Sights of Vitebsk.
This page contains a collection of well-known attractions of Vitebsk – churches and cathedrals, museums, parks, theaters, monuments – with names, photos, descriptions, addresses and marks on the map for the tourist. For museums there is information about opening hours and entrance fees. All attractions are collected on the map – for convenient studying and route planning.
The city of Vitebsk is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, located at the confluence of the Western Dvina and Vitsba rivers. According to legend, the city was founded by Princess Olga in 974, and it was first mentioned in chronicles in 1021. Situated at the crossroads of important trade routes, Vitebsk could not but become a center of craft and trade.
The city endured many ordeals, and it suffered particularly hard during World War II, when many architectural monuments, enterprises, and whole neighborhoods were destroyed.
Today Vitebsk is one of Belarus’ developing industrial centers, with a rich scientific and cultural life. The city authorities are reverent about the heritage of the past centuries, and this can be seen in the condition of the old buildings, churches, and streets.
Make your own itinerary and learn more about the city and the impression it makes, you can use the reviews of Vitebsk sights: tourists share useful information and passwords.
What to see in Vitebsk. Where to go
Vitebsk City Hall was built in 1597 as a celebration of the city’s complete freedom and independence.
The summer amphitheater in Vitebsk is famous for the fact that a festival has been held on its stage for three decades.
A monument to Prince Olgerd stands on Voskresenskaya (also known as Ratushnaya and formerly as Rynkovaya) square in .
Historically, there is a fairly large Catholic community in Belarus. In 1785, the .
The Marc Chagall Art Center is located in the Square of Heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812 on the bank of the Dvina River in a small .
In Vitebsk connoisseurs of fine art, as well as all those interested can visit the house where he lived.
The monument to Marc Chagall is located in the center of Vitebsk, at the intersection of Pokrovskaya Street and Sovetskaya Armia Street. It is world famous.
Vitebsk sights on the map
- City info
- Weather in Vitebsk
- Vitebsk map
- Where to go
- Sights (21)
- Parks (5)
- Zoos (1)
- Temples, Cathedrals and Mosques (8)
- Museums (6)
- Clubs, concert venues (1)
- Theaters (2)
- Festivals, Holidays, Shows (1)
- Castles, palaces (1)
- Squares (1)
- Bridges (2)
- Galleries (1)
All the main places of interest are concentrated, as one should, in the historical center of the city, but this doesn’t mean that the more distant districts are of no interest.
In the center you can walk along Suvorova Street, the main city promenade with the buildings of the XVIII-XIX centuries. And on the whole the quarter formed by Tolstoy, Lenin, Putna and Griboyedov Streets is a place of tourist attraction. The famous Assumption Cathedral, City Hall, Marc Chagall Art Center, Olgerd monument, Governor’s Palace – in a word, almost everything from the list of must see is here.
If, however, to deviate from the main streets and pay attention to the remote corners of Vitebsk, among the places worthy of a visit, it is impossible not to note the Mazurino Park, the Church of St. Barbara, St. Mark’s Monastery and the Church of Jesus the Merciful.
The farther from Vitebsk, the more interesting it is. For example, 16 km from the city, in the village of Ruba there is an estate of Ilya Repin Zdravnevo, where the environment in which he lived is reconstructed and the collection of the museum contains his watercolors, paintings and photographs.
Particularly lucky travelers who have a private car, should take a trip to nearby Orsha, 87 km from Vitebsk, about an hour and a half away. It’s a small ancient (1067) town, cozy and well-kept. You should first of all visit the Jesuit Collegium, the Ethnographic Museum “Mlyn” and the monastery of Bogoyavlensky Kuteinsky, and then just take a walk along the quiet streets. The trip will take at least half a day, but the rest of the time you can devote to the evening of Vitebsk, the more important buildings picturesquely illuminated. Other places of interest in the Vitebsk region.
Top 22 Best Sights of Vitebsk
Vitebsk is a large administrative center in the north-eastern part of Belarus, located on the bank of the Western Dvina River. It is a cozy and hospitable city where architectural monuments harmoniously coexist with modern squares, houses and stadiums.
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Who goes to Vitebsk and why?
Vitebsk, founded by Princess Olga, was first mentioned in chronicles in 1021. Despite the impressive age of the city, there are few ancient sights left. Fires often raged here in ancient times, so many buildings have not survived to this day.
The iconic architecture is concentrated in the historic center of Vitebsk. Strolling through the old town you can see the town hall, the Land Bank, aristocratic mansions of the XVII-XVIII centuries.
Vitebsk is the birthplace of the famous artist Marc Chagall. Every year Shagal Days are held here, attracting art lovers from different countries. During the festival, people explore the work of the great artist, attend theatrical performances, dance evenings and exhibitions.
In July, guests descend on “Slavic Bazaar”. The international festival, invented to improve cultural ties between people, includes pop song selections, solo concerts of famous artists, arts and crafts exhibitions.
An international festival of contemporary choreography starts here in fall. The event brings together dancers from near and far abroad. For several days jury evaluates the technical level of participants and selects the best nominees.
