Uzda in Minsk region
Uzda is the district center which is located 74 kilometers southwest of the capital of Belarus. The name of the town comes from the name of the river Uzda (now known as Uzdyanka) the tributary of the river Usa. In ancient times the two syllables of the name had a specific meaning. The syllable "uz" indicated the hydronium widely used to name different water basins. And the syllable “da” indicated ”confluent” or “tributary”. So literally the name “Uzda” denotes “the tributary of the river Usa”.
However, there is a beautiful legend about the origin of the town’s name. It is said that a Belarussian Prince passed through this land and dropped a golden bridle here (the word “bridle” sounds as “uzda” in Belarusian). A servant, sent to find the loss, had been looking for it very long. A passer-by wanted to help him and asked what he was looking for. The servant answered that he wanted to find the golden bridle. Hence the name of the town is Uzda.
Uzda was first mentioned in the written sources in 1450. It was owned by Korsaks that time. A bit later as a village it became a part of Minsk powiat of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Uzda changed the owners many times. It was the possession of Kawieczynski, Zawisza, Krasiński. The year of 1572 was indicative in the history of the town. Simon Budny stayed there. That time he was busy editing the Bible.
In the time of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Uzda was a part of Minsk powiat the province of Minsk. After the First Partition of Poland Uzda became a part of the Russian Empire as a center of Igumen volost the province of Minsk.
The main architectural sight of Uzda is connected with the activity of one of its owners Casimir Zawisza. He was an initiator of building a wooden Holy Cross Catholic Church, which was erected in 1798. In the early twentieth century the church got a brick outbuilding. The temple is famous for the fact that Dominic Lutsevich was christen here. Dominic Lutsevich is known as the father of Ivan Lutsevich – a famous Belarusian poet Yanka Kupala. The atheistic Soviet authorities converted the church to the House of Culture. Unfortunately even nowadays it is a place for discos but not worshiping.
In addition Zawisza family left a chapel-tomb having an interesting pyramidal form. The building is located on a Catholic cemetery and dates back to 1800.
During the Great Patriotic War Uzda, which had become an urban-type locality, was occupied by the Nazi invaders. The locals suffered huge losses – the war took away the lives of 5599 people, including 1740 Jews who were tortured in the ghetto. There was an underground organization on the territory of the town. Uzda was liberated on the 29th of June 1944.
The attractions of the town
Uzda lands are rich in architectural and cultural heritage. More than 150 monuments are located here. Besides, the region is called “the land of nightingales”. A lot of famous masters of Belarusian literature and poetry, such as Petro Glebko, Ales Jakimovich, Ilya Gursky, Ales Palchevsky and many others grew up here.