SENNO – BELARUSIAN JERUSALEM
Do you believe in supernatural features of artesian water? Some people prefer to drink only filtered water, while others try to fill their bodies with the healing properties of natural water. The clue lies in the South–Western part of Vitebsk region, in its truly unique area. Here in the town of Senno a spring known as «Chapel» flows. Its water is considered to be healing because of hydrogen sulfide it contains.
The reason for that is a small wooden Church that used to stay on the site of the spring in the early 20th century next to the ancient pagan temples. Is not known for certain whether Senno water is really rich in healing features or it is just the imagination of local residents. However, tourists both from all over Belarus and from surrounding countries come to Senno to visit spring «Chapel» every year.
THE HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF SENNO
The first mention of this land was in 1534. However, excavations indicate the earlier information. The first settlements in Senno appeared as long as in the 7th century BC. The town was nearly destroyed in the 16th century during the fight against the Moscow Empire, but a representative of the famous prince family of the Sapiehas – Dmitry Fedorovich had built a castle operating for two centuries.
In 1609 the Franciscans erected a Roman-Catholic church in the town. However, two centuries later, the owner of Senno Tadeusz Oginski demolished the Catholic church and built in its place a new church of Orthodox confession in honor of the Holy Trinity. Another interesting fact is that the relics of the Holy righteous Fortunata were specially brought from Italy to Senno in 1771 with the permission of Pope Clement. Tadeusz and his wife Jadwiga built not only the Church, but the monastery, which was home to 16 monks.
Stone building of the monastery can still be seen today – fortunately, the stone structure is preserved. During the Franciscans activity the first school was opened there.
Thanks to the work of the famous Belarusian artist Napoleon Orda one can see how the place looked like in the 19th century. Those unique and beautiful landscapes demonstrate the extraordinary natural beauty of small streets and one-storey wooden houses of the town...
In the 19th century there was the Uniate church of Elijah the Prophet on the territory of Senno. The authorities decided to dismantle it in 1867 and to build an Orthodox church in its place. The author of the project was Konstantin Ton, the architect who designed the temple of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Unfortunately, the creation of the great Russian architect stood no more than a hundred years: in 1934, a local Committee of the Communist party ordered to disassemble the church into bricks and to build a club in the city centre, which, incidentally, still stands nowadays.
THE TOWN OF SENNO AND FAITH HAVE BEEN INSEPARABLE PHENOMENA FOR SEVERAL MILLENNIA
Now both Orthodox and Catholic believers come to Senno. The locals say that they live in the Holy land as about 10 religious institutions happened to be located in a small area of the town during all the period of its existence. Now farm tourism it is actively developing here, tourists are invited to discover new trails and to visit the most interesting historical places.
Senno is the birthplace of the Belarusian–Polish artist Jan Ostrovsky, who received his education at the University of Vilno. His first work was a sculpture of Christ, which the author considered to be the top of his skill. Belarusian poet Ales Zhavrok, the author of the libretto for the first Belarusian operetta «Zarechnyy Bor», was born and grew up in this land as well.