Labazes in Vitebsk
Architecture, Industrial buildings
The word "labaz" is quite popular among folk; it means “barn”. In ancient times, it was a building for trading flour. It was a center of trading life in any town.
In Vitebsk, the "labazes" were built in 1774 to preserve a rather expensive product at that time - salt. Old wooden buildings were often burned and merchants suffered from significant losses, so the construction of stone warehouses was a true salvation. The buildings of the barns functioned as a shopping complex. Large deals and exchanges occurred there. Flour, salt and, of course, cereals were stored in these buildings.
Labazes in Vitebsk represent a one-story structure consisting of three buildings. These buildings are connected by arched vaults and have cellars and underground passages. There was a large courtyard for the convenient pass of carriages. The configuration and appearance of the structures were determined by their main function, which was the main feature of the eclectic style.
It is necessary to note that for many centuries these warehouses had been reconstructed many times. For example, during the Great Patriotic War, they were re-equipped into a warehouse for the storage of army supplies and weapons. Therefore, the original appearance of these buildings had been lost over time, but the overall stylistics of these structures can be traced today. Two main buildings preserved in an excellent condition to present days, which are located on 3 Tchaikovsky Street.
Recently, a plan for a large-scale reformation of the 18th-century monument of merchant architecture (under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus) was ratified and adopted. Buildings for storing salt were re-equipped into a cultural and historical complex, where a vast number of examples of local decorative and applied art are shown. A new tourist object combines not only exhibition halls but also a restaurant of traditional cuisine and souvenir gallery.
Tourists who are interested in the traditions of the Republic of Belarus may take part in making an unforgettable present: for example, shape a pot out of clay for yourself, loved one, friend, or weave a basket out of vines. Visiting of this complex is included in many tourist programs in the Vitebsk region.
Not far from labazes, you will find other sights of the city, which must not be left without your attention. After visiting the "Labazes" in Vitebsk, you may relax on the colorful bank of the Dvina and enjoy a picturesque, unique view of the city of Vitebsk.