The monument to Peter Mstislavets in Mstislavl

The monument to Peter Mstislavets in Mstislavl


Sculpture, monuments, memorials

Geographical location

Mstislavl is a town in Mogilev region, 95 km from the regional center.

Historical background

The town was founded in 1135 under the head of Smolensk Prince Rostislav Mstislavovich, who named the town in honor of his father Mstislav the Great 


According to the recent figures, 10 376 people live in Mstislavl.


Mstislavl is unthinkable without the monument to Peter Mstislavets, and there are two of them in the town. One of them was installed in 2001. The attraction establishment was timed to the Day of Written Language. The monument is located on the central square of Mstislavl and meets all the visitors of the district executive committee. The sculpture of the Belarusian book printer is made of bronze and it is mounted on a marble pedestal. Peter Mstislavets is depicted with an open book in one hand; his gaze is directed into the bright future of the Belarusian people. A. Matvenenok was the monument’s sculptor. According to his project, the three-meter figure of the book printer represents wisdom and the idea of ​​enlightenment.

The second monument to Peter Mstislavets was installed in the town earlier, in 1986. It is located near the Jesuit church on Pervomayskaya Street, the building of the former men's gymnasium stands behind the monument. According to the architect’s idea, the first printer sits on a stone, which is in turn placed on a pedestal of boulders. Gesturing of the sculpture creates an impression that Mstislavets as if has asked a question and is waiting for a response to it. He points towards Russia with his left hand. The book printer is depicted in his youth; his figure is dressed in monastic robes.

The exact date of Peter Mstislavets’s birth is unknown. There is information that he was born in Mstislavl in the first half of the 16th century. There is no biography data of the book until 1564, when together with Ivan Fyodorov he published the first book on the territory of present-day Russia “Apostle”. Its creation was completed a year after the printing house had been opened by the comrades. In 1565, a successful cooperation led to the release of another one – “Book of Hours. The success of innovation caused a mass of envious persons and anger from the monk-scribes to appear. Peter Mstislavets and Ivan Fyodorov were forced to leave Moscow. They settled in Zabludov, where the hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Gregory Khodkevich, assisted the book printers in their craft. So, in 1569, the book “Didactic Gospels” saw the light. In the same year, Peter Mstislavets moved to Vilno, where he continued the work and published books “The Treasury Gospels”, “Book of Hours” and “Psalter”. Further, there is a large gap in the biography of the cultural figure until his death. The date of his death is also unknown. Most historians consider Peter Mstislavets to be gone after 1580.

Despite many unknown facts from Peter Mstislavets’s biography, we should judge its significance for the culture and writing of Belarus, Russia and Poland by his deeds. The foundation and development of the printing craft, the development of a unique evangelical font, as well as the introduction of ordinary people to reading – this is the result of a life of the famous Belarusian native of Mstislavl town.

Map location

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