Baran is a small town in Vitebsk region, which is only 8 km away fr om the district centre of Orsha. The town is situated on the river Adrov, on the right tributary of the river Dnieper. A little more than 11 thousand people live here today.
At the beginning of the XVI century Baran was already known as a village. In 1518 it was governed by Konstantin Ostrozhski - military and state personality of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania. After him, in the 40-ies of the XVI century his son became the owner. By the end of the century the estate Baran was known as a part of Kopys estate. In 1598 the township Baran was established by that estate’s owner, hetman of the Lithuania, prince Kryshtofor Radzivill.
There are several versions of the origin of the town’s name
It is supposed that the town’s “name” appeared in those days when paganism existed on the territory of Belarus. It is considered that pagans brought immolations on this place. People immolated rams, asking gods to protect them, their houses and villages by doing so.
The second version is connected with these domestic animals. There is a legend, that the prince Radzivill, who had laid the town, travelled his estates over and met a shephard with a big flock of sheep.
There are other versions too. One of them says that the name has come from the Belarusian word “baranits”, that means in the translation “to protect”. According to this version the inhabitants of this place were strong in spirit and valued their motherland. But “baranits” is also translated as “plough”, that is the village’s residents were ploughmen of fertail soil. There were also suggestions that a word “pine forest”, which means a dense forest, was used as a basis for the town’s name.
Baran during the Great Patriotic War
Hostile troops occupied the town in July 1941. At that time there were more than 50 residents of Jewish origin in Baran. In September of that year the invaders organized a ghetto in two-storied buildings on Yaltinskaya Street (now Zarechnaya Street), wh ere about 45 Jews were driven together. The conditions were harsh: the prisoners had no right to leave the town’s borders. So that no to die of starvation they sold their clothes for food. Most people had to sleep on the floor. Along with it the work the Jews did in the ghetto was very hard. In 1942 a pit was dug for those people. The Jews of Baran were convoyed from the ghetto to the place of their death, all of them were shot.
The town was liberated by the Soviet Army at the end of June 1944.
The symbols of Baran
The coat of arm of this small town in Orsha district represents a Spanish shield in blue and yellow colours, in the middle of which is a bugle, and there is a cavalry cross made of silver at the top.
The flag is two-band, containing 2 colours: yellow and blue. There is the town’s arms at the central top.
The attractions of Baran
You can visit the almshouse, built in 1905, it is a building of the mechanical plant of the late XIX- beginning XX century in Baran. Once there were the Transfiguration Church with the side chapel of Intercession of the Theotokos. It relates to the very beginning of the XVII century. But in 1989 the Church was moved to the Belarusian Museum Of Folk Architecture and Everyday life.