The project team "Pearl Necklace of Holy Russia" continued the pilot tour with a two-day visit to the city of Vitebsk

In the evening of October 21, the project team moved from Mogilev to Vitebsk, where the participants were accommodated in the hostel of the Vitebsk State Academy of Veterinary Medicine for overnight. The excursion program as part of a visit to the city of Vitebsk took place on October 22 and it began with an excursion through the museum-estate of the great Russian artist Ilya Efimovich Repin "Zdravnevo". The museum-estate is located in a picturesque place on the banks of the Western Dvina, the building itself is the result of restoration work in 1988, despite the fact that the museum’s exposition does not imply the original paintings of Ilya Efimovich Repin, their reproductions adequately convey the artist’s ideas to the audience. The priority of the estate is the transfer of the interior, furniture of rooms, picturesque landscapes - these are the elements that recreate the atmosphere in which the artist lived and worked.

The next point of visit to Vitebsk was the Gralyovo quarry, where it conducts its work on the extraction of dolomite from Dolomit OJSC. Our team also joined in the work and collected pieces of mineral not far from the quarry. The quarry itself is an unusual sight, its depth reaches almost 800 meters, so it is not surprising that its main inhabitants are giants - BelAZ.

Then our team visited another attraction. In the town of Rouba, Vitebsk, on the site where once there was a small church that did not survive the invasion of the Nazi invaders, the church of the holy great martyr Healer Panteleimon now flaunts. A notable feature of the temple is the iconostasis created by students of Vitebsk State University as a thesis.

After the excursion program, the project team took part in the International Youth Forum dedicated to the development of youth tourism. The forum was organized by the Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee, the Smolensk and Vitebsk Dioceses. The forum was held in the Palace of Culture Ruba.

The forum was attended by university students from Vitebsk: Voronezh State University, Voronezh State Medical University, Voronezh State Technical University and the Vitebsk Theological Seminary, the clergy of the Vitebsk diocese, representatives of cultural institutions. All participants of the event received presentation sets with the project symbols, and also answered the questionnaire questions.

The Forum was opened by Sergey Nikolaevich Fadeenkov, chief specialist of the ideological work and youth affairs department of the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee. Archpriest Alexander Kovalev, head of the Youth Department of the Vitebsk diocese, addressed the Forum with a welcoming speech.

Archpriest Valery Ryabokon, Head of the Department for Church Relations with the Society and the Media, Rector of the Parish of the Church of the Holy New Martyrs of the Russian Church, made a presentation on the project “Pearl Necklace of Holy Russia”. The curator of the project, Maria Sergeyevna Zhukova, presented the features of the development and implementation of technology for creating tourist routes by students.

 Project participants Yana Kamyanskaya (SGII), David Saribekyan (SPDS), Evgeny Khramtsov and Sofia Karalevich (SSMU), Ilya Losev and Julia Morozova (SmolSU) spoke about the structure, features of the project and the compilation of tourist routes. The guys shared their experiences, showed a video about Smolensk, Vitebsk and Veliky Novgorod.

Archpriest Valery Ryabokon presented certificates confirming partnership in the implementation of the project of the Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee, the Vitebsk Diocese and the Vitebsk State Medical University.

Archpriest Alexander Kovalev and chairman of the trade union committee of students of VSMU Alexander Mikhailovich Myasoedov spoke about the experience in implementing youth projects in the field of tourism development.

At the end of the forum, its participants became spectators of a concert prepared by the employees of the Palace of Culture, to communicate in an informal setting and share their experience in organizing youth work, as well as take part in a choreographic evening prepared by the Youth Department of the Vitebsk Diocese.

The second day in Vitebsk began with a sightseeing tour of the city center. The center of this ancient city is the intersection of eras, combining the people's grief that the war on this earth left, the spiritual history of the city in the form of magnificent temples, fantasies on the theme of oriental tales and, of course, a tribute to the sun of Russian poetry, but first things first . Our team began the walk with a visit to the monument to the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky and his wife Vitebsk Princess Alexandra. The monument is one of the symbols of close spiritual, historical and cultural ties between Russia and Belarus. We walked along the spacious embankment of the Western Dvina, which, if you take a closer look, resembles the Smolensk embankment of the Dnieper. In general, parallels are often drawn between Vitebsk and Smolensk, and there are many similarities. For example, in Vitebsk, as in Smolensk, there is Victory Square. At the Three Bayonets monument of Vitebsk Victory Square, the team of the Pearl Necklace of Holy Russia project honored the memory of heroic ancestors who fell in battles for the Fatherland and laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame. We examined the military equipment of the USSR Armed Forces of the 80s of the XX century, which is not only an exposition demonstrating military power, but also that a war taking place in a distant country can knock on any house, anywhere in the country.

Fortunately, life includes not only pain, but also peace, joy, a flight of imagination, and if we continue the theme of flights, then in Vitebsk there is a monument to the best pilot of all time - Gassan Abdurrahman ibn Hottab or simply the old man Hottabych. The author of the book about the old man Hottabyche is a writer Lazar Lagin, a native of Vitebsk. We are also partly pilots, and our team took some photos at the monument to gin and continued to sightseeing the city of Vitebsk.

The next point of our walk was the Assumption Cathedral, which again leads to the question "doesn’t any city resemble?", But in its architecture it differs from ours, the Smolensky Holy Assumption Cathedral. The Cathedral is located on Assumption Hill and rightfully has the unconditional status of one of the main decorations of the city. The largest bell in Belarus weighing approximately 5,200 kilograms is installed on the belfry of the cathedral.

One of the key moments of our walking trip was the participation in the memorial action on the territory of the square of the heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812. A memorial lithium was held here in memory of those who died in this war. At the beginning of the event Sergey Nikolaevich Fadeenkov addressed the audience with a welcoming speech. Then the teacher of the Vitebsk Theological Seminary Priest Alexander Kolyada, accompanied by a 5th-year student deacon Ilia Odynets, performed the rank of lithium for the dead. The funeral songs were performed by the choir of the Vitebsk Theological Seminary under the direction of Deacon Alexander Bukhantsov. After a speech by teachers of secondary school No. 10 in the city of Vitebsk, a wreath was laid at the memorial to the heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812 by the participants of the Pearl Necklace team.

After completing the trip to Vitebsk, our team went to one of the oldest cities in Belarus - the city located on both banks of the Western Dvina - Polotsk.

The project “Pearl Necklace of Holy Russia” is being implemented with the support of the Presidential Grants Fund.

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