A monument to Tsmok in Lepel

A monument to Tsmok in Lepel


Sculpture, monuments, memorials

Geographical location

Lepel is a town of Vitebsk region of the Republic of Belarus. The distance fr om Lepel to Vitebsk is 110 km, and to the capital of Belarus is 155 km.

Historical information

First mentioned in chronicles in 1439, Lepel was a strategic town favorably located on the route “from the Varangians to the Greeks”.

In the late 19thcentury there were more than fifty houses, 2 factories, a brewery, several synagogues and churches, and even one Catholic Church in Lepel.

In November 1917 Soviet power was established in Lepel. Two years later the territory of the town was occupied by the Poles.

During the Great Patriotic War Lepel was seized by the Nazis and was in occupation until June 1944.

Nowadays Lepel is a cozy corner of the northern part of Belarus with its unique culture and history.


Among other landmarks of Lepel a monument to Tsmok (a Belarusian dragon) has a special atmosphere. The idea of creating a monument to this mythological creature belongs to the local historian Vladimir Konstantinovich Shushkevich. The historian is sure that a monument to Tsmok (a dragon) should be installed in Lepel, because the historical novel of Vladimir Korotkevich “Christ landed in Grodno (the Gospel of Judas)” describes how in the Lepel lake four dozen of monsters died in one night. The author narrates about the event with a detailed description of their appearance. By the way, the project funding was from the budget of the EU program, assuming a strong development of rural tourism on the territory of Russia and Belarus. Vladimir Shushkevich won the grant to the amount of nearly three thousand euros.  

There were a lot of sketches of the monument to Tsmok. According to legends, this Dragon could have many heads, huge wings and jaws, emitting fire.  However, it was decided to make Lepel Tsmok less terrible. The creator of the monument was the famous Belarusian sculptor Lev Aganov, who is known for his work on the monument to Hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Lev Sapieha. According to his idea, the dragon turned out good-natured in appearance, radiating positive energy. The sculpture 170 cm in height is made of bronze. It was cast by Polotsk moulders and has a weight of over one tonne. To the pedestal of the monument is attached the cast of an open book wh ere you can read an excerpt of Korotkevich’s novel “Christ landed in Grodno (the Gospel of Judas)”, which says about Tsmoks who lived in Lepel lake. According to the description of the author, Tsmoks looked like seals: they had a grey body and fins.  The monument to Tsmok was erected in Central Park on November 10, 2013.   

The mythological ruler of waters rightfully took its place on the bank of Lepel lake. Tsmok is a generalized character of fairy-tale beings of a rich Belarusian folklore. By the way, not far from it there is a monument to another not less interesting mythological creature – a mermaid.

The cult, created around Tsmok, led to the fact that it even got the surname Lepelsky. Now tourists, who visit Lepel, can touch a  good Belarusian tale.


Map location

Back to the list