Culture and Art

The Vitebsk land is rich in historical and cultural traditions, which are kept alive and vital.

In Vitebsk there are 233 sites which have been included into the state list of historical and cultural values. Of them 219 are specimens of architecture, 6 are archeological sites, and 8 are historical sites.

Vitebsk has restored the former City Hall which was repeatedly destroyed, St. Barbara’s Catholic church, the church of the Patronage of the Mother of God, and the Church of the Annunciation. The Cathedral of the Assumption, Holy Resurrection Church and the Labazy historical site dating back to the 18th century are currently being restored.

Vitebsk has made history as one of the main centers of artistic avant-garde. The art of Ilya Repin, Yehuda Pen, Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich are closely connected with Vitebsk. I. Trutnev, M.Dobuzhinsky, L. Lisitsky, R.Falk worked here in different times.

The people’s art college and the house of Marc Chagall survive in the city. To commemorate the memory of the great artist, Vitebsk holds international Chagall days and plein airs. Ninety-four artists from Vitebsk are members of the Union of Artists of the Republic of Belarus.

There are two art schools, children’s art school, the Vitebsk college of arts and Masherov State University in Vitebsk.

In the town there are oblast local lore and art museums, a museum of personal collections, a literature museum, the M.F.Shmyrev Museum, the Museum of Soldiers-Internationalists, Marc Chagall’s Art-Center and Museum, Repin Museum Estate, and an exhibition hall of the Union of Artists.

The life and art of many prominent persons are linked with the Vitebsk region. Among them is Frantsysk Skorina, Simeon of Polotsk, Jerome of Prague, historians and regional ethnographers Aleksei Sapunov, Nikolai Nikiforovsky, Vladimir Krasnyansky, literary men Gavrila Derzhavin, Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Lazhechnikov, Ivan Bunin, Mikhail Bakhtin (the Bakhtin readings are regularly held in the town), Yevdokija Los, Artur Volsky, Vladimir Korotkevich, Rygor Borodulin, Vasil Bykov. The region holds the Literature Days dedicated to Vladimir Korotkevich, a poetry festival and the Pushkin event. There are over 100 libraries in the oblast.

There are also the Yakub Kolas National Academic Drama Theater and the Belarusian Theater Lyalka.

Cultural events and concert activity is run by the largest cultural establishments of Belarus, notably the Urban Center of Culture and its subsidiary, Summer Amphitheatre, the KIM cultural and business center, the Vitebsk Oblast Philharmonic. Three art schools, four music schools, Sollertinsky Music College of Vitebsk play an important role in the cultural and music education of the town.

Festival movement is gathering momentum in Vitebsk. The town hosts various children’s festivals, contests among young performers. The most significant events that have become a calling card of the town is the Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk international art festival, the Sollertinsky International Music Festival, the International Contemporary Choreography Festival, the Belaya Amphora national fashion contest, the Menestrel festival of classic guitar music, the Vitebsk Listopad Festival, the Vitebsk patriotic song festival, a traditional church music festival and Constellation of Muses, a meeting of artistic intelligentsia.