The Jesuit Collegium in Polotsk
Architecture, Industrial buildings
Do you know that Polotsk was the world center for Jesuits in the earlier times? Do you know that the largest educational center in the XVIII century was in Polotsk? If you don’t, you should go for excursion to Polotsk. That is sure to impress you with its beauty, tell you about its longstanding history and amaze with its magnificent views.
There are buildings of the History and Philology Department and the Information Technology Department of the Polotsk State University not far from the banks of the Zapadnaya Dvina River. Moreover, you can visit the art gallery next to them. All these ancient buildings were in possession of the Jesuit Collegium at one time. A lot of time has passed since then, but still all teachers, students and simply resident of the town know about the importance of the Jesuit Collegium in Polotsk at that time.
The Jesuit Collegium on Polotsk: the history of creation
The first building of the Jesuit Collegium was constructed in 1580, but it was destroyed by fire. The stone building was constructed on the new place: between the Verhny Zamok and Veliky Posad. Polotsk had become a real intellectual center of all Europe by the end of the XVIII century. The greatest thinkers of the time taught at the Jesuit Collegium. There were created excellent conditions for students of Jesuits to get their education.
Just imagine: the future teaching professors studied architecture and foreign languages at the Jesuit Collegium; besides, there was the Religious Science Department. But the main thing was that the students could profitably spend their spare time within the Collegium. The matter was that a school theatre functioned in its territory, where the students could declaim poems; they took part in scientific discussions, organized demonstrations. Would you like to study at the institution where within the building there was an art gallery, printing office, observatory and workshops? You should agree that a bakery, beer-factory and mead brewery are not in every institution of higher education. What one really says about the chemist’s shop and landholdings! The Jesuit Collegium was the gem of education in Polotsk in those time.
From Collegium to the Academy
It is not surprisingly that the Collegium was given the title of Academy in 1812. The first scientific literary magazine “Mesyachnic Polotsky” in Belarus was issued there. The Polotsk Academy became a scientific and cultural center; a lot of books were published in its territory. Amongst the graduates of the Collegium and Academy, there were such outstanding personalities as the Belarusian and Polish writer Yan Borschevsky, the artist Vladimir Vankovich and many others.
“The mechanic head” and the other sights of Polotsk
Some students lived in the territory of the Collegium. They created in their free time; their numerous creative works have become Belarusian domain. By the way, the students of the Polotsk Jesuit Collegium created a very interesting sculpture - “The mechanic head”. It was kept in the museum of the Polotsk Academy; and it could understand and speak with visitors in many languages.
The fact, that most recently, in 2015, the sculpture was restored by the Polotsk University’s specialists, suggests that the Collegium heritage remembers many generations. The future specialists get their education within the walls of the Collegium from year to year. The numerous tourists visit this attraction with pleasure in Polotsk.