Orsha, an Ancient City on the Dnieper River

This time the VV creative team decided to go to the south of the Vitebsk Region. More specifically, we are heading to the city where Uladzimir Karatkievich, one of the most prominent and most original Belarusian writers of the 20th century, was born and raised. No doubt you have already guessed where we are. You have hit it right, we are in Orsha, in a city situated on the Dnieper River.

Many of us consider this city the largest railway junction in the country. It is a district centre and notable for its rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Orsha is also the location of the largest Belarusian linen textile manufacturer. Let's get this started!  

Linen Luxury

In Orsha, the Orsha Linen Mill opened its first in the Vitebsk Region multibrand shop showroom Dom Lna, which is a tourist spot visited by all guests of the city. 


“The Orsha Linen Mill, one of the largest textile mills in the world, is located in this city, and this year, the mill is celebrating its 93rd anniversary, – said Sergey Sidin, Deputy Director General for Ideology and Social Issues of the enterprise.

– Dom Lna, the largest shop in Europe (retail space: 1,450 sq. m), offers products made from both pure linen and a combination of cotton and viscose”. The linen mill produces more than 2.5 thousand items and releases. Everything related to metre fabrics and home textiles is produced under the Belaruski lyon brand, and clothes are produced under the Vilini brand. There are two factories that use the patterns developed by our designers to sew.

Dom Lna also sells sewn items of other enterprises that use Orsha flax in their operations, and there are foreign companies among those enterprises, too. 


By the way, the industrial tourism plan includes an hour and a half guided tour, during which you can visit the mainstay itself, where you will learn a lot of interesting things about northern silk.  

One of the intriguing facts is that the mill has produced more than 2 billion 750 million linear metres of fabric for the entire time of its operation. “86 times” is the number of times that the globe can be wrapped around the equator with this amount of fabric sewn in one roll. 


The Orsha Linen Mill produces about 18.5 million linear metres of fabric and more than 3.5 million piece-goods per year.

Not Just Hockey

The attention of tourists is also attracted by a huge five-tiered building with a total area of more than 23 thousand square metres. This building is the Ice Arena, and today it has no analogues in the Vitebsk Area yet. 


The heart of the arena is a playground designed for 3,500 people. It ranks fourth in the country. The professional hockey team Lokomotiv-Orsha uses this place for their training. The Ice Arena hosts matches of the Belarusian Extraleague during the entire hockey season. A huge number of people come to watch these matches. For instance, more than 3,000 spectators attended the final Lokomotiv's match of this season.


Students from the local children's and youth ice hockey and short track sports school also train on this ice rink. The arena hosts children's and junior tournaments in these sports on a regular basis. It also hosts the international chess tournament, which is attended by athletes of different ages from countries near and far abroad. 

Now the arena is being prepared to host boxing competitions as part of the 2nd CIS Games.

Public ice skating is well-liked by the city's residents, and in this regard, 180 people who want to go skating can visit the Ice Arena at the same time.

The residents of Orsha and guests of the district centre can use the services of a gym operating up-to-date equipment, a choreography hall, a swimming pool with 6-metre lanes, a sauna, and a bowling alley. For the convenience of visitors, several car parks have been built that can accept about 400 cars.

The outdoor training ground, workout area, and running paths of the park are also in great demand. There is an open tennis court and billiards. In other words, various sports areas are actively developing in Orsha.


When it comes to sports facilities, it is necessary to give more detail about the Olimpiyets, which was built under the Gazprom for the Children of Belarus programme and is part of the State Sports Institution Hockey Club Lokomotiv-Orsha. 


The sports complex consists of two halls. The first hall is designed for boxing. It occupies 600 sq. m and has a grandstand for 50 seats. This hall is one of the best in the country. This hall has repeatedly hosted an international boxing tournament in memory of Anatoly Kolchin, Honoured Coach of the Republic of Belarus.


The second hall is a one of universal use. It occupies more than a thousand square metres and is used for playing sports such as basketball, volleyball, handball, and mini-football. In this hall, there is a retractable tribune for 250 seats. By the way, this hall is the base of the Viten team, the five-time mini-football champion of Belarus.

The Ice Arena is not only the centre of the city's sports life. It hosts national and international cultural and business events at the highest level. All conditions have been created for this, namely, an entertainment centre with a restaurant, two modern video halls, a conference hall, a press centre, and a negotiation room were built. Up-to-date sound and lighting equipment was installed for holding concerts and public events. Lev Leshchenko, Nadezhda Babkina, and Yuriy Shatunov performed at the Arena. The Arena also hosted many circus shows and many other events.

The Sports Achievement Museum is also of great interest. This museum is based on information and photographic materials that testify to high-profile victories at international competitions. The unique exhibits of the museum are represented by the T-shirt with national symbols of the athlete Alina Talay, skates of the silver and bronze champion of the Olympic Games Igor Zhelezovsky, paraphernalia of cyclists Alexander Kuchinsky, Tatyana Sharakova, and Stanislav Bozhkov. In this museum, you can also see various classes medals of Sergey Kitaev, who coached the Belarusian freestyle wrestling team. There is also a stand where you can see the awards of Vyacheslav Zarubitsky and Mikhey Naumenko, world and European champions in rapid and classical chess.

Stories Told by Exhibits 

In our opinion, visiting the Museum of Military History named after the Hero of the Soviet Union Konstantin Zaslonov is one of the touristic musts when visiting Orsha.
The expositions organised in a modern two-story building with a total area of more than a
thousand square metres, will strike a chord with all visitors of the museum. 


The former old wooden building of the museum was destroyed by a hurricane in 2016. The structure could not be restored, and it was decided to demolish it. The local residents, including the veterans of the Great Patriotic War, asked the local authorities to keep the museum in its usual place. A few years later, this cultural object was included in the Orsha District Investment Programme. Now one year has passed, as the museum works in the same place, but welcomes its guests in a new guise.

The attention of visitors is attracted by the white solemn colonnade, where every fourth column is shorter as a symbol of the death of every fourth inhabitant of Soviet Belarus during the war years (this information was collected immediately after the war, but now other figures are available. It is known that every third person died). The building itself was built in dark colours, the purpose of which is to remind of the war and the tragic events of the war years. A monument was erected in front of the museum in memory of the employees of the district railway depot who died during the Great Patriotic War. The museum has a bas-relief of Konstantin Zaslonov, and next to it there is a multimedia facility that introduces the main exhibition blocks. Another central object of the museum is a three-dimensional picture of the Orsha railway junction.

Veronika Yuryeva, Head of the Museum, says that compared to the old museum, the area of the new one has more than doubled, so the permanent exhibition has been expanded. If earlier museum visitors could get acquainted with about 300 original items from the core fund of the museum, now their number exceeds 500.


It is worth noting that the sound accompaniment of the expositions provided in all three halls makes it possible to fully immerse yourself in the pre-war life of Orsha, the periods of occupation, the long-awaited liberation, and restoration of Orsha from the ruins.

According to the pre-war census, the population of Orsha was about 40 thousand people. But only about 3 thousand people were able to see the Great Victory. 


The exposition consists of several thematic blocks. The most dramatic moments include the border of peaceful life and the first hours of the enemy invasion, the capture of the city, the establishment of the occupation regime, and the Orsha ghetto. 


“In the Genocide hall with no windows and doors, one of the unique exhibits has a special meaning. This is a telephone wire, – said Veronika Yuryeva. – It was found in one of the three graves with the executed civilians of Orsha and the Orsha District during the Great Patriotic War. The Nazis used this wire to connect the remains of three people they had mutilated.” 

In the same hall there are photographs of people who went through the death camps, and next to them there are photographs in which nothing is depicted, as a symbol of blank spots in history. 

Audio guides will be launched in the museum soon. You can listen to the partisans' oath, and in the Genocide hall, recordings of the barking of shepherd dogs, the crackling of a fire, German speech, and a lullaby of a German mother are turned on, and in the hall where the Katyusha multiple rocket launcher is installed, a recording sounds on which Captain Ivan Flyorov gives the command of the opening volley.

Orsha is one of the four Belarusian cities awarded the 1st degree Order of the Patriotic War.

Comfortable Overnight Accommodation

The history of the place where the up-to-date beautiful hotel complex Intense was built dates back to 1964. It was then that the Consumer Services Centre was opened in Orsha. Over time, the two-floor building stayed out of work. It was tendered. According to the tender terms, the new owners had to reconstruct the building into a hotel and put it into operation. 


According to Irina Postnikova, Co-owner of the Hotel Complex, over the year, the unused property has turned into an up-to-date building, which has become a local landmark in this area of Orsha. The hotel complex opened its doors quite recently, but already attracts both local residents and tourists. The changes are especially impressive for those who remember what this empty building was like the last few years.


In addition to hotel rooms of different categories, including suites and apartments, the complex includes a cafe (pictured right). Here, local residents and guests of the city can taste delicious European dishes (mainly Italian cuisine) and original master-dishes.

Another advantage of the Intense Hotel is that it is located at a stone's throw from a picturesque park, the Ice Arena and the Olimpiyets sports complex. This creates a comfortable environment for fans and athletes. 


Another place where you can spend the night is the Orsha Hotel. The multi-floor building of the hotel is located in the very centre of the city. Despite the fact that the hotel will be 65 years old this year, it looks fresh and attractive from the outside. Of course, during the several decades of the existence of the building, it was reconstructed. The last reconstruction was carried out in 2008, and the hotel was awarded the category “three stars”. It is believed that a positive impression is made on the interlocutor within a few seconds, and in the Orsha Hotel this rule works perfectly. At the entrance to the hotel you will be greeted by the receptionist with a friendly smile. Registration at the reception desk will also go very quickly. 

Guests of the city can choose a room from 96 apartment, luxury, economy, single, and king-size rooms. Additional services such as sauna, billiards, fitness, and dance halls, Gurman cafe play an important role in ensuring the comfort of hotel guests. 

According to Sergey Zheldibaev, Director of the Orsha Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship and Real Estate Support, heads of ministries and departments and pop stars were among the guests of the hotel. All of them were satisfied with the service provided. This is confirmed by the notes with words of gratitude in the customer comment book, and the reviews of guests on the Internet. 

Sergey Zheldibaev also added that the design of a spa area and a cafe in the hotel is currently underway, which will increase the number of seats, and as a result, the conditions for guests' stay at the Orsha Hotel will improve significantly.


Apparently, it is not necessary to go somewhere far to get a huge amount of impressions and make a lot of useful discoveries. Orsha is a bright illustration of this. The water mill, the emblematic Katyusha multiple rocket launcher, or the Jesuit Collegium. So, don't hesitate and get ready for new adventures. Orsha is looking forward to your visit!

Проект подготовила Екатерина Ляховская,
видео Александра Ходюкова,
фото Дмитрия Осипова,
web-верстка Чимковский Пётр

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