In our Vitebsk travel guide, we will convince you that it is worth to visit it.
We will also tell you about the main attractions of Vitebsk and show you an itinerary, so that you don’t miss some of the interesting places in the city!
History of Vitebsk
Vitebsk is a Belarusian city located on two rivers: the Western Dvina and Vitsba According to the official version, the city was founded by the Grand Duchess Olga in the distant year of 974.
Being a logistic and industrial center of the north of Belarus, Vitebsk is also considered the cultural capital of the country.
Vitebsk played an important role in the development of art. The first art school in the country was opened here (worth noting are some of its graduates like Osip Tsadkin, Solomin Yudovin, Zair Azgur).
The great painter Marc Chagall was also born here. You can see the beauty of the Vitebsk city landscape on his paintings. A bit later, we will tell you about the house-museum of Marc Chagall.
The city is also considered the smaller capital of Renaissance (Paris is the bigger one). In Soviet times, Vitebsk gathered numerous artists of the Russian avant-garde.
The consequences of this you can still notice in the form of a variety of cultural attractions of Vitebsk: museums, theaters and private collections.
Video of Vitebsk Attractions
Before we start telling you about the main sights of Vitebsk, have a look at this video to get some impression of the city.
Attractions in Vitebsk
Main Attractions of Vitebsk
Among them you can find beautiful churches, interesting museums, numerous fountains and some unusual sights that you are unlikely to find outside Vitebsk.
Let’s start with a story about the main museums of the city.
Top 5 Museums of Vitebsk
Vitebsk has a wide variety of museums, most of which are devoted to arts and culture. To save your time, we have chosen top 5 museums of the city that you definitely should visit:
House-Museum and Art Center of Marc Chagall
Here, he spent the first 20 years of his life. In Vitebsk, he began to learn art from the local painter Juden Pan. After that, he moved to St. Petersburg, then temporarily lived in France, Lithuania, Russia, Germany, the United States, but continued to come back to his hometown.
In his house-museum, you can feel the creative atmosphere that inspired the artist to create his masterpieces, and see some of his paintings.
Address: st. Pokrovskaya, 11 (house-museum), st. Putna, 2 (art center).
Price: 2.5 rubles (adults), 1.5 rubles (schoolchildren, students).
Regional Museum of Local Lore
The museum is located in the Vitebsk city hall, the exhibition area of which is about 2 thousand square meters.
The museum presents items from archaeological excavations in the Vitebsk region, various collections, interesting information on the activities of local political parties, three revolutions, the activities of the Vitebsk underground and partisans in the territory of Vitebsk region.
Address: Lenin street, 36
Price: 1,5-5 rubles (adults), 0,8-2,5 (schoolchildren, students)
In the Art Museum of Vitebsk, there are numerous collections of porcelain, faience, embroidery, utensils of the XIII-XX centuries, as well as a wide variety of paintings by Belarusian and foreign artists.
Address: Lenin street, 32
Price: 1,5-5 rubles (adults), 0,8-2,5 (schoolchildren, students)
Museum-Estate I.E. Repin “Zdravnevo”
Vitebsk sheltered not just one famous artist. Ilya Repin also fell in love with the northern Belarusian city, and moved here for twelve years, during which he created a large number of famous paintings.
The estate is located outside the city, and Repin bought it when he was already famous and relatively rich. Therefore, here you can enjoy much larger territories than in the family nest of Marc Chagall.
Address: Koytovo village, Vitebsk region, 16 km from Vitebsk (landmark – Ruba town)
Price: 1-5 rubles (adults), 0,5-2,5 (schoolchildren, students)
The Tram Museum
In 1966, in the city opened a museum of the history of the Vitebsk tram. It is divided into five sections, each of which is devoted to one or another period of the history of this romantic mode of transport (from the time of appearance to the present day).
Address: 5th Frunze st. 7
Churches of Vitebsk
Here is one of the oldest churches in Belarus, the construction of which began as early as the 12th century by the Byzantines. This is the Annunciation Church. Its main highlight is its masonry: the walls of the church are lined with alternating horizontal rows of tilled blocks of limestone and thin, flat bricks. The only analogue of such architectural techniques in the world can only be found in Istanbul.
Pokrovsky Cathedral is located at the intersection of Lenin and Shubin streets. The cathedral was built in the early 19th century in the style of classicism on the site of a wooden church.
A beautiful church of red brick, located on Leningradskaya Street 28, is called the St. Barbara Cathedral. It was built in the late XVIII century in the Baroque style, and then was completed with the addition of Neo-Romanesque style.
Another church that you do not miss is the Resurrection Church, which is located on the market square. This Orthodox church was built quite recently, in 2009, following the pattern of a church that used to stand in its place before.
Fountains of the City
The most famous are: “The Merger of the Three Rivers”, “Gigeya – the Goddess of Medicine”, the Fountain in Mayakovsky Square, the Railway Station Square, Victory Square, Victory Park and other places in the city.
Theaters of Vitebsk
One of the great things to do in Vitebsk is to visit one of its two theaters.
The National Lyalka Theater is beloved by both adults and children. Very close to it, you can find a theater that pleases the audience with its repertoire for 90 years – the National Academic Drama Theater named after Yakub Kolas.
Victory Square – a huge square in the center of the city. On the square, you can also find another attraction – Three Bayonets, a monument that symbolizes the heroic sacrifices of the Belarusian people during the Second World War. Nearby is the Victory Park, a good place to rest from visiting the numerous sights of Vitebsk.
Another interesting place of the city is the “Dukhovskoy Kruglik“, one of the 7 former defensive towers of the Lower Castle, which was reconstructed combining modern and ancient architectural styles.
The building now serves as an exhibition center, and is also a popular place to take pictures in Vitebsk.
Very close to it is the Summer Amphitheater, the concert hall where the city’s main concerts, as well as the famous “Slavic Bazaar” festival are held.
Interested to know, what is special about the festival?
“Slavic Bazaar” in Vitebsk
Most of the people consider the International Arts Festival “Slavic Bazaar” (Slavianski Bazaar) the main feature and event of the city. It has long been known not only in Belarus but also abroad, attracting thousands and thousands of tourists traveling with families and friends to our country.
Slavianski Bazaar is a meeting place for connoisseurs of all kinds of arts. It does not matter whether you like literature, music, theater or cinema – within the framework of the festival you will certainly find something interesting for you.
Find out more about the Slavianski Bazaar festival in our article from 2017.
Map with an Itinerary around Vitebsk Attractions
Below you can see a map with a route to the main sights of Vitebsk. The route includes most of the places mentioned above.
You can also visit parks along the Vitba river, as well as monuments and museums in the north of the city.
Our advice is not to go through everything in a few hours, but to stay in Vitebsk for the weekend, to experience the spirit of the city and leisurely enjoy the sights of the city.
Book your hotel in Vitebsk using the form below:
The extensive Vitebsk region is also of interest to tourists. There are 1,894 reservoirs on its territory, including the largest lake group in Belarus – Braslav Lakes, which is an excellent opportunity to spend time on nature suitable for any kind of tourist.
This was our travel guide with the history and best things to do in Vitebsk and Vitebsk region. We hope that you enjoy this beautiful city. Read also about Mogilev and national parks of Belarus on our website.