A monument to Lev Sapieha in Lepel

Lepel

Sculpture, monuments, memorials

Geographical location

Lepel is one of the coziest towns of Vitebs region. The distance fr om the regional center to Lepel is 110 km, from the capital of Belarus is 155 km.  The town is situated on the two rivers – the Ulla and Essa.

Historical information

First Lepel was mentioned in chronicles in 1439. The strategic importance of the town was determined by its location on the route “from the Varangians to the Greeks”.

In 1585 Lepel with the surrounding lands was passed to Lev Sapieha. A new round of the development Lepel began with obtaining the status of a town and the Magdeburg law. Berezino water system, built in 1805, contributed to the further development of the town.

Nowadays Lepel is a rapidly developing town, which since 2009 has had its own coat of arms and flag. 

Population

According to the census at the moment of January 1, 2016 17690 people lived in Lepel.

Attractions

A monument to Lev Sapieha was erected on the occasion of the birthday of the town. The attraction was presented to townspeople on September 11, during the celebration of the 571st birthday of Lepel.

Lev Sapieha was born in 1557. His parents were Ivan Ivanovich Sapieha and Bogdana Drutskaya-Sokolinskaya. He spent his early life in Nesvizh, wh ere he was studying in the estate of the Radziwills.   

Lev Sapieha began Government service with a low post of a clerk in Orsha. But in 1581 he received a post of a Royal clerk under Stefan Báthory.   And seven years later Sapieha took up the position of Grand Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. But he did not stop only at political achievements. In 1621 the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became the Governor of Vilna.  After 4 years of service in this position he received the title of Grand Hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

The religious views of Lev Sapieha were also known: having received fundamentals of Orthodox faith from his parents, and later adopted Catholicism, he was an active supporter of Unitarianism. In 1588 a preparation for Church Union was also held with his help.

There are many disputes around the role of Leo Sapieha in creating the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. According to some historians, Sapieha was an initiator of the bill, but others assert that he just carried out the codification of acts. In any case, it is safe to say that Lev Sapieha was directly involved in the creation of the document that determined the state system of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and made the Belarusian language as a state one.

Lev Sapieha went down in history not only as an outstanding politician and military figure. Under his guidance there were built several churches among which was the Church of St. Michael that is the burial place of Sapieha’s ashes.

The idea of creating a monument to Lev Sapieha in Lepel belongs to Roman Catholic priest Andrey Aniskevich. The sculptor of the monument was Lev Oksakov. According to the author’s idea the three-meter sculpture of Lev Sapieha is made of bronze and set on a pedestal. The politician is depicted wearing a cuirass and kuntush (a coat with slits on sleeves), which were the ceremonial clothes of those times. In the right hand the Chancellor holds a mace, a hetman’s regalia, a sword hilt is a sipport for the left hand.

The monument to Lev Sapieha in Lepel exists in a single copy and is not just a sculpture of the great man, but, above all, a tribute to the whole era of the Belarusian people. 

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Tours and excursions

  • Minsk - Babtsy - Lepel - Polotsk - Orekhovno - Ushachy - Selische - Bychki - Minsk
  • Number of hours 14

Recommended accommodation

, Lepel , Belarus
  • Distance to airport: 155 км от аэропорта Минск-1 km