There is also a lot of entertainment for active people in Vitebsk. The paintball club “Ninja” is very popular; it offers outdoor recreation, the ice rink “Iceberg” in the shopping center “Mega”, boat trips on the river.
In the children’s park near the waterfront a new entertainment town was recently opened. It offers volleyball courts, trampolines, electric cars, bicycles, merry-go-rounds for kids and a cafe.
Historical sites and architecture
Suvorovskaya street in the center of Vitebsk is a pedestrian area. It preserves the unique buildings of the XVIII-XIX centuries. On both sides of the cobblestone sidewalk in the shade of trees there are beautiful benches, nice cafes and souvenir shops.
For a long time the street was called Uzgorskaya. The modern name it received on the day of the 100th anniversary of the death of the commander. Suvorovskaya street is 1,300 meters long. It is part of the “Golden Ring of Vitebsk” and is considered a historical landmark of the city.
The main square of Vitebsk occupies an area of 7.22 hectares. In its center there is a memorial complex in honor of soldiers of the Great Patriotic War, which consists of three obelisks, connected with each other with a relief and sculptural belt. At the foot of the monument the eternal flame burns, next to it there are four pools with fountains.
The square is equipped with floodlights, lanterns, LED screens, and a stage. Important events are held here, and public holidays are celebrated. In winter, an ice rink is set up on Victory Square and the main city Christmas tree is put up.
On Sovetskaya Street, it is easy to find a beautiful 18th century mansion. The two-story classical building, located on the bank of the Western Dvina River, used to be the governor’s residence. Napoleon Bonaparte stayed overnight in Vitebsk during his march to Moscow, Russian Emperor Alexander II and writer Ivan Lazhechnikov. Now the Governor’s Palace houses a branch of the Belarusian KGB. The architectural ensemble is surrounded by parkland.
The town hall is the main sight of Vitebsk. It was built in the 18th century on the place of a wooden town hall (its picture is preserved in the city drawings of 1664). The building was built in the classical style, and the main tower has features of Vilna baroque.
The complex is decorated with pilasters, crested eaves, half-circular windows and balconies. At the top of the tower there is a round clock, an observation deck and a rotunda with a weathervane in the form of a rook. Inside the tower there is a museum of local lore.
One of the most recognizable places in Vitebsk is the summer amphitheater which is the main concert stage of the “Slavonic Bazaar”.
The unusual construction is an open-air openwork roof, which forms an arch, stretching for 120 meters. Under it there is a stage, an artistic block and seating for guests. The amphitheater is built in the park area in a natural depression that protects the concert hall from the noise of the city.
This exquisite Art Nouveau building can easily be found on Dovator Street in the historic part of the city. It originally housed the land and peasant bank, then a hospital, agricultural and veterinary institute. During the German occupation secret police and commandant’s office were located there.
This architectural monument is included in the list of historical values of Vitebsk. It attracts attention with a majolica paneling preserved on the main facade, a beautiful framed window and an elegant balcony.
Temples and Convent in Vitebsk
The main orthodox temple in the city was built in the first half of the 19th century on the place of a wooden Catholic monastery. During the Soviet time it was closed and was slowly being destroyed. The restoration began in 1987, and in 1990 the first service was held there.
Today the cathedral is fully restored and is an ornament of Vitebsk. The tourists can see the white classic facade, the tall bell towers, the icons of the Intercession of the Virgin and the Holy Trinity on the outer walls. At Pokrovsky Cathedral work a Sunday school, an icon painting workshop, a church library and a refectory.
The church was founded in 1760 and consecrated in honor of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God. It is a small cross-domed church decorated with corner pilasters, arched windows and intricately shaped cornices. Inside the church there is an image of Kazan Mother of God.
The small ancient icon, painted in the Byzantine style, is considered miraculous, so the temple is visited daily by pilgrims from all over the country.
A white Orthodox cathedral rises on the Assumption Mountain. The construction was rebuilt in the image of the Church of the Assumption, which was destroyed in 1936. From the embankment across the hill to the golden-domed cathedral leads wide stone stairs. The facade of the building is decorated with two towers, a classic Corinthian order with pilasters, cornice belts, arched niches and a triangular pediment.
The bell tower has a bell which weighs more than 5 tons and is considered to be the biggest in Belarus. The interior decoration shines with whiteness and gilding. There are numerous icons along the walls. The floor is decorated with mosaics, and the windows with colored stained-glass windows.
Church of the Annunciation
The exact time of the foundation of the Church of the Annunciation is unknown, but the first mentions of it date back to the XII century. The temple was damaged more than once during the wars and was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks at the beginning of the last century. The restoration of the church began in 1993 and lasted almost 10 years.
The new temple follows the architecture of the destroyed church and belongs to the Polotsk school of architecture. Inside, there is an icon of the Mother of God of Orsha, and the walls and ceiling are painted with colored frescoes.
The Holy Spirit Monastery
According to legend, the Monastery of the Holy Ghost was founded by Prince Olgerd in the 14th century. Here the prince’s wife took monastic vows and lived out the rest of her days. After a couple of centuries, the monastic complex fell into decline. The nuns were disbanded, and the territory was equipped with a city prison.
