The Ruins of the Temple of the Annunciation in the Village Druya

At the state border of Belarus and Latvia, in the Vitebsk region, the Braslav district there is a small village called Druya. It is situated on the left bank of the Zapadnaya Dvina, and it has got its name thanks to the name of the Druyka River that flowing along the village. At earlier times Druya was so populous that it was considered to be a town. But a short time later the population began to reduce, and today it is one of the Belarusian villages.

It was first mentioned in 1386. At the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania it was a large trade town.

In Druya there are ruins of the Temple of the Annunciation. The countrymen call it the Temple of the Annunciation of the Savior. It has got its name due to the fact that the first service held there took place on the church holiday of Annunciation. The ruins of the temple and some historical records show that it was built simultaneously in two styles: Baroque and Old Russian. Even today architects find in the ruins features of both styles.

There are many stories about the appearance of the temple in the village. According to one of them, in the XVIII century it was reconstructed from a church that had been functioning in Druya since the XVI century. But these are only stories of the local countrymen. It is not stated how the Temple of the Annunciation appeared in the Village Druya.

During a long period of time it was the only Orthodox temple in the territory of the Braslav district. It had been constructed so elegantly that it was highly appreciated by Peter I.

During the Great Patriotic War the Nazis established a Jewish concentration camp in Druya, and later they severely shot all countrymen. However, despite that, the building of the temple had survived without any damage.

 The temple in Druya was functioning for over 200 years. It was closed only in 1960 for unknown reasons. In order for the building not to stay empty it was given to the Roma community that lived there, and later the building was used as storage.

Today the temple is in a dilapidated condition. Only the belfry has survived from its original appearance. It was built not from the very beginning of the construction of the temple, but only in the XIX century. However, the countrymen, in order to save the Orthodox sanctuary, erected by own efforts an altar in the temple and hold divine services there. They raise money for the full restoration of the church, but it goes very slowly. Due to the absence of restoration works in the building of the temple, it is destructed more and more.

Nevertheless, tourists should visit this holy site in the territory of Belarus, to feel the real spirit of the Belarusian church architecture. But it is important to remember that due to the border position of Druya, those, who want to come there from other states, should bother about the pass for crossing the border that may take up to 5 days. The residents of Belarus can easily come to Druya by public transport, that is rather frequent, or by car.