Pinsk. Getting Сloser To The Origins

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Pinsk city it's one of the most beautiful and oldest Belarusian cities, an unofficial capital of Polesye (Southern Belarus). First mentioned in 1097, it enjoyed reasonable local importance for centuries, being at different times a seat of Orthodox bishops, a location of a big Jesuit college, and home for a thriving Jewish community. Today it has a population of around 130,000. The Pinsk principality had an important strategic location, between the principalities of Novaharodak and Galic-Valyn', which fought each other for the right to unite the other Slavic territories. Pinsk did not take part in this struggle, although it was inclined towards the princes of Novaharodak, which is shown by the fact that the future prince of Novaharodak and future Great Duke of Litva Vojsalk spent some time in Pinsk.

In 1320 Pinsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. From this time on Pinsk was ruled by the son of the Grand Duke Gedymin, Narymunt. Afterwards, for the next two centuries the city had different rulers. In 1581 Pinsk was granted the Magdeburg Code of Law. In 1648, on the eve of the war with Muscovite Russia, Pinsk was occupied by Ukrainian Cossack army under commander Niababy and could only be reconquered with great difficulty by prince Janus Radzivil, a high-ranking commander in the GDL army. The Muscovite Tsar Alexej, who wanted to be the only ruler of all Eastern Slavic peoples, took revenge on the GDL, and the Muscovite Orthodox Church had an opportunity to assert itself as the only successor of Constantinople, which had been taken by the Turks in 1453. Leaving Pinsk, the troops set it on fire, and both the city and the castle were completely destroyed. In 1706 Pinsk was again ravaged, this time by the army of the Swedish king Charles XII. In spite of all the wars the city recovered.

The historic city has a restored city centre full of two-story buildings dating from the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The city centre has become an active place for youth of all ages with summer theme parks and a newly built association football stadium that houses the town's football team, FC Volna Pinsk. Today Pinsk is a city in the South of Belarus', it has a river port and is linked through the Dniepr-Bug canal (built 1775-1848) with the Bug river and, through the Wisla river with the Baltic Sea. Another canal, the "Great Pinsk Canal" or "Ahinski", was built from 1765-75 at the expense of Mihal Kazimir Ahinski, a high-ranking commander in the GDL army; and linked the Jasielda river, the Northern tributary of the Prypiac', with the Scara, a tributary of the Nioman. This canal was damaged in both World Wars and is in a poor state today, although it could be restored as a historical monument.

Some of Pinsk's monuments of architecture have remained to the present day. They are a testimony of the city's former significance. Examples are the Catholic church and Franciscan monastery, which dates to the 16th-18th century and was rebuilt in 1920, the Jesuit college, rebuilt in 1651-75 (the college church had been ravaged in the 1950s), the Catholic church of Karl Barmeus (1770-82), St.Barbara's Church (1786) and the Pinsk palace (1784-94). Several 19th-century and early-20th-century buildings are still standing.

Sights in Pinsk:

  • The Assumption Cathedral of the monastery of the greyfriars with a campanile from 1817.
  • The Jesuit collegium, a large Mannerist complex, whose cathedral was demolished after World War II by communists.
  • The Butrymowicz Palace, built for Mateusz Butrymowicz, an important political and economical figure of Pinsk and Polesie.
  • The church of St. Charles Borromeo and St. Barbara Cathedral of the monastery of the St. Bernard order are placed near historic center in the former Karolin suburb.
  • The foremost among modern buildings is the black-domed Orthodox cathedral of St. Theodore.
  • Polesskii Drama Theatre.


  • Museum of Belorussian Polesye (Lenina str., 22).
  • People's Museum of Ethnography (Horuzhey str., 12).
  • The Literary Museum of Eugenia Janischitz (Porechie village, Centralnaya str., 212).
  • Literary and History Museum of Yakub Kolas (Porechie village, Polesskaya str.).
  • Library-Museum of Alexander Blok (Lopatino village, Sovietskaya str,).

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