Mstislavl is one of the most ancient towns of Mogilev region. It is small in its area. It is called “Belarusian Suzdal” or “Small Vilnius” for the preservation of the original appearance and the ancient architecture. First it was mentioned in the Ipatiev Chronicle in 1156. The ancient Mstislavl consisted of a castle fortified with a ditch and ramparts and a surrounding town. Historians consider Prince David Rostislavovich the founder of the town. In the 14th century the lands became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1634 the town of Mstislavl received the Magdeburg right and coat of arms. After the partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772 the lands were a part of the Russian state.
Tourists usually start the tour with the Maiden hill, about which there are many legends, but it is not known about the origin of the name itself. They say that in ancient times on the place of the hill was a settlement. In the 18thcentury Magnates Ostrozhskys strewed flanks of hills with pounded chalk and rode down on a sled.
One of historically important attractions of the town is a monument to Alexander Leontievich Yurchenko. It was the first uyezd Commissioner and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Mstislavl uyezd Council of workers, peasants and soldiers' deputies. The Congress of this party was held in Mstislavl in January 1918. According to its results the Soviet power was proclaimed in the town. All reforms in the town took place in conditions of an acute class struggle. In August 1919 A.L. Yurchenko was killed during a fierce battle with counter-revolutionaries. The monument was installed in his honor as well as a street in the town was named after him.
On the main square of the town there is also a monument to one of the first well-known book printers Pyotr Mstislavets.
Churches of the town attract a great interested of tourists. The Carmelite church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary preserved the fresco painting of the 17thcentury telling the tragic stories of the town. The Church of the Jesuit monastery of St. Michael the Archangel has been preserved in the town; it was built in the second half of the 18th century.
In the town there are Orthodox Churches as well: the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky, which was built on the foundation of a Catholic Cathedral. German soldiers were buried at the walls of this temple during the Great Patriotic War.
A monument of the town architecture of the early 20th century is considered to be a fire tower. Firefighters and rescuers watched day and night over the situation in the town from its height in order nothing bad would happen.
The streets of the town have preserved the historic significance and uniqueness of the 19th century. If you slowly walk along them, you can see dwelling wooden houses of the 19thcentury, the building of the town Council and male gymnasium. All these buildings are still of the pre-revolutionary era.
Tourists who came into the town must visit tournaments and festivals. They were resumed by the locals. In the city of craftsmen you can try on a knight costume and learn about medieval crafts.
Mstislavl is an unordinary town. Everything in it is saturated with the aroma of antiquity, the Middle Ages, that give it a special beauty.