Vitebsk

Vitebsk (Viciebs or Witebsk) is a Belarussian city situated on the North-East of the Belarus in the land of glacier lakes on the picturesque banks of the three rivers: the Zakhodnyaya Dzvina (in Russian — Zapadnaya Dvina, in old Belarusian — Rubon, in Latvian — Daugava) river, the Vitba and the Luchesa river.

It is one of the oldest settlements in Europe. According to a legend Vitebsk was founded in 974 by Princess Olga of Kiev after successful campaign against the Baltic tribe Jacviahi. But the first information about the town in chronicles was in 1021. It had sprung up on a busy road "from Varangians to Greeks" and stood witness to a great number of glorious events. Vitebsk today is a major industrial, scientific and cultural center of the republic Belarus.

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 1140's, rebuilt in the 14th and 17th centuries, repaired in 1883 and destroyed by the Communist administration in 1961.

Vitebsk today is a major industrial, scientific and cultural center of the republic Belarus. Cultural life flourishes in Vitebsk as well. The Belarusian State Academic theater named after Yakub Kolas is one of the oldest in the state. Picturesque neighborhood of Vitebsk and its ancient streets was always attractive for painters.