NOVOGRUDOK: A TOWN WITH A LONG HISTORY
Novogrudok is one of the important towns that exist in Belarus. It is an old place of splendid beauty. Nowadays this town is small-scale in comparison with regional centers, but it has not lost its importance as a place of the historical and cultural heritage of Belarus.
THE HISTORY OF NOVOGRUDOK
The town is known fr om the X century, but it is hard to tell which one of the dates in written sources – 1044, 1016 or 1252 – is reliable. However, archaeological excavations, which were conducted on the territory of Novogrudok, confirmed that in the IX-X centuries there was a settlement which had active trade relations with Byzantium, the Middle East, Western Europe and Scandinavia.
Since the XII century, Novogrudok included two settlements: the Small Castle, there was a place where artisans and merchants traded, it gradually became a surrounding town, and the Castle Hill, where a fortress («detinets») was built. The castle played the main role in the defense of the ancient settlement until it was destroyed by the Swedes in 1710. Today you can find only ruins of the ancient settlement, but even they are historically and culturally valuable in Belarus. Tourists fr om all over the world come to see the ruins of the Novogrudok castle.
It is considered that Novogrudok was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Duke Mindovg made the town of the Grodno region his residence. In 1507, after the dynastic marriage of duke Jagiello and Jadwiga, it became the part of the Rzeczpospolita. In 1511, the town was granted the right to self-rule. Only a hundred years later, in 1595 an emblem of Novogrudok appeared. The town was part of the Rzeczpospolita until 1795.
Initially, the town belonged to the Lithuanian province (guberniya), then in 1842 it became the part of the Minsk province. Between the First and Second World Wars, Novogrudok was part of Poland. Novogrudok suffered fr om raids of enemies at all times. The Tatar-Mongols, Crusaders, the Crimean Tatars ravaged these lands. Tragic destiny overtook its inhabitants during the Great Patriotic War. During the occupation period (July 4, 1941- July 9, 1944), about four and a half thousand Jews were tortured in Novogrudok ghetto.
Novogrudok is a place wh ere you can wander for hours, exploring its architectural and cultural heritage. There you can find the historically significant Lord’s Transfiguration church. It is an old building wh ere one of the major events in our history took place - the marriage of Jadwiga and Jagiello. Also, the St. Michael the Archangel church and the famous St. Boris and Gleb church are must see places. The latter was built in 1519 and it is well-preserved nowadays. The so-called «Mindovg’s mountain» is another interesting monument. It is believed that this is a place wh ere the Grand Duke of Lithuania was buried. One of the most famous poets of Belarus and Poland - Adam Mickiewicz linked with this town. He was born either in Novogrudok or on the outskirts.
Ancient and beautiful Novogrudok is the pride of Belarus. It is a small town that stores a heritage of many centuries. To visit this place means to witness the splendor of the ancient architecture.