Pinsk. The Central Square
Pinsk. The Central Square
Pinsk. The Central Square
Pinsk starts from here. A high chimney with stork nest seen both from the river side and the Square serves as a symbolic landmark. When coming closer one can see a commemorative token with words in Belarusian language: “From here starts our town above Pina” established on Pinsk stronghold border under wonderful fir trees.
The first reference to Pinsk dated November 5, 1097 was in the Tale of Bygone Years. Here the town was mentioned as one of Grand Duke of Kyiv Sviatopolk Izyaslavovich’s domain.
Nine centuries passed since those times. Epochs and ruling dynasties were changing one another. In the XVI century Pinsk was a big town with a wooden citadel, 16 churches, catholic and orthodox monasteries and a synagogue. Pinsk was the second prominent town after Vilnia in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and paid the same taxes in the treasury as Polatsk, Hrodna and Kyiv.
The Old Market was on the Square in ancient times. Citizens and peasants, merchants, Italians traded there. Church of St. Nicholas The Wonderworker, Saint Patron of tradesmen and travellers stood on the Square.
A great monastery ensemble that included the Cathedral, the College and some support structures was built here in XVII century. A majestic Cathedral with its skyward towers has been standing here for three centuries. There wasn’t any Cathedral in The Grand Duchy of Lithuania equal to Pinsk St. Stanislaw Cathedral. The whole volume of the building was 40 000 cubic meters, the dimensions - 28 meters high 25 meters wide. The frontage was decorated with two 3-tier towers both 11 meters high. The Cathedral was the charming and attracting symbol of Pinsk. The first foundation stone of the Cathedral was established by the Grand Chancellor and Starosta of Lithuania, Vilnia and Pinsk Albrycht Stanislaw Radziwill in 1636.
According to experts, the loss of this architectural masterpiece of Polessye is equivalent to demolishing of The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Historians characterize demolished Pinsk Cathedral as the biggest in the Commonwealth of Poland till the end of XVII century.
Only the College remained. Its building paid by Albrycht Stanislaw Radziwill took 40 years (1631-1675). Here everyone could get laic and religious education. Study halls, corridors, library, theater hall, frater and chapel were decorated with precious icons, sculptures and founders’ portraits.
Now the Museum of Belarusian Polessye is here in the College. Pinsk citizens are proud of their “Tretyakov Gallery of Pinsk” - gallery of 2000 paintings by I. K. Aivazovsky, V. M. Vasnetsov, K. E. Makovsky, V. G. Perov, V. D. Polenov, Ju. M. Pen, L. I. Solomatkin, I. I. Shishkin and portraits from Radziwill family collection.
In 2007 the Square was rebuilt in honor of 910th anniversary of Pinsk.
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Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.