The City of Verhnedvinsk
Verhnedvinsk is the most Northern city of Belarus, situated at the mouth of the river Drissa, which flows into Zapadnaya Dvina. The distance to the border with Latvia is less than 30 kilometers.
The history of the city, according to written sources, counts from 1386, when it was a part of the Polotsk Principality, and on the river there was a major defensive site - Drissa castle that existed until the XVII century. In 1812 during the war against Napoleon near Drissa village there was located a fortified camp, which is mentioned in Lev Tolstoy's novel "War and peace". The status of the district center was received by the city in 1924. Before the great Patriotic war the city was a home to the large part of Jews killed in the ghetto in 1942. Today, in the place of the mass death of the Jewish population, you can see the monument reminding of those tragic events.
The name of the city
Originally the city was called Drissa, which derived from the name of the local river. In the written sources there are also other similar names - Dris and Driza. In 1962 the name was changed to the present.
The coat of arms
The first emblem of the city was awarded in 1781 by Decree of Catherine II. On the coat of arms there was a horseman with a raised sword in one hand and a shield in the other. A shield had the image of the Patriarchal cross. The modern coat of arms of Verkhnedvinsk, registered in 2002, has been lightly changed, as there were removed the double-headed eagle and the Imperial crown.
The roads of Verhnedvinsk are associated with the border of Russia and Latvia. There is a direct connection with Vitebsk and Polotsk. At the 2 km’s distance from the town there is the railway station that appeared here in 1866 during the construction of the Polotsk—Daugavpils line. The river port was located there in the 20-ies of XX century.
The sights of the city
Today Verhnedvinsk is a city with the population of just over 7 thousand people, but despite this, like other Belarusian cities, it has a number of monuments which are the living evidence of the past. One of these objects is the Church of St. Nicholay, built in 1819 in classicism style. Another temple, built in the XIX century and preserved nowadays, is the Church of the Nativity of the virgin Mary. This church was built in 1809, after endured numerous changes and was restored in the 1990-s. An ordinary building of the XIX — early XX centuries preserved in the town, it is able to move guests to the past time, which is so far from us. The building of the former municipal school deserves special attention, now DOSAAF is located there. Another interesting landmark is the bridge built in 2008 across the Western Dvina river. The bridge is interesting because it is the highest engineering structure of its kind in Belarus, it reaches the height of 25 meters. Another interesting site of the city, which is worth paying attention to is a globe, mounted on a crossroads of Soviet and Charles Marx streets. For those who prefer to spend time outdoors, you should visit the municipal park with many pavilions and relax areas. It also houses the city beach. It is necessary to mention the annual cultural event which brings together hundreds of guests not only from Belarus, but also from Russia, Lithuania, Poland and other countries, the Republican children's art festival "Dvina-Dzvina-Daugava".