February 22, 2017

0476, 2926, 2959 BELARUS (Vitebsk) - Saviour Transfiguration Church and Saint Sophia Cathedral in the town of Polatsk (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

0476 Polatsk - Saint Sophia Cathedral (1)

Posted on 18.01.2013, 14.01.2017, 22.01.2017
Located on the Dvina river, Polatsk is one of the most ancient cities of the Eastern Slavs. The Primary Chronicle listed Polotsk in 862, together with Murom and Beloozero. The town was named in accordance with the Palata river name, on the right bank of which the first settlements appeared. From 10th to 13th centuries Polatsk was the central town of the Polatsk Principality. Favorable geographical location on trade ways ("From Varengians to Greeks") promoted the rapid economical and cultural development. At that time outstanding examples of architecture of the period Saint.Sofia Cathedral and Savior Transfiguration Church were constructed.

2926 Polatsk - Saint Sophia Cathedral (2)

In the winter of 1066-1067, very angry that was excluded from the succession of Kievan Rus', because his father (even if was the nephew of Vladimir The Great, Grand Prince of Kiev) hadn't been prince in Kiev, Vseslav the Sorcerer, Prince of Polotsk, went through fire and sword the northern areas of this principality. In this campaign he pillaged and burnt Novgorod the Great, removing the bell and other religious objects from the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom and bringing them to decorate his own cathedral of the same name in Polotsk, completed by Byzantine architects even in that year. Actually here will be buried, 34 years later, and after him another 15 Polotsk princes.

2959 Polatsk - Savior Transfiguration Church
 in 1870's

Even though it was renovated many times over the centuries, and the current appearance is an example of the Vilnius Baroque style, the cathedral still retains some elements from the original construction, so it's considered the oldest church in Belarus. Named after Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) Cathedral in Constantinople, this church originally had seven domes, later reduced to five after it was rebuilt following the fire of 1447. One of the characteristic features of the cathedral is facetted apses, typically found on wooden temples. The names of the builders have been preserved until today, inscribed in a stone at the base of the church: David, Toma, Mikula, Kopes, Petr, and Vorish.

Savior Transfiguration Church of the Saint Euphrosine monastery is a well-preserved monument of Pre-Mongol Rus architecture. It was built between 1152 and 1161 by the Polatsk architect Ioann by the order of the princess Saint Euphrosyne of Polatsk as a cathedral church of the Convent of the Saviour and Saint Euphrosyne. In 1582, King Stephen Báthory gave the church to the Order of Jesuits. In 1832, the church was placed under the Orthodox administration, and in 1990 it became a property of the Belarusian Exarchate. In the 19th century it was partially remodeled according to the design by the architect A. Port. Such a large amount of ancient Eastern Slavic frescoes survive only in two places - the Church of the Mirozhsky monastery in Pskov and the Transfiguration Church in Polotsk.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0476
The first two stamps, depicting Mahiliou Town Hall (50 BYR) and Niasvizh Castle (200 BYR), are part of the definitive series named Architectural monuments, about which I wrote here.

The last stamp is one of the two from the series Locomotives and railway stations, designed by Aleksey Nikolaevskiy and issued on August 9, 2010:
• The railway station Vilenski in Minsk, beginning of XX century; locomotive S class (1000 BYR)
• The railway station in Mogilyov, beginning of XX century; Locomotive Sch class (1000 BYR) - It's on the postcard  0476

On the postcards 2926 and 2959
The stamp is one of the two issued on January 27, 2012, which are part of the series Belarusian ornament, about which I wrote here.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday #151, hosted on Beth's blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy. Click on the button below to visit all the other participants.

Saviour Transfiguration Church and St. Sophia Cathedral in the town of Polatsk. - UNESCO official website
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk - Wikipedia
St Sophia’s Cathedral in Polotsk - Belarus Tourism
Transfiguration Church, Polotsk - Wikipedia
Transfiguration Church - Spotting History

Sender 0476: Alena Kavaliova (direct swap)
Sent from Minsk (Belarus), on 20.04.2012
Photo: S. Plytkevych
Sender 2926: Liudmila / Liudmil (postcrossing) BY-2025368
Sent from Navapolatsk (Vitebsk / Belarus), on 12.12.2016
Sender 2959: Karolina / Caroline99 (postcrossing) BY-2055892
Sent from Minsk (Belarus), on 30.01.2017


  1. Cool to be in an area conquered by a sorcerer. Happy PFF.

  2. Gorgeous card, lovely stamps, too. Thanks for the information. Happy PFF! How lovely it would be to visit all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in person. I'll have to be happy with seeing the postcards!

  3. The cathedral looks best standing in a field like this, I think. There are no other distractions from more modern buildings beside it.

  4. This is a lovely card of a very beautiful cathedral.

  5. What a beautiful place. Makes me feel like going sight seeing! Happy PFF!