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What You Need To Know About Grodno

Grodno or Hrodna is a city in western Belarus. It is located on the Neman close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania (about 20 km (12 mi) and 30 km (19 mi) away respectively). It has 365,610 inhabitants (2016 census). It is the capital of Grodno Region and Grodno District.

Population: 365,610
Area: 142.1 km²

Currency

Alternative names

In Belarusian, the city is sometimes referred to as Го́радня or Гаро́дня. In Latin it was known as Grodna (-ae), in Polish as Grodnoand in Yiddish as גראָדנע, Grodne. The Lithuanian name of the city is Gardinas.

Culture

In 21 club municipal office more than 220 collectives, circles and also studios of amateur performances work.In them about 6500 children and adults are engaged. From 83 on-stage performance groups the rank “national” is carried 39, “exemplary” — 43, “professional” — 1. Annually in Grodno festivals of national holidays and ceremonies are held: “Student’s spring”, international festival of piano music, republican festival of theatrical youth. In 2001 the Grodno regional executive committee founded Alexander Dubko’s award — the governor of Grodnenshchina — for the best creative achievements in the sphere of culture. 84 persons have been awarded with this prize.

Jewish community

Jews began to settle in Grodno in the 14th century after the approval given to them by the Lithuanian prince Vitland.[15] During the next years their status had changed several times and in 1495 the Jews were deported from the city and banned from settling in Grodno (the ban was lifted in 1503). In 1560 there were 60 Jewish families in Grodno, the Jews were concentrated on the “Jewish street” with their own synagogue and “hospital”. In the year 1578 the great synagogue of Grodno was built by rabbi Mordehai Yaffe (Baal ha-Levush). The synagogue was severely damaged in a fire in 1599. The community was not affected by the Khmelnitsky uprising but suffered during the 1655 Cossack uprising and during the war with Sweden (1703–1708). After Grodno was annexed by the Russian empire in 1795 the Jewish population continued to grow and in 1907 there were 25,000 Jews out of total population of 47,000. In the period of independent Poland a yeshiva had operated in the city (Shaar ha-tora) under the management of Rabbi Shimon Shkop. Before the Nazi-Soviet invasion of Polandthere were about 25,000 Jews in Grodno out of 50,000 total population. After the German attack on the Soviet positions in eastern Poland, on November 1, 1942 the Jews were concentrated in 2 ghettos – 15,000 men were confined to the old part of the city where the main synagogue was located. A high wall of 2 meters was built around the ghetto. The second ghetto was located in the Slovodka part of the city with 10,000 inhabitants. The head of the Judenrat was appointed Dr. Braur, the school’s headmaster, who served in this duty until his execution in 1943 For more details on this topic, see Grodno Ghetto. On November 2, 1942, the deportations to the death camps began and during 5 days in February 1943, 10,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Later, on February 13, 5,000 Jews were sent to Treblinka. During the deportations, many synagogues were looted and some people were murdered. The last Jews were deported in March, 1943. By the end of the war, only one Jew had remained in the ghetto. After the war, the Jewish community was revived. Most of the Jews emigrated after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today there are several hundred Jews in the city with most of community’s activity centralized in the main synagogue that had been returned to the community by the authorities in the 1990s. The head of the community is Rabbi Yitzhak Kaufman. A memorial plaque, commemorating the 25,000 Jews who were exterminated in the two ghettos in the city of Grodno was placed on a building in Zamkova Street, where the entrance to the ghetto once was. On November 12, 2012, the memorial plaque was vandalized, allegedly as an anti-Semitic act.[

Language

Belarusian is an official language of Belarus, along with Russian, and is spoken abroad, mainly in Ukraine and Russia. Before Belarus gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the language was only known in English as Byelorussian or Belorussian, transliterating the Russian name, белорусский язык, or alternatively as White Ruthenian (/rˈθniən/) or White Russian. Following independence, it has acquired the additional name Belarusian.

Modern city

Central Square

The city has one of the largest concentrations of Roman Catholics in Belarus. It is also a centre of Polish culture, with a significant number of Poles living in Belarus residing in the city and its surroundings. All the while, the Eastern Orthodox population is also widely present. The city’s Catholic and Orthodox churches are important architectural treasures.

Fountain in Central Park

The city is known for its Medical University, where many students from different parts of Belarus acquire academic degrees, as do a good number of foreign students. Other higher educational establishments are Yanka Kupala State University (the largest education centre in Hrodna Province) and Grodno State Agrarian University. To support the Polish community, a Polish school was built in 1995, where all subjects are taught in Polish and students are able to pass exams to get accepted into Polish universities.

Medieval

The oldest extant structure in Grodno is the Kalozha Church of Sts. Boris and Gleb (Belarusian: Каложская царква). It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall. The church was built before 1183 and survived intact until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescos were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescos, were discovered in Grodno and Vawkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Castle.

Weather

The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is “Dfb” (Warm Summer Continental Climate).