Culture and Art in Grodno region
Architectural compounds are the main physical artifacts inherited by Grodno residents from past generations. This is a major part of their cultural heritage. These are monuments of various epochs and styles reflecting facts from the convoluted history of the city. Monuments of the Russian art of building have survived (remainders of the caste walls and towers, the Lower Church and Sts. Boris and Gleb Church), the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque- style species of architecture (Bernardin Cathedral and Monastery, Old Castle), Baroque-style monuments (Jesuit, Bridgettine and French Convents with Cathedrals), etc.
Sts. Boris and Gleb (Kolozha) Church is a unique specimen of the Russian art of building. Located on a high steep bank of the Neman it has not completely survived: its arches and cupola collapsed long ago and the southern and a part of the western wall fell into the river hit by a landslide in 1853. During the Soviet Union times the church was restored and is operating now. Visitors can see fresco paintings of the 12th century inside the church.
St. Frances Xavier Cathedral (earlier Jesuit Cathedral) built in 1678 is a splendid specimen of Belarus’ architecture of the 17–18th centuries. The cathedral and monastery used to be the richest churches in Rzeczpospolita. They occupied a whole residential area in the centre of the town. Architectural plastic, sculpture and paintings used to decorate the cathedral.
The Grodno city and suburbs boast many historical monuments and specimens of architecture. Among them are Stanislawow country estate with a park and August palace, a former residence of the Polish King August Poniatowski. These are small Baroque-style buildings having certain features of the Classicism architecture dating back to the 1760s–1770s. Only fragments of the palace survived while the country estate is used as an educational centre.
The town of Novogrudok is the first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which hosted sessions of the Lithuanian tribunal and the Seim of the Polish gentry to elect the Grand Duke of Lithuania and later – the King of Poland.
It was Novogrudok where poet Adam Mitskevich was born. His family moved there from the farmstead of Zaosje. In Novogrudok Adam Mitskevich went to school and started writing his first poems in the Polish language though he called himself a Lithuanian. An exposition of the local museum will tell visitors about the creative activity of the Belarusian poet and everyday life of the Belarusian gentry.
There is a Krasnoselsky archeological complex on the territory of the region. It is a unique collection of artifacts from the Mesolite epoch to the late Middle Ages.
The Grodno region traditionally hosts many festivals. Among them are the All-Belarusian Festival of National Cultures, the republican festival of arts “Mir Castle”, the republican festival of creative youth of drama theatres and puppet shows “Nadezhda”, the regional folk music festival “May Musicians Play!”, the international tilting match in Novogrudok, artistic meetings “Grodno- Bialystok” and others.
The Grodno region has managed to preserve and restore several historical castles. Among them is Mir Castle – an ancient specimen of architecture that in 2002 was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A part of the national park Belovezhskaya Puscha and the Nalibokskiy hunting reserve are located in the region. There is also a hydrological reserve Dikoye, landscape reserves Svityazanka and Ozera, Gozhovsky, Porechsky, Sopotskinsky and Slonimsky botanical reserves in the region.
Zhirovichi Monastery is one of the main pilgrimage sites not only in the region but also in the whole country. Besides, the miracle-working Zhirovichi Mother of God icon is kept there.
The Grodno region has a rich cultural heritage. Its many attractions include:
3 major theatres
a philharmonic society
2 music colleges
26 international, republic and regional festivals and competitions take place in the Grodno region annually. The most popular of them include the Republican Festival of National Cultures and the Mir Castle Regional Festival of Arts.