Pinsk.The Jesuit College .
Here is the central Pinsk square, the heart of the town. In ancient times here was an Old Market with Bolshaya Triotskaya road (Kosmodemyanskaya street) stretched through it. On trade days lots of people from suburbs came here via this road and graff.
The great monastery ensemble placed on the square included St. Stanislaw Cathedral, the College and some support structures. Several architect generations took part in the ensemble building that lasted more than 40 years (1636-1676).
Only two small wings on the river bank and marvelous College - the oldest building of Pinsk - remained till our days.
The College outlook joined ideal Renaissance proportions and artistic Baroque. None of the four College frontages looks like the other. The College resembles an aerie with tower-buttress if one looks on it from Pina bank and the Eastern side with non-existing now small inner yard resembles an opened book.
Massive walls and intersecting vaults of the College keep the breath of ancient times. Famous tutors were competing in oratory here. The Jesuits managed to create the most progressive educational system in Europe and Pinsk College took a decent place in it. The education here was free for all: catholic and orthodox Christians, the poor and the rich. Polotsk and Pinsk Colleges were the best ones in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The full education course lasted 12-13 years and provided the students with university knowledge of high quality. A numerous library, printing-house and College theater were created here.
The College walls “remember” the great Jesuit missionary and martyr Andrzej Bobola. In 1938 he was canonized and his hallows were placed in the Cathedral crypt.
Karl XII, the King of Sweden also was here watching Pinsk from high Cathedral tower and trying to decide whether it was possible to start military campaign against Wolyn’.
Polish King Stanislaw II August Poniatowski was guesting in the College during his visit to Polessye in 1784.
Today wide stairs of the College lead to exhibit halls of Belarusian Polessye Museum founded more than 80 years ago. Dancing School for children is also placed in the building of the College.A modern Culture Centre was built on Lenin Square in 1970s. All prominent cultural events take place here and Pinsk citizens like to spend here their leisure time.
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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.