Museum of Local Lore in Polotsk
Belarus, Polock

The local history museum of the most ancient Belarusian city is located in the former Lutheran church, a neo-Gothic architecture monument, which was built at the end of the 19th century. The museum was founded and opened in 1926. In recent years, the exposition has been recycled several times. Today, nearly 1,500 interesting museum objects reflect the most important pages in the history of the city. The most ancient traces of the activity of primitive man on the Polotsk land date back to the Mesolithic. The exhibition presents materials from an archaeological study of one of the Mesolithic sites (Semenov Khutor). These are a variety of flint tools of small size: knives, scrapers, arrowheads. Randomly found objects are also exhibited here: mammoth tusk, tools of the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The monuments of the iron period in the exposition are mainly represented by bone products, among which are punctures, amulets, kachadyka, and hairpins. Polotsk arose on the island of the Polota River, at the site of the settlement of the Balts of the Early Iron Age. In the course of time, near the hillforts, settlements grew, and in the second half of the 10th century, the fortified children were transferred to the high right bank of the Zapadnaya Dvina River. The idea of the ancient settlement and the city of the XII century is given by dioramas, where the topography of Polotsk is accurately reflected. Materials from the study of archaeological sites tell about the occupations of the population of that time, trade relations of Polotsk land. The exhibition presents products of potters, bone carvers, blacksmiths, jewelers and other artisans, testifying to the high level of skill of our ancestors. The evidence of trade relations is shown by such interesting exhibits as kauri shells from the Maldives of the Indian Ocean, glass beads and bracelets from Kiev, amber from the Baltic states, and Arab Kufic dirhams. The integrity and independence of the Principality of Polotsk needed to be guarded all the time, often with weapons in their hands. Therefore, the museum has a wide range of military items: battle axes, club tops, arrowheads, chain mail and the sword of an ancient warrior of the 10th century. At the beginning of the XIV century, Polotsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and in 1579 - the Commonwealth. The materials of the exposition tell about the most interesting pages in the history of the city of these periods: the participation of the inhabitants of the Kulikovo and Grunwald battles, the assignment of Magdeburg law to the city, the capture of Polotsk by the army of Ivan the Terrible during the Livonian War, the storming of the city by the troops of Stephen Batory, the appearance of Jesuits and representatives of other Catholic orders in Polotsk churches. After three sections of the Commonwealth, Polotsk became part of the Russian Empire. At various times, it was the center of the province, governorate, and county. All these facts of administrative sections are reflected in documents, maps, heraldic and numismatic materials presented in the exposition. During the Patriotic War of 1812, the territory of Polotsk became an arena of military operations. The exposition contains portraits of military leaders, military equipment and clothing, copies of paintings depicting battles near Klyastitsy and in Polotsk. Weapons of the time are of interest: pistols, hatchets, sabers. In the 19th – early 20th centuries, Polotsk became a county town. A characteristic feature of this period was the emergence of a number of small factories. The impetus for the development of the economy was given by laying first the Riga-Oryol, and then the Nikolaev railways. The exposition presents documents, samples of factory products, household items that could be seen in shops and workshops, photos of stations, a selection of postcards from the beginning of the 20th century with views of the city. The revolutionary events of 1905, the First World War and the German occupation of Polotsk in 1918 are represented in the museum by dioramas, map maps, military equipment, weapons, a collection of bonistics and awards from Russian and German officers and soldiers. Recent decades have made it possible to show the life of Polotsk in a new way in the 1920–1930s. A large collection of bonistics, documents, photographs, weapons, household items, print and periodicals, transmitted in the majority or directly by the participants of those events, or their relatives, allows you to get acquainted with the characteristics of the political, economic, social and cultural life of the city in 1917-1941 . Valuable and interesting is the collection of materials transmitted by the Honorary Citizen of Polotsk P.I. Denis, as well as documents that clearly reflect the policies of the Stalinist dictatorship. The continuation of the story about the history of the city during World War II is the exposition of the Museum of Military Glory.

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