Boris Stone in Polotsk
Listen to the organ in St. Sofia Cathedral, walk along Francis Skorina avenue, enjoy delicious dishes in a cozy restaurant, touch Boris stone and make a wish ... Guests are always welcome in the oldest town of Belarus Polotsk!
While visiting St. Sophia Cathedral, every person pays attention to a boulder near the majestic cathedral. This is the Boris stone – one of the most popular attractions related to the monuments of medieval culture. It is believed that the Scandinavian glacier brought the boulder in the north of Belarus hundreds of years ago. In ancient times, people used boulders in order to define the trade route.
For a long time, the Boris stone laid in the Western Dvina, which flows near Polotsk. In the early 80-ies of the last century, the Boris stone was brought to Polotsk and placed near St. Sophia Cathedral in the Upper Castle, where it can be seen today. There is an inscription on the stone: "Lord, help your servant Boris". The Boris stone weighs more than seventy tons.
Even today, local historians and their foreign colleagues debate on the origin of the inscription. Some associate it with paganism: however, local people converted to Christianity, it was hard to give up the familiar pagan rituals. Since ancient times, boulders played a significant role in the life of the Belarusians. There was a cult of stones, it reflected on the religious and philosophical side of ordinary people’s lives. Inhabitants of Polotsk brought rich gifts to boulders, asking them for fertility and daily bread. At those times, Vseslav Sorcerer's son, Boris ruled in Polotsk, he ordered to carve a cross with the inscription on a stone in order to bring the Christian traditions in Polotsk. It is believed that it caused famine because pagan gods were angry. Other historians claim that the Boris stone is a sign of special reverence to Duke Boris and his brilliant military merit. The third group of researchers relates the words on the stone to famine, which took place in 1127-1128 and took many people’s lives.
For a long period of time, the Boris stone of Polotsk land was considered the only one which survived. However, four similar stones can be seen in Belarus and "Kolomenskoe" in Moscow, where the Boris stone was brought in the XX century.
But the most famous Boris stone is located in Polotsk. There are many tourists and pilgrims near the stone, who are eager to take pictures, touch, make a wish and ask for help because they believe that the Boris stone works wonders.