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Bella Cultura

Church in SarjaThe spirit of history shrouds the legendary cities of Bella Dvina region – Polotsk and Vitebsk. Every step along the streets of these cities is a peculiar travelling into the glorious past, while various material witnesses of past epochs – ancient churches and historical buildings – a ready to open their mysteries to you, whenever you give efforts to listen and watch them carefully. There are many interesting historical places in Vitebsk that survived up to the present day – the 12th century Church of the Annunciation, Saint Barbara Church, the building of the City Hall, which for the time being hosts Vitebsk Regional Local History Museum, Svyato-Pokrovsky Sobor (Cathedral church), Former Governor Palace, Svyato-Uspenskaya Church, Former Land Bank building, Former District Court building and the building of Women Eparchy School. In Polotsk you will be charmed by a magnificent 11-18 century Saint Sophia Cathedral with an operating Concert hall of chamber and organ music, an architectural complex of Boris and Gleb Monastery, Lutheran Kirche, Jesuit Collegium, Bogoyavlensky Monastery, Monastery of the Savior and Saint Euphrosyne, the Red Bridge, Boris Stone and much more.

Legendary Vitebsk is often referred to as the city of artists and this is no coincidence – here such world famous masters as Ilya Repin, Yury Pen, Marc Chagall and Kazimir Malevich used to live and work. Up to present day there remain buildings closely connected to life and art of Marc Chagall – building of the public art school, Chagall family house. There are monuments to him, the Marc Chagall Art Center is opened. Vitebsk hosts International Days of Chagall festival and various art plain airs.

Puppet museumThe artifacts from the past times are carefully preserved in museums, every one of which are original and are worth visiting by an inquisitive traveler. Wide acclaim is give to the Marc Chagall House Museum, Art Museum, Private Collections Museum in Vitebsk, museum Saint Sophia Cathedral, Belarusian Book Printing Museum, Art Gallery in the building of the Former Jesuit Collegium and Former Cadet Corps, Nature and Ecology Museum in Polotsk, Russian artist Ilya Repin’s Museum Estate in Zdravnevo, Museum of Ivan Chersky, explorer of Siberia and Far East in Volyntsy and man more.
Vitebsk is rightfully proud of the National Academic Theatre of Yacub Kolas and Children Muppet Theatre ‘Lyalka,’ which has one many awards at theatre festivals always making children happy with its funny and clever productions. There are more and more amateurs of the Historical Middle Ages Costume Theatre in Polotsk.

Traditional crafts masters of Bella Dvina restore traditions of folk art – weaving, pottery, vine braiding, wood carving and other crafts. Village Beshenkovichi on Zapadnaya Dvina has been famous from old times as the center of pottery – the so-called Beshenkovichi-style ceramics. Pottery in KraslavaThe city Verhnedvinsk, located where river Drissa flows into Zapadnaya Dvina, was well known as the center of the traditional folk art weaving. The old artifacts of this craft can be seen in amazing Weaving Museum of Poozerje in Polotsk. Contemporary crafts people, using the old secrets of workmanship and setting own imagination free, create things of breathtaking beauty.

There is always something interesting going on in Bella Dvina region. Active cultural life manifests itself in numerous fests and events, which attract guests as a magnet. Especially remarkable is in this instance Vitebsk with its festive traditions – a city of holidays, contests and festivals. Various festivals go on here – Festival of Children Art, Festival of Show Art, Contests of Young Talents, including the International Art Festival “Slavyansky Bazar in Vitebsk”, International Music Festival of Sollertinsky, International Festival of Contemporary Choreography, Republican Dress Designer and Model Agencies Contest ‘White Amphora’, Festival of Classical Guitar Music ‘Minstrel’, Festival of Bard Song ‘Vitebsk Leaf Fall’. Themes of the festivals are so diverse that travelers with different tastes and preferences will be able to find something of their ‘own’.

© 2010 Bella Dvina