Polotsk is the most ancient city in Belarus. Locals and tour-guides call it the cradle of the Belarusian statehood. Moreover, every year more than 300 thousand tourists and pilgrims come to the city with the population of 85,000 people to see the "big three": St. Sophia Cathedral, the Spaso-Euphrosyne monastery and the Museum of Belarusian printing.
A trip to Polotsk is one of the most exciting in Belarus. It was the capital of the first state on the territory of our country is Polotsk Principality. Many of the most famous Belarusians were born in Polotsk and throughout their lives glorified this wonderful city. Here and the legendary Prince of Polotsk Vseslav Magician, and the famous enlightener Euphrosyne of Polotsk, which is Saint not only for Orthodox but also for Catholics. Polotsk is the birthplace of the first printer Francis Skaryna, a person symbolizing science and education in Belarus, as well as Simeon of Polotsk, a writer, a priest, a personal astrologer and a mentor of the children of the Russian Tsar.
To see the ancient capital of the Principality of Polotsk is interesting at any time of the year: in the spring chestnuts bloom in Polotsk, moreover, you can see an unforgettable sight — the overflowing Western Dvina. In summer, the city is just comfortable to walk though all night and listen to the nightingales singing. Polotsk in autumn has the romance and poetry, and in winter the city turns into one giant snow sculpture of bizarre shapes.
Saint Sophia Cathedral is seen from both bridges leading into the city, and even standing on the bridge in the nearby Novopolotsk you can see the elegant Baroque silhouette of the temple, which in 2030 will be a thousand years old. Rebuilt in the XVIII century, the Cathedral is not a religious building today and is one of the best concert halls in Europe with a magnificent organ. It is a crime to come to Polotsk and not to attend a concert of organ music.
At the walls of the temple there is a giant boulder stone. At the time of Prince Rogvolod stone marked the boundaries of the Principality, and now has become one of the city's attractions. Some guides have a tradition with a stone, specially interesting for tourists: if you make a wish, and after run around the stone 3 times, it will come true.
Walk along the Nizhepokrovskaya Street. Nizhepokrovskaya street is dotted with the museums and monuments in the city. Going down the stairs from St. Sophia Cathedral, by passing just 100 meters you can see the walls of the former Jesuit Collegium, which is now houses one of the buildings of the Polotsk State University. The historical building has its own attractions: a statue of a student, a clock in the courtyard of the College and a recently appeared mechanical talking head-a copy of the outlandish mechanism of the XVIII century.
Just behind the Collegium there is the building of the former Lutheran Church, which houses the Museum, the exposition of which tells about the history of the city from ancient times. Fans of edged weapons will be interested in the sword of the X century, which is placed in the Museum.
Another small transition-and you will find yourself at the walls of several Polotsk attractions: the Museum-library of Simeon of Polotsk, the Museum of Belarusian printing And Epiphany Cathedral.
Another attraction of the city is located just on the Avenue of Francis Skaryna. Because the city is considered to be the geographical center of Europe. It does not matter that several settlements in Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland fight for this title. A memorial sign is installed not far from the square of Francis Skaryna, just a few steps from the post office, where, by the way, you can buy a certificate confirming that you have visited the geographical center of Europe.
Further along the route is a private Museum of medieval chivalry, located in a two-storey building on Engels street.