In the fall of 2020, I had a chance to visit Chashniki (Vitebsk region, Belarus). This is such a small town, somewhat reminiscent of Osipovichi or Slutsk. The combination of apartment buildings with the private sector, unsurprising cows and free-range horses. There is some charm in this.

Cow Cups


The origin of the name and a brief history of the city of Chashniki

In the annals, Chashniki are first mentioned in 1504 year. In the XNUMXth century, the city, located on the banks of the river with the beautiful name Ulla, was part of the Polotsk Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Ulla Chashniki River

There are several versions of why the city has such a name. According to one of them, the city is so called because of bowl-shaped depressionin which it is located.

The second version is associated with pottery, once a lot of pottery was made here, including cups.

Well, the third version suggests that the word "chashniki" comes from the name of the court positions and rank in the economy of Russian princes and tsars in the 13th beginning. 18th century Chashniki served at festive dinners, were in charge of beekeeping and mead making.

town Chashniki history
Chashniki in a painting by Napoleon Orda, 1876.
source: globe of Belarus

Chashniki originally belonged to princes Lukomsky. From the end of the 17th century, its owners included Sapiehaafter Potocki и Volodkovichi. The city was a trading place, in which there were 109 shops for 16 houses. In addition to trade and handicrafts, the inhabitants of Chashnik were engaged in agriculture, which allowed them not only to provide themselves and their families with food, but also earn extra money by selling something on the market. Periodically, wars undermined the economic recovery and population growth, but the city continued to develop and maintain its economic importance.

City Chashniki history

In the 18th century, a pier was built in Chashniki, workshops for the manufacture of merchant ships appeared. Having received various trade privileges, in 1791 the city became the center of the Polotsk province. In 1793 it became part of Russia. Since the second half of the 19th century, small enterprises have been built in it, due to the development of the southern and eastern parts, the total territory of the settlement is expanding.

History of the city of Chashniki

By 1897, more than 4,5 thousand inhabitants lived in the city, there were 703 residential buildings, there was a hospital, a pharmacy, and 2 public schools. At that time, tanneries and breweries were operating, since 1880 a paper mill was put into operation.

City Chashniki Belarus

In November 1917, Soviet power came to Chashniki. On January 1, 1919, Chashniki became part of the BSSR, but 15 days later, along with other territories of eastern Belarus, they were transferred to the RSFSR. They returned to the BSSR on July 17, 1924.

What to see in Chashniki

The Chashniki railway station has been operating since 1925. In September 1938, the city of Chashniki was given the official status of an urban-type settlement. During the Great Patriotic War, the settlement was under German occupation. February 7, 1966 - the official status of the city. January 20 2006 years - Approved city coat of arms.

The most famous historical fact from the life of the city

The battle on Ulla near Chashniki, which took place 26.01.1564, i.e. 457 years ago, is one of the most valiant in history of Belarus. As you know, from 1558 to 1583 there was a war between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Livonia, Poland and Sweden on the one hand and the Russian kingdom on the other. The initiator was Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible of Moscow, who wished to take possession of our lands in order to gain access to the Baltic Sea.

Battle of Grunwald date
the picture is illustrative

Punitive detachments of Muscovites occupied Belarusian cities and villages: Mstislavl, Shklov, Orsha, Kopys, Vitebsk. A strict occupation order was established in the occupied territories: the inhabitants were driven to the east or forced to swear allegiance to the Russian Tsar. Together with the conquerors, the plague came to the occupied lands, which claimed the lives of people for 4 years in a row. And in 1563 the largest and richest city of Belarus was lost - Polotsk.

At the beginning of 1564 on Minsk и Novogrudok 2 armies were sent. The 25-strong army marched forward self-confidently, without patrols, with armor and weapons loaded into wagons. For this, and paid the price. On the banks of the Ulla, a sudden blow to the enemies was dealt by the army of the great Lithuanian hetman Nikolai Radziwill, who was stationed at that time in Lukoml. The Muscovites did not have time to put on armor or prepare for battle. After 5 hours, they abandoned the convoy and fled. As a result of this slaughter, 9 thousand Muscovites found peace on the banks of the Ulla and the same number drowned.

Thanks to this brilliant victory, the plans of the tsarist governors to go deep into the center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were frustrated, the enemy was forced to deploy his troops back. The war acquired a local character, but hostilities were still long. The troops of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania managed to liberate Polotsk, Chashniki and other Belarusian cities only after the signing of the Union of Lublin with Poland.

Sights of the city of Chashniki

There are few significant historical sights in the city. One of the main - Transfiguration Churchbuilt in 1845.

Chashniki Church

In Chashniki, historical buildings of the 19th-20th centuries have been preserved, which include merchant Gurevich's house.

merchant Gurevich's house

The townspeople came to this merchant if they needed soap and kerosene. Also in this small-town "supermarket" one could buy gramophones and records, the latest book novelties from Petersburg, and even such musical instruments, an enterprising merchant could get.

Chashniki town, Vitebsk region

Chashniki are known for their paper mill, which before the revolution was called "Skina”, named after the niece of the founder of the enterprise Vincent Volodkovich. Previously, a water mill stood on the site of the factory. Volodkovich bought it out in 1883, founded a paper manufactory and later built a factory. Workers were hired from local residents, the chief craftsmen were Germans, and the employees were Poles. Office work was conducted in Polish. After the revolution, the paper mill was renamed "Red Star".

There is a candle shop, shopping malls and a Jewish cemetery in the city.

Shopping arcade Chashniki

And in Chashniksky historical museum you can see archaeological finds, items from the Great Patriotic War, as well as exhibits related to the history of Chashnikov.

Museum in Chashniki

Mass Grave and Alley of Glory Chashniki

Mass Grave and Walk of Fame, perpetuating the memory of the heroes of the Soviet Union, who took part in the liberation of the Chashniksky district from the Nazi invaders.

Mass Grave and Alley of Glory Chashniki

Military equipment in the city park:

What to see in Chashniki

About the fact that a book printer and translator into the Church Slavonic language was born and worked on the Chashnik land Vasily Tyapinsky, these monuments testify.

Monument in Chashniki

monument to Vasily Tyapinsky

Children's Art School. In 1959 it was a music school that opened in a small wooden building.

School of Arts in Chashniki

Small cities are always attracted by the fact that they do not have the noise of cars and the eternal fuss. Life flows here measuredly, at its own pace. And involuntarily I want to adapt to it and not rush anywhere. Not far from the town of Chashniki, you can visit a number of interesting sights: church in Lepel, Palace Khreptovichi Beshenkovichi.

text and photo: Ekaterina Golubnicchaya

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