We continue to travel around the Vitebsk Area and this time we invite you to visit Gorodok. This is the town that was chosen as the capital of the 30th Day of Belarusian Writing this year. Welcome to our on-line town tour! Find out what the town of Gorodok is renowned for and get ready for a journey next weekend. Be sure you won’t be bored.
If you want to learn about the life and culture of the town, be sure to visit the Gorodok Crafts and Folklore Centre.
Marina Gushcho, Director of this Centre, gave us a tour around it and told us that the Crafts Centre is aimed at preserving more than a dozen areas of arts and crafts. Masters of each of these arears strive to find a balance of a perfect bland of authenticity and modernity. The Centre employs 12 masters, five of whom hold the title of Folk Master of Belarus. Both children and adults can learn the essentials of crafts. Tourists often visit this Centre.
By the way, Gorodok craftsmen made souvenirs for the Day of Belarusian Writing.
We explored the creative workshops. Thus, masters from the folk costume and souvenir doll workshop make Belarusian dolls dressed in national costumes. By the way, the faces of these dolls were not depicted, since our ancestors used to perceive such dolls as their amulets.
Marina Gushcho noted that products from the northern region of Belarus are distinguished by their delicate and fine workmanship. In 2013, openwork weaving was included in the State List of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Belarus.
“Drawn-thread weaving is another unique traditional technique used in Gorodok and upheld by the needlewomen of the Crafts Centre,” said the guide. “Our workers did a painstaking work – they collected information about the technology of making authentic towels, went on ethnographic expeditions, and studied the funds of the regional museum. This made it possible to recreate some of the traditional towels. Similar embroidery is also done on clothes. Things with such embroidery is bought as souvenirs at fairs. When visiting the Crafts Centre, you can see lace inserts in fabrics – they look like openwork weaving. Actually, it’s not lace. Some of the threads are cut in a certain area of the fabric, after which the resulting cells are entwined, and a mesh is formed, on which the pattern is then embroidered.”
It is known in the country and abroad that straw-work is Belarusian gold. In the Gorodok Area, they are also developing traditional spiral straw-work technique, which was included in the State List of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Belarus in 2020. In addition, Gorodok craftsmen practice pottery and birch bark weaving. Marina Gushcho noted that documents have been collected and submitted so that birch bark shoes can also be included in the State List of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Belarus.
To make long story short, when you come to Gorodok, be sure to visit the Crafts and Folklore Centre, and snatch the opportunity to attend a master class.
Whizzing on the roller and ski run, visiting the Snegurochka’s (Snow Maiden’s) Residence and taking a rest at the lake. All these types of recreation are available within the town of Gorodok, namely in Vorobyovy Gory isolated terrain feature which is one of the main natural interests of the area.
The roller and ski run is one of the features of Gorodok, moreover it is the widest run of this type in Belarus. The maximum length of one circle is 7.5 kilometres and the width of the asphalt concrete road surface is 7 metres. There are also various interchanges along the distance, and the height difference is 28 metres. Both skiers and cross-country skiers of different skill levels can train on this trail.
According to Pavel Mezhuyev, Deputy Director of the Regional Centre of the Winter Sport Olympic Reserve, not only Belarusian athletes hold training camps here. Conditions have been created for holding high-class competitions. He is convinced that the roller and ski run is a good support for athletes. There is no need to go where there is snow. Show is laid down on the roller and ski run even before the onset of calendar winter. Man-made snow is not much different from natural one.
To ensure that the athletes did not feel uncomfortable, all conditions were created for them, that is, the following infrastructure was built in the sports area – a hotel for 75 beds with all amenities, a cafe, a fitness centre, gyms and game rooms, as well as a swimming pool. In addition, tourists can rent skates, skis, bicycles, and roller skis.
The roller and ski run remains a popular place for recreational activity in winter and summer among both residents of Gorodok and athletes and tourists.
The Gorodok Area impresses with its wild landscapes. The existence of special nature reserves is another evidence of the rich natural heritage. Of those, there is the Korytenskiy Mokh National Hydrological Reserve.
The Gorodok District will strike the chord with outdoor-activity seekers. Take my word for it. You will be well and truly amazed because you get the chance to see relict plant species listed in the Red Book of Belarus, kayak in specially protected natural areas and not just that.
