The heathen temple in the village of Toronkovichi

Dvor-Toronkovichi

Archaeological objects

Lepel district of Vitebsk region is famous for attractions to see which comes almost the whole Belarus. One of the most famous natural monuments of the region can be called a powerful “Tsar oak”, which is under the state protection. The oak is really huge and its age ranges fr om 300 to 400 years. Another peculiar attraction of Lepel district is considered to be a heathen temple in the village of Toronkovichi where you can see stone crosses. If you delve into European history, many centuries ago in different States stone crosses were placed in specially designated areas, starting with areas where a significant event occurred and ending with heathen temples. Belarus was not an exception.

In the old days the Belarusian pagans worshiped many deities. Dazhbog, who was the God of the Sun, and the God of the Thunder Perun stood high in their esteem. Images of deities were carved of stone and wood. But it happened that pagans used immense stones, which were a lot on the territory of Belarus after melting of the glacier, as ready-made idols. There were a great number of such idols. But they could have been more if not the Soviet government, leading an active struggle against religious manifestations. In Soviet times the found crosses were either completely destroyed or used for construction needs.  

A heathen temple is a place behind a pagan altar with statues of gods. Historians, studying stone statues in the village of Toronkovichi, in one voice say that this is not crosses at all, but they are real statues of idols. This is supported by the fact that parts of the crosses are not quite symmetrical and if you look closely, you can discern in them the outlines of a human body. Looking at the stone statues, it is hard to imagine what tools pagans used to achieve such an amazing result.  

At the time, when the heathen temple in the village of Toronkovichi was found, nobody gave a special significance to this discovery: the stone crosses were just moved to the nearest forest, so they did not impede to conduct field work. In those places they had been lying for a long time, until they were found by local enthusiasts, having placed them on their places in a beautiful field on the hill near a beautiful lake. Now locals call this place “Lepel Stonehenge” wh ere you can feel a special energy that gives you a creepy feeling. The heathen temple in the village Toronkovichi also includes a stone altar with a length of over four meters.

Now it is quite problematic to determine the period of the creation of the stone sculptures. There is a version that they might be made between the 9th and 10th centuries. But there are some historians who incline to the version that they were the statues of the 12-13th centuries.  But salt symbols, painted on the sculptures, appeared later. The height of many sculptures is one meter.

The heathen temple in the village of Toronkovichi is an unusual, majestic and sacred place. It is worth visiting for those who are interested in the history of Belarus and attach great importance to ancient pagan symbols. 

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