsk
and Molodechno voblasts left Polotsk
part of the former. Cultural heritage[edit]

View of Polotsk
in 1912

The city's Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Polotsk
(1044–1066) was a symbol of the independent-mindedness of Polotsk, rivaling churches of the same name in Novgorod
and Kiev. The name referred to the original Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
in Constantinople
and thus to claims of imperial prestige, authority and sovereignty. The cathedral had been ruined by the troops of Peter I of Russia. Hence the present baroque building by Johann Christoph Glaubitz
Johann Christoph Glaubitz
dates from the mid-18th century. Some genuine 12th-century architecture (notably Transfiguration Church) survives in the Convent of Saint Euphrosyne, which also features a neo-Byzantine cathedral, designed and built in 1893—1899 by Vladimir Korshikov.[14] Cultural achievements of the medieval period include the work of the nun Euphrosyne of Polotsk
(1120–1173), who built monasteries, transcribed books, promoted literacy and sponsored art (including local artisan Lazarus Bohsha's famous "Cross of Saint Euphrosyne," a national symbol and treasure lost during World War II), and the prolific, original Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
sermons and writings of Bishop Cyril of Turaw (1130–1182). The first Belarusian printer, Francysk Skaryna, was born in Polotsk around 1490. He is famous for the first printing of the Bible
in an East Slavic language (in Old Belarusian) in 1517, several decades after the first-ever printed book by Johann Gutenberg
Johann Gutenberg
and just several years after the first Czech Bible
(1506). In September 2003, as "Days of Belarusian Literacy" were celebrated for the 10th time in Polotsk, city authorities dedicated a monument to honor the unique Cyrillic
Belarusian letter Ў, which is not used in any other Slavic language. The original idea for the monument came from the Belarusian calligraphy professor Paval Siemchanka, who has been studying Cyrillic
scripts for many years. Sports[edit] The city has produced players for the Belarus
national bandy team.[15] In October 2011 a team planned to participate in the Russian Cup in rink bandy,[16] but did not after all. Notable people[edit]

Boris Galerkin Andrei of Polotsk Bryachislav of Polotsk Euphrosyne of Polatsk Francysk Skaryna Gabriel Lenkiewicz Izyaslav of Polotsk Mary Antin Rogneda of Polotsk Rogvolod Rogvolod
Vseslavich Sofia of Minsk, Queen of Denmark Symeon of Polotsk Vseslav of Polotsk Vyacheslav Gordanov Marina Osman Igor Shitov


Saint Sophia Cathedral

Saint Sophia Cathedral

Boris stone

Bogoyavlensky Convent

Bogoyavlensky Cathedral

Convent of Saint Euphrosyne

Convent of Saint Euphrosyne

main square with Hotel Dzvina

Railway station

Former Lutheran church

Church of Protection of Holy Virgin

Church of Andrew Babola


^ "World Gazetteer". Archived from the original on 2013-01-11.  ^ Occidental spelling according to the Belarus
Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Archived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Occidental spelling according to the official Belarus
website. ^ Occidental spelling according to "Nations Online" website. ^ Spelling according to Google Maps. ^ polotskgik.by - City ^ Archaeologists have won the dispute in the ancient chronicles of the earlier date base of Polotsk ^ a b The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1300-c. 1415. p.706 ^ a b The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1300-c. 1415. pp.769-770 ^ Symposium 2014: Jesuit Survival and Restoration 1773 - 1814: 200th Anniversary Perspectives from Boston and Macau ^ Połock Academy (1812–1820): An Example of the Society of Jesus's Endurance, by Irena Kadulska in: Robert A. MARYKS and Jonathan WRIGHT (eds.), Jesuit Survival and Restoration: A Global History, 1773–1900, Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill, 2015, ISBN 9789004282384, pp. 83-98 ^ http://adventist.narod.ru/polotski.htm ^ Stam, David H. International Dictionary of Library Histories. Chicago, Ill: Dearborn, 2001. vol 1, p. 686 ^ Savelyev, Yu. R. Vizantiysky stil v architecture Rossii (Савельев, Ю. Р. Византийский стиль в архитектуре России. - СПБ., 2005) Saint Petersburg, 2005. ISBN 5-87417-207-6, p.260 ^ Bandy Archived 2011-09-04 at the Wayback Machine. at Bandy2008 ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Polatsk.

Official site of the city of Połack - Официальный сайт города Полоцка Polotsk Polotsk
Chat Forum Polacak Photos on Radzima.org Polotsk
historic images Weather Polotsk ePOLOTSK.com Polatsk, Belarus
at JewishGen

v t e

Subdivisions of Vitebsk
Region, Belarus

Districts (raiony)

Beshankovichy Braslaw Chashniki Dokshytsy Dubrowna Haradok Hlybokaye Lepiel Liozna Myory Orsha Pastavy Polotsk Rasony Sharkawshchyna Shumilina Syanno Talachyn Ushachy Vitebsk Verkhnyadzvinsk


Baran Beshankovichy Braslaw Chashniki Dzisna Dokshytsy Dubrowna Haradok Hlybokaye Lepiel Liozna Myory Novalukoml Novopolotsk Orsha Pastavy Polotsk Syanno Talachyn Vitebsk Verkhnyadzvinsk

v t e

Members of the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
by Quarter

Chief cities shown in smallcaps. Free Imperial Cities of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
shown in italics.



Anklam Demmin Greifswald Hamburg Kolberg (Kołobrzeg) Lüneburg Rostock Rügenwalde (Darłowo) Stettin (Szczecin) Stolp (Słupsk) Stockholm Stralsund Visby Wismar


Brunswick Magdeburg

Berlin Bremen Erfurt Frankfurt an der Oder Goslar Mühlhausen Nordhausen


Danzig (Gdańsk)

Breslau (Wrocław) Dorpat (Tartu) Elbing (Elbląg) Königsberg
(Kaliningrad) Cracow (Kraków) Reval (Tallinn) Riga
(Rīga) Thorn (Toruń)


1 Dortmund

Deventer Groningen Kampen Münster Osnabrück Soest



(Bergen) Hanzekantoor

Bruges Antwerp2 

(London) Peterhof (Novgorod)


Bishop's Lynn Falsterbo Ipswich Kaunas Malmö Polotsk Pskov

Other cities

Bristol Boston Damme Leith Herford Hull Newcastle Stargard Yarmouth York Zutphen Zwolle

1 Cologne
and Dortmund
were both capital of the Westphalian Quarter at different times. 2 Antwerp
gained importance once Bruges
became inaccessible due to the silting of the Zwin

Coordinates: 55°29′N 28°48′E / 55.483°N 28.800°E / 55.483; 28.800

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 151419297 GND: 4376137-9 BNF: cb1505