The Assumption Cathedral in Vitebsk

The Assumption Cathedral, which is located in Belarusian city of Vitebsk, is a truly unique religious building. The first documentary known building, which was located there more than six hundred years ago, unfortunately hasn’t survived. However, it was restored on the ancient temple model with the efforts of believers and people, who are not indifferent to the historical heritage. Now the Assumption Cathedral attracts huge number of tourists who often come for excursion to Vitebsk for the sake of the sanctuary.

The history of creation the Assumpton Cathedral in Vitebsk

Archaeologists endure the assumption that a pagan temple was situated on the church place as far back as in the XII century. This hypothesis is connected with the fact that the mountain, where the sanctuary was located, was called the Bald one. And it is known, that Bald Mountain is a folk term, the place of witches gathering on the sabbath. In addition, ritual objects were found here during the excavations, which origin dates back to the XI-XIII centuries: the axe with engraved magical characters on it, astragalus and the other.

A wooden church, consecrated in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary was erected here with the advent of Christianity in Vitebsk region. This happened back in 1406. 

The church was been repeatedly burned and rebuilt during its long existence. However, not only natural disasters harmed the holy place. Not once the church’s walls served as construction material for the locals: first they disassembled it to meet their own needs, then rebuilt anew. The historical vicissitudes, the growth of tolerance and religious toleration even turned the Orthodox Church into Uniate.

The year of 1722 became the turning point for the church, when it was burned down completely, after that the place stood empty for twenty years. 

The new life of the Assumption Cathedral in Vitebsk

In 1743 construction works were deployed here again, which lasted until 1785. The temple belonged to the Uniates for fourteen years, and in 1799 historical justice was restored: it was returned to the Orthodox Church by the decree of Emperor Paul I. The temple was reconstructed several times, and therefore acquired Baroque and classicism features.

The French arranged an infirmary within its walls, and as a result many temple relics disappeared after 1812. The revolutionary hard times didn’t pass it too: the church was closed in 1917. And it ceased to exist altogether in 1936: the unique building was blown up...

Fr om 1949 till 1980s a grinding machines factory workshop stood in its place, which was demolished afterwards.

Restoring of the sight of Vitebsk

The architectural monument restoration project had been long and laboriously hatched out. It was announced in 1990, but its implementation was started a decade later. Ten years later the church was consecrated and began to receive parishioners.

What is Vitebsk Cathedral so remarkable for? For example, for the fact that the largest existing bell in Belarus is installed in it – its weight is 5,200 kilograms! In addition, there is a legend about an underground tunnel existence, which is located under the Western Dvina and has an impressive size: an adult can pass through it without bending.

Travel to the temples of Vitebsk: excursions from VETLIVA

You will definitely love this architectural gem, located in Vitebsk. The beauty of the Assumption Church is worth seeing with your own eyes, so you can book sightseeing tours around Belarus. You will see not only the sights of Vitebsk, but also other architectural and historical monuments of Belarus. We offer a variety of different travel options - from weekend tours to multi-day excursions, spanning many cities of Belarus.