One of the oldest and most beautiful cities of Belarus Grodno is situated on both banks of the Neman River. Ancient Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches, synagogue, medieval castles and the Royal Palace, many ancient buildings make up its unique architectural appearance. Grodno is called the most European of the Belarusian cities because of it. Walking down the cozy streets of the well-preserved historical center, you come across evidence of a long and eventful past.
The official chronicle of the city starts from 1128, it was the first mentioning in written chronicles. At those times it was already a developed settlement, which meant that Grodno appeared even earlier. One of the oldest fortifications is the famous old castle, which rises on the steep right bank of the Neman. The first wooden building appeared here in the XI century, then it was rebuilt many times. It was the residence of famous rulers such as Lithuanian Prince Vytautas, the Polish king Casimir IV, and Stephen Bathory. Today the castle is under a full-scale reconstruction, so that return its former appearance.
If you cross the bridge from the Old Castle, you will reach the New Castle, a luxurious Royal residence in the Rococo style, built for the king August III in the XVIII century. On the square between the castles your attention is drawn to the monument to Prince Vytautas, a harsh figure of a warrior with a massive sword in his hands.
Grodno is famous for its religious architecture of different confessions. The oldest church is the Orthodox Kolozha Church (Borisoglebskaya), a massive brick building of unique architecture. It is a great specimen of the architecture of the era of Kiev Rus and it was built in the XII century and is one of the oldest functioning churches in Belarus, by the way.
The main Catholic Church in Grodno is the monumental Cathedral Church of St. Francis Xavier, built by the order of the Jesuits in the second half of the XVII century. It is conveniently located on the Central Savetskaya square and is worth visiting not only look at it outside. Inside there are interesting frescoes, amazing Baroque altar, carved wooden iconostases. The tower clock on the Cathedral is also one of the oldest in Eastern Europe, moved from the destroyed building of the City Hall. There is also a pharmacy-museum, operating since the distant 1709. Half of it is occupied by a collection of medical and pharmacy tools, utensils, medicines, books. There are no pharmacies older than this one in nearby countries.
No less noteworthy are other churches in Grodno:
* Ornate Orthodox Pokrovsky Cathedral;
* church of the acquisition of the Holy cross (and Bernardine monastery);
* church of the Annunciation of Virgin Mary of the 17th century;
* strict neo-Gothic Lutheran Church;
* large choral synagogue in Moorish style etc.
Moreover, in Grodno there is the only State Museum of the History of the Religion in Republic.
A popular place for walking in the historic part of the city is a pedestrian Savetskaya street, densely built up with old architecture. Now there are shops, offices, cafes.
Grodno is interesting not only for historical attractions, but today it is a modern tourist center, offering entertainment for every taste. Travelers with children will certainly be interested in Grodno zoo, which has more than 300 species of animals. Spend your time actively in the water park and take a leisurely stroll in the evening in the Park Gilbert. It is a beautiful city park with picturesque alleys, gazebos, streams and bridges, lots of attractions. It bears the name of a French biologist who founded the Botanical garden and the medical Academy in 1775.
An inquisitive tourist can spend leisure time by visiting the original museums of Grodno, such as
- Museum of normal and paranormal anatomy (Kunstkamera);
- museum of fire-fighting service;
- iron's museum;
- museum of urban life and history, etc.
This ancient city, the residence of the Polish kings and Grand Dukes of Lithuania lives a rich cultural life today. The regional drama theater is not only one of the architectural symbols of the city, but also regularly pleases the audience with new performances. Houses-museums of the Belarusian poet Bogdanovich, poetess Ozheshko, Tizengauz’s gallery will interest fans of art and creativity.
Nature lovers won't be bored in Grodno, after all, they will have the opportunity to explore the Augustow canal. It is an engineering marvel of the XIX century, connecting of the Neman and the Vistula by the navigation. Today is a popular water route for observing the flora and fauna of the Augustów primeval forest.
In General, Grodno will be able to captivate and surprise even a seasoned tourist and leave pleasant memories of the days spent in it.
Where to eat:
1. Restaurant “Korolevskaya Ohota”. The name of the restaurant is translated as Royal Hunt and not by chance because here you can try royal Belarusian cuisine. The restaurant "Royal Hunt" was opened on Ozheshko street in the building of a monument of architecture of the XIX century, immediately became a fashionable place and one of the main attractions of Grodno – not only gastronomic, but also architectural. The interior of the restaurant is designed in the style of classicism. It is dominated by Burgundy-Golden tones, emphasizing the luxury and high cost of the restaurant.
2. Café-confectionery “Raskosha”. "Raskosha" is located on a pedestrian Savetskaya street. A cafe is easily recognizable by the distinctive wrought-iron canopy over the entrance and other decorative elements, as well as the sign at the entrance, informing about the possibility to take a coffee with you. In the cafe visitors can sit in one of the two main halls, and on the glazed summer terrace overlooking the courtyard, and go down to the dungeon. "Raskosha" pleases an eye with sophisticated interior that combines old open brick walls with simple white walls and ceilings. Café offers a great choice of tea, coffee and smoothies, great range of pastries, salads and soups.
3. Café “Amsterdam”. Cafe "Amsterdam" is a cozy corner of peace in the middle of the city bustle. The stylish interior created on the game of contrasts – the use of warm and cool colors, a combination of different styles and cultural trends creates the atmosphere of ancient Europe. A great place to dine with the whole family or to organize a business lunch with partners. In "Amsterdam" you can enjoy classic dishes of European cuisine, a variety which will delight even true gourmets: more than 10 types of pizzas, more than 20 types of main dishes, pasta, risotto, desserts and more.