The History of Vidzy



Vidzy is a town in the Braslav region of Belarus, 41 kilometres from the city of Braslav and in the 1990 census there were 2184 inhabitants.


It was first mentioned in 1432. The Prince Zhigimon Keistutavich gave the land of the present-day town as a present to the brothers Lovishcham, and they founded Vidzy.


The first Catholic church was built in 1481 and there was a hospital nearby. Churches of many religions were built including Eastern Orthodox and at the beginning of 18th century the Jesuits opened a church, their residence and a school. In 1794 it was noted there were 182 houses and 1270 inhabitants along with 50 horses belonging to the family of Vavzhetski who also owned some of the lands around. One of the most famous members of that family was Tamash Vavzhetski who became well-known after the uprising in 1794. In 1793 the centre of the Braslav region was gradually shifted from the city of Braslav to Vidzy, and after a fire in Braslav it was finally moved in 1794. From 1795 Vidzy became part of Russian Lithuania (Vilna Guberniya). On the eve of The Civil War of 1812 there were 30 thousand Russian soldiers staying in Vidzy under the command of Prince Pavlavich. On November the 28th 1812 there was a battle between Russian and French troops in Vidzy and 116 houses were burnt.


There were 822 inhabitants in Vidzy in 1825, also 498 houses, a school, 2 restaurants, and a sauna. Adam Mickevich came to visit his uncle Mayevskiy in Vidzy.


After the fire on the 24th of August 1865 the centre of the region was moved again from Vidzy to Ezyarosi. There were then 3800 inhabitants and 248 houses in Vidzy in 1860, plus a Catholic church, a synagogue, 5 Jewish houses of worship, a mosque, a post office, and chemists. Three times a year the Kirmashi – a well known horse and goose race meeting - took place there. About 50% of the population of the region was Jewish.


In 1893 there were 5800 inhabitants of Vidzy. During First World War it was captured by troops of the German Kaiser, and in 1919 was occupied by the Polish army, then in July 1920 - by the Red Army. After the Riga peace agreement of 1921 Vidzy became part of Poland then in 1939 it became part of the Belarussian Soviet  Socialist Republic. From 15th of January 1940 it was the regional centre of the Villey oblast and on the 27th of June it was occupied by fascists who lost in Vidzy a total of 4154 lives. Vidzy was liberated on the 8th of July 1944. In a USSR census in 1969 there were 2600 inhabitants.


Places of interest:


Vavzhitskiy’s grave, Troitsky Catholic church, Eastern Orthodox church (both dating from the beginning of the twentieth century), the graves of soviet soldiers and partisans.


The Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity was built in 1914.. The architect – Mihnevichused built it of bricks in a Gothic style.. It is located on the site of an old church that was founded in 1381. The new Catholic church was damaged in 1915, but was rebuilt in 1920. In 1943 it was burnt by the fascists together with the priest who did not want to leave the building. It was locked and left empty in 1948. In 1960-70s it served as a hall for sporting events. It was given back to the believers in 1989.  A large Islamic mosque is now under construction.


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