Actually, it is very difficult to call the locality with 847 households and 2533 inhabitants a village. It is so: in 2008 it received the status of agro-town.
Although the town itself has a developed infrastructure, is located close to the motorway and the capital of Belarus and life in the city is in the tempo of modern living, people are still interested in its history and attractions. They form a recognizable face of the town, its original image.
THE HISTORY, WHICH DETERMINED MODERN LIFE
The town was firstly mentioned in historical documents in the 14th century: lands were given into possession to the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Since then, they had been repeatedly passed from hands to hands by owners and states. The greatest prosperity the town gained during the period when Rakow was owned by Sangushko.
Hard times bred complex relationships, ideology, many religious denominations. At the end of the 17th century the Catholic Dominican monastery was founded there, and in the beginning of the 18th century the Uniate Basilian monastery was built. At the beginning of the 20th century the magnificent neo-Gothic church of Mother of God Rosaria was built. Jewish population contributed its own colors in polyhedral religious culture. There was time when the Jewish community was 60% of the town population.
Before the lands were joined to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Rakaw located near the border of Poland and the Soviet Union. Frontier life was intense, especially in the spheres of economy, transport, trade and policy. Sometimes, however, it was of an adventurous character. People, corresponding to the specific sense are often involved in such cities and such conflicting times. It cannot be crossed out of the history. The concentration of people and fates add a specific kind of poetic coloring to events.
THE PLACES OF INTEREST: LOST AND PRESERVED
Restless and diverse history of the village, ethnic, political and religious discord throughout the history of its existence clearly reflects a rich list of its attractions:
Jewish cemetery (an old one, from the middle of 1642)
Our Savour and Transfiguration Church (1793) with brama
Catholic St. Ann Chapel (1862) with a distinctive brama-bell tower
Orthodox cemetery brama (19th century)
Mother of God Rosaria and the Holy Spirit Church (1904–1906)
Crypt-burial vault of Drutskiya-Lubetskiya
Felix Yanushkevich Ethnographic museum
And here is not complete, but a representative list of historical figures, life and activity of which are associated with Rakaw: Belarusian-Polish composer M. Grushvitsky, literature critic M. Zdzehovsky, writer E.Ozheshko and Jewish writer B.Botvinnik. Namely Eloise Orzeshko who had subtle writer's perception of reality called Rakaw "Northern Athens".
During World War II, outrages committed by the occupiers resulted in destruction of more than two thousand of Rakaw residents.
1050 of Jews died in ghetto. The obelisks of sorrow and memory are located in the city center on the site of the burnt by enemies’ synagogue and a Jewish cemetery.
THE HISTORY IS TO BE CONTINUED…
Scientists and historians-enthusiasts carry out archival and archaeological excavations, adding information about the past. And present is advanced by the new generation of residents. Ultimately, life adds growth to the modest locality located at the crossroads of history and geography. The collision of modern life is significant and has a constructive character, it contributes to town’s progressive development in the recent world’s history.