Polotsk
The Old East Slavic name, Polotesk, is derived from the Polota river, that flows into Dvina nearby. Polotsk is one of the most ancient cities of the Eastern Slavs. It was mentioned for the first time by the Primary Chronicle in 862 together with Murom and Beloozero. The Norse sagas describe the city as the most heavily fortified in all of Rus.Polotsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1307, and it is said to have been the main center of trade in the state. Polotsk was a capital of Polock Voivodship of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1772. Captured by the Russian army of Ivan the Terrible in 1563, it was returned to Lithuania just 15 years later.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 and referring to the original Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (and thus to claims of imperial prestige, authority and sovereignty). The building of the Cathedral had been ruined by the troops of Peter I of Russia. That's why the present baroque building by Johann Christoph Glaubitz dates from the mid-18th century. Belarusian first 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 and just several years after the first Czech Bible (1506). Polotsk  is the center of Polotsk district in Vitsebsk Voblast. Its population is approximately 79,000. It is served by Polotsk Airport and during the Cold War was home to Borovitsy air base.