Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Zaslavi, Belarus

On the way to the Stalin Line, our tour group made a stop at the small town of Zaslavi.  It is about 20 km (13 miles) northwest of Minsk.

At more than 1,000 years, Заслaўе is one of the oldest towns in Belarus.  It was founded in 985 and has a population just over 15,000.

Dima talking about the town's history
The town was founded by Vladimir the Great when he banished his wife, Rogneda, and son, Izyaslav, to live here.  The town's name comes from the son.

During the Reformation, this was a hub for Calvinists.  The town's main site is the Saviour Transfiguration Church.  It was built in 1577 and was the primary Calvinist church.
Ruins of the old castle gate

Like most towns in Belarus, all of the old Soviet-era statues and monuments are still visible.  Here, Lenin still stands in front of the town hall.

St. Mary's Church

Our guide today was Dima.  He studied in Prague for a couple of years so I actually got to speak Czech today.  I think it really confused some of the Russian tourists today why the Belarusian guide and the American were speaking Czech.  I have to say, it did feel good to be able to speak it.

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