Slonim History

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In 2002 the city of Slonim celebrated its 750 year anniversary. About eight hundred years ago, the city of Slonim was founded in a picturesque corner of what would later become the Republic of Belarus. The city is located on the Shchara River where the Issa River joins the Shchara River, near the upper reaches of the Neman River. It is one of the most ancient and beautiful cities of Belarus, with a rich and glorious history. According to archeological data, a fortified settlement on the territory of the modern day city may have been founded in 1036. In the pages of a historical source the Ipatiev Chronicle, Slonim is mentioned in 1252 as Uslonim and  Vaslonim, which comes from an east Slavic word “uslona” meaning shield or outpost.


-         At the end of 8th century Slonim joined the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

-         In 1531 the city obtained the right of Magdebur.

-         July 15, 1410 Slonim’s regiment took part in the Grunvald Battle to crush the invading Crusaders.

-         In 1413 Slonim became the center of Uezd (an administrative division of territory such as a county).

-         In 1586, the Great Lithuanian Chancellor Lev Sapega became the ruler of the city. Rulers following him were the Lithuanian Sub chancellor Kazimir Lev Sapega and Magnates Oginskys.

-         -In 1591, the city’s coat of arms was established, which consists of the gold lion with a double silver cross and an arrow on a blue background.

-         18th century Slonim prospered due to the actions of Great Lithuanian Getman Michail Kazimir Oginski (1728-1800).

-         Around 1770, a royal theater is founded in Slonim.

-         In 1795, Slonim together with an Eastern part of Rzeczpospolita (consisting of Poland and Lithuania) was assigned to Russia.

-         September 1915-January 1919. Slonim is under German occupation.

-         March 18, 1921 Slonim is assigned back to Poland in accordance with the Riga’s Peace Agreement.

-         September 18, 1939 Eastern Poland including Slonim is taken over by Soviet Red Army.

-         -June 1941 – July 10, 1944. Slonim is occupