Lepel is a town of 120 lakes, amazing ice cream and the main Belarusian dragon, which is possible to be seen only during a full moon.
A famous Belarusian writer Uladzimir Karatkevich referred to the fact that just Lepel lake is the place where so-called «smoki» (dragons) can be found in. Now it's the truth, because «Lepel dragon» sometimes rises up to the surface of the lake to admire its own image in the form of the sculpture at the lake Lepel and to scare tourists.
«Visiting Lepel Dragon» is one of the most popular festivals in Belarusian mythology.
WHAT PLACE IS BETTER THAN LEPEL? «LEPEY» – TRANSLATED FROM BELARUSIAN MEANS «BETTER»
Geographically Lepel is located in the South of Vitebsk region with the population of about 18 thousand people. Two rivers with beautiful names Essa and Ulla flow through this town, which is the centre of Lepel district.
The name of the city itself, according to one version, comes from the Latvian word «Liepa» («Linden»). It was the name of the lake that used to be located in Linden woods. The town lies on the bank of this lake. According to another version, the name "Lepel" originated from Belarusian word "lepey" (better). Indeed, there is no better place than in Lepel for many people.
The town of Sapieha.
Lepel was first mentioned in the chronicle documents in 1439 (Great Duke of Lithuania Sigismund granted the estate to Vitebsk Catholic Church). In the XVI century the village was bought by the Hetman Lew Sapieha, who moved the main buildings – orthodox and catholic churches as well as the castle to the other bank of the lake, having founded New Lepel this way.
Sapieha is honored here as the founder of the town. A monument to the Grand Chancellor of Lithuania was erected in Lepel in 2010.
By the way, the castle in Lepel was built on the lake island during the Livonian war. It was burned down and then restored in 1568. It is possible to imagine what sort of construction it was by the city emblem, which depicts the walls.
Lepel is one of the few Belarusian cities that have the emblem with the Belarusian Chase – the silver horseman with a drawn sword. Lepel received the coat-of-arms in 1852, 47 years after it was awarded the status of a town.
Water system, hydroelectric station and ice cream
Modern Lepel is known for its purity and sanctuary quietness. The total distance from Lepel to the centre of the Berezinsky nature reserve (Domzheritsy) is 38 kilometers which can easily be covered by bike.
So-called Berezin water system passed through Lepel lake. It was an artificial channel (completed in 1805), connecting the Dnieper to the Western Dvina. In Lepel there were some dams, which, however, were blown up during the Second World war. Now the water structure has been forgotten and occupied by beavers, sometimes it is used by kayakers, though. By the way, a well-known folklorist and poet Jan Chachot worked at the system. Local authorities plan to restore the system to attract tourists.
There are no large industrial enterprises In Lepel, but the town has its own hydroelectric power station. And besides, the brand "Lepelca" is worth speaking about. Ice cream produced in the local milk factory is in fact perfectly delicious.
This land is a native place for people well-known in the world, like film Director Vladimir Motyl («The White sun of the desert»), the poet Todar Klyashtorny, prose writer Sergey Rublevsky, the breeder Joseph Frost and many others.
5 MORE HISTORICAL PLACES TO SEE IN LEPEL
- St. Paraskevi's Church (1844) - the Cathedral of St. Paraskeva, informal "Patinka", a wooden Church (St. Volodarskogo, 21). According to a legend, its restoration stopped the Moore in 1868.
- St. George Church (1900). The neo-Russian style.
- The catholic Church of St. Casimir (1876). The classicism. It was built by the order of Leo Sapieha. In the Soviet years it was used as a garage.
- Warehouses of wine purification. Built in 1897. Red brick (street Soviet, 38).
- The building of Lepel HPP (1954).