The revival of the monastery happened a few decades ago, thanks to the cultural and spiritual center of Vitebsk. There are cells of 14 nuns, a new church, refectory, outbuildings in the working monastery. The main relic of the monastery – the icon of St. Alexandra Diveyevskaya – is displayed in the church.
St. Barbara’s Church
The Catholic Church of St. Barbara, erected in 1785, has been restored and is open to the faithful. The red brick structure combines neo-Romanesque and Gothic elements. The facade is decorated with cornices and arched windows. The two-tiered towers are flanked on either side by pointed roofs and crosses.
The Romanesque-gothic altar, antique lamps and chandeliers accentuate the austere interior. Not far from the church the tombstones are preserved from the old Catholic cemetery.
In Pokrovskaya street stands a small red brick house built by Marc Chagall’s father at the beginning of the last century for his family. Inside is a museum about the life and work of the famous artist. The creators of the project managed to recreate the atmosphere in which an ordinary Jewish family of the time lived.
Visitors can see the personal belongings of the master, diaries and documents. A separate room contains the works of the artist. The centerpiece are his illustrations to Nikolai Gogol’s “Dead Souls”.
Repin Manor Museum
In the vicinity of Vitebsk is Repin’s dacha, where the artist spent his summer vacations. In 1930, the estate burned down and the remains were dismantled for firewood. The reconstruction began only at the end of the last century. The construction used blueprints of the burnt house, so the new cottage corresponds to the original.
The complex includes a manor house, a manager’s house, a wine cellar, a showroom, and a beautiful park with ponds. During the tour, tourists explore the belongings and letters of the artist, admire the watercolor drawings and icons created by Ilya Repin.
The Art Museum of Vitebsk is housed in a three-story XIX century mansion. Its permanent exhibition consists of more than 11,000 items of cultural and artistic value. The central place is taken by graphics, paintings and sculptures.
Guests of the museum get acquainted with the Belarusian art of the XVIII-XIX centuries, Russian paintings, outstanding works of local lacemakers. The management regularly holds temporary exhibitions, organizes meetings with artists and master classes in drawing.
Museum of Local Lore
In the Vitebsk City Hall there is the Regional Museum of Local Lore which has a huge collection of the Ural semi-precious stones, European porcelain, French engravings, paintings by Belarusian painters, fossils and minerals. The permanent exhibition includes archaeological finds, as well as exhibitions about the Great Patriotic War and the nature of the region.
Vitebsk streetcar museum
The Vitebsk streetcar museum opened its doors at the streetcar depot in 1966. It tells in an interesting way the history of the development of the electric transport since 1881 up to now.
Archive materials, photos, old cash registers, conductor’s uniforms are collected in the museum. In the streetcar park you can see an open-air exhibition of rare cars. By the way, many of them are in excellent condition and go on routes on holidays.
Nature and Entertainment
Bereza Biosphere Reserve
Not far from Vitebsk stretches Berezensky biosphere reserve, designed to protect the flora and fauna of the region. Dense deciduous and pine forests, broad meadows, numerous reservoirs and swampy bogs have preserved on an area of more than 85 thousand hectares. Animals, birds and fish listed in the Red Book live in the reserve.
In the village Domzheritsy guests are invited to visit the Museum of Nature. There you can learn more about the flora and fauna of the country.
City Botanical Garden
The botanical garden in Vitebsk, planted about 100 years ago, was created for children. Schoolchildren made observations and grew different plants here. During the war, the garden was significantly damaged, but some of the trees managed to save. Now the park has been restored and belongs to the local university.
Walking through the shady alleys, you can see hundred-year-old linden trees, enter the arboretum and tropical greenhouse. There are playgrounds and cafes within the park.
The white two-story mansion on Pushkin Street is well known to city residents. It houses a puppet theater “Lyalka”. Works of the local team like children’s audience and regularly become winners of theater festivals.
The repertoire includes classic works such as “The Grandfather and the Crane”, “Cinderella”, “Morozko” – as well as new productions in the Japanese style. Exhibitions of contemporary artists are often held in the foyer, and at Christmas an exhibit dedicated to the baby Jesus is installed.
In 1992, a menagerie was opened in the city park, where animals from various countries found shelter. Special enclosures were built for the heat-loving animals. In them you can see European llamas, Cameroonian goats, lions, tigers, crocodiles.
Horses graze on the lawns, peacocks roam and swans, ducks and geese swim in the ponds. A total of 70 species of animals live in the Vitebsk zoo. There are benches for relaxing, a playground and a cafe on the territory.
There is a beautiful park in the historical district of the city. The area of 15 hectares has century-old trees and well-groomed shrubs, flowerbeds and lawns. Along the paths are placed cozy benches and sculptures of bears, deer and hares. There are modern attractions for adults and children.
In the evenings, local bands give concerts on an open wooden stage in the center of the park. In summer, people love to rent catamarans and boats to ride on the lake, and in winter come to the ice rink.