The Museum of the Belarusian Book-printing in Polotsk

In Vitebsk region, in the city of Polotsk, there is a Museum-Reserve consisting of 11 inherently unique museums. One of them keeps the exhibits showing the development of the Belarusian book-printing. The Museum has the same name.

Today it is located in the old premises of the once functioning Brethren School of Polotsk Epiphany monastery. Nowadays this building is an architectural monument of the 18th century. The Museum was opened in September 1990 on the day of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the most famous Belarusian enlightener and printing pioneer Francisk Skoryna who had been born and had been working for a long time in Polotsk. 

The history of the creation of the Museum of the Belarusian Book-printing in Polotsk.

The decorative appearance and creating of the unique atmosphere in the Museum were realized by designers S.Dmitriev and I.Kurzhalov. Here are represented all the stages of the development of book printing in Belarus fr om the first manuscript scrolls to contemporary books. Visitors can get acquainted with the history of creating writing materials and book illustrations, see how the machines worked. This Museum is unique and the only one of this type on the territory of Belarus.

What is the Museum of the Belarusian Book-printing in Polotsk.

The Museum covers almost an area of one square kilometer and occupies 15 rooms. Over 2500 rare exhibits are displayed on two floors. The major part of them is hand-written and old-printed books, but also there are a lot of modern editions. Turning over the pages of ancient textbooks, visitors will learn the peculiarities of Cyrillic and Latin fonts. The printed editions of the 21st century are represented by the best books in the category “The Book Art”.

The sight pf Polotsk introduces to the visitors the history of printing in Belarus.

Here will be very interesting also for collectors of ancient postcards, booklets and calendars. Especially for connoisseurs the Museum has a great collection of magazines, newspapers and leaflets of the past centuries reflecting the era and the fashion trends of printing industry of that time time. The theme atmosphere is also created by the presented here printing press, press for paper and candlesticks. Often guests like to try to write a few words on paper with the use of writing utensils of different epochs: there are quills, old pens, ink and even modern pens. 

It is necessary to say that before the process of printing was very difficult. It took several years to write one book, so that editions were so valuable and cost a lot. Of course, after the invention of the printing press there began to appear much more books. However, their value did not diminish. 

In the Museum you can Look back in time and see the process of creating books by human hands. Here was created a real workshop of book-copyist, called “scriptorium”, where sits a monk with a quill in his hand and diligently outlines each letter.

Nearby there is a stylized printing house of the 17-18th centuries wh ere a typesetter and a printer work. You can visit a writer or a scientist’s cabinet of the 18th century if you come to the Museum of the Belarusian book-printing in Polotsk. Most excursions across Belarus are held in the Belarusian language. This creates a unique mood that brings visitors back for a few centuries ago.  

What to see in Polotsk in one day.

In addition to the museum of book printing, as part of our combined bus tour around Belarus you will see: the famous St. Sophia Cathedral, Convent of the Savior-Euphrosyne in Polotsk, where the relics of Euphrosyne of Polotsk are stored, and you will visit the very center of Europe and take a photo with the monument of the letter of the Belarusian alphabet.