“In addition to nature conservation and work with research institutes, our environmental institution is engaged in tourism activities,” said Sergei Yushkov, Director of the State Environmental Institution Korytenskiy Mokh. “For this area, 12 routes of varying difficulty levels have been developed, including both one-day and multi-day routes. They come to us not both from the Vitebsk Region and different regions of the country.”
Kayaking is well-liked. For instance, during Gorodok’s Pearls weekend kayaking trip (its length is 8–9 kilometres) you can see three lakes – Lugovoye, Orekhovoye, and Shcherbakovskoye.
On the territory of the Tiosto Reserve, outdoor-activity seekers can enjoy not only water tourist routes, but also various walking routes, which makes it possible to study in more detail the diverse area’s flora and fauna and also visit the Khozyain Lesa (Master of the Forest) Memorial Complex which is located in Shchelbovo isolated terrain feature. The height of the Partisan Monument is 6 metres.
Another thing of interest to tourists is hiking along the 6-kilometre Swamp Secrets ecological trail which runs along the swamp in the Lake Chistik area. There are stops along the trail where tourists can learn about the reserve itself and rare species of plants and animals. Walking along the ecological trail, you will see relict plant species listed in the Red Book of Belarus – cloudberries, small-fruited cranberries, sedges, and much more.
One of the popular vacation spots within the Gorodok Area is the Losvido Tourist and Recreation Complex of Unitary Enterprise Vitebskturist. The area of the complex is 15 hectares. Not only residents of the Vitebsk Region, but also from other regions of Belarus, as well as tourists from neighbouring countries have been coming here to be on holiday for many years.
Standing on the shore of the same-name lake which is one of the largest lakes in the Vitebsk Area, you can admire the beauty of the water surface, enjoy being out of town, and simply breathe in the fresh forest air. One tourist attraction offers you the services of the SPA centre, excellent catering and service.
Marina Makarkova, Director General of Vitebskturist, said that the complex has 175 rooms, including superior ones. The rooms are equipped with every comfort for both short and long stays.
Having visited the Losvido Complex, you will realize that you don’t have to go somewhere far to have a comfortable holiday from which you will get a lot of pleasure and enjoyment. Just take the SPA-centre alone! It invites you to enjoy swimming in the pool, hydromassages, a jacuzzi, a waterfall, as well as cedar barrels, Russian, Finnish, and Turkish saunas, and a Russian wood-fired bath.
The management of the tourist and recreation complex has created the necessary conditions for people with disabilities. Losvido has a barrier-free environment for people using wheelchairs. In addition, there are wheelchair ramp slopes from the main entrance to specially equipped rooms for disabled people, as well as from such rooms to the dining area.
By the way, Losvido is steeped in legends that they will be excited to tell you. For instance, the legend about the spring, which is called Young Lady’s Tears. About 300 years ago, a grove of oak trees was planted, where now 11 oak trees tower around the clearing. The largest one is the Volat Oak. There is the belief that if you touch this oak tree, your wish will definitely come true. As legend has it, the landlord’s daughter came to this oak tree not to let anyone see her and cried because of her unanswered love. Thus, a spring of her tears formed in this place. Rumour has it that water is revered for its health-giving powers and protects against the evil eye and calms.
Losvido has a rope course on the shore of the lake, where both children and adults can enjoy all conditions to have a good time together. There is a hire shop where you can take on a hire a bicycle, sports and holiday facilities, a boat or a catamaran. Those who seek leisure activities at a much more active pace can go for an extreme walk called the Napoleon Path. This trail includes biking and walking routes and much more.
Having visited Losvido once, you will certainly want to come back here again.
The Gorodok District can boast many places about which it can be said without prejudice that they are interesting, beautiful, and unusual.
After visiting the capital of the Day of Belarusian Writing in 2023, you will have rewarding experience. Even a seemingly unremarkable tourist site can become an unbeatable and atmospheric place to you. So pack you bag and come to visit Gorodok! Don’t doubt it – there are definitely several places that will fill you with fascination and admiration.
Проект подготовила Екатерина Ляховская,
видео Александра Ходюкова,
фото Дмитрия Осипова,
web-верстка Чимковский Пётр
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