The Fairy Tale of Polesie

People are used to call the city where I was born and
live the “Fairy Tale of Polesie”. It is difficult not to agree with this
definition. My native town is Pinsk. If you look at the map of Belarus, you will
probably not notice it easily. Pinsk is situated in the south-west of the
country on the bank of the river Pina which gives its name to the place. The
Pina flows into the Pripiat river that carries its waters through Polesie region
to the Dnieper.


Pinsk is one of the most beautiful cities in Belarus.
It is ancient and many-sided. They say it is the uncrowned capital of Polesie.
It was first mentioned in chronicles on November 5, 1097, the date that is
celebrated today as its birthday. Pinsk has a population of about 135000 people.
This fact makes it the tenth largest town in Belarus.

During its long history Pinsk changed hands between
different states. It was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rzeczpospolita,
the Russian Empire, Poland and the Soviet Union. This fact influenced the ethnic
composition of its population and religious priorities. At the time of
Rzeczpospolita Pinsk was a citadel of Catholic orders. A huge Jesuit monastery
was built here in the 17th century which was destined to become the city’s
landmark. And it still remains one.

Before the Second World War Pinsk was mainly a Jewish
town. In 1939, its population came up to about 36,000 people, of whom 27,000
were Jews. Most of them (17000) were killed on October 28, 1942 during the
liquidation of the Pinsk Ghetto. My native place suffered a lot during different
wars when thousands of people perished and many historical buildings were
destroyed.

At the beginning of the 20th century Pinsk was a sleepy
provincial town of narrow streets, one-storied houses, small factories and
workshops. Nowadays it is a growing city with high buildings, tree-lined
streets, public parks and gardens, and a wide range of social, cultural and
leisure facilities. In recent years Pinsk has changed beyond recognition and is
becoming more and more attractive with every passing year.

At present it is also an industrial city with a number
of factories and plants such as the plant of upper-knitted wear, the plant of
casting machinery, th veneer and match-making factory, the furniture plant and
others. It is a cultural centre of the district with modern cinema halls, music
and arts schools, houses of culture and libraries as well. Its monuments
commemorate the most important events in its history. Pinsk is a city of
students and therefore it is still very young.

The capital of Polesie is very nice, especially in
spring and summer when everything is green and in full blossom (by the way,
green is my favourite colour). Ancient architecture and numerous places of
interest attract tourists from different parts of our country and from abroad.
Today Pinsk is a place where various cultures, traditions and confessions meet
and people of different nationalities live together in harmony. No doubt, my
city is a nice place to live in. Life here is calm and peaceful with hardly any
violence.

I want to finish my short story with the words of the
famous Belarusian writer, Vladimir Korotkevich which he dedicated to Pinsk, a
city with more than a nine-hundred-year-old history: “ Pinsk is one of the most
–liked cities… It has a face of its own. It is a city that is to be written with
a capital letter… It has managed to save and store very much despite the swords
of the invaders. And we have to carry on all that has been saved in our
outstretched hands like a jar of water, taking caution and watching our step
not to tread upon Pinsk’s sacred stones that have survived here and
there…”

Just come and see everything with your own
eyes.

 

Victor Glodev


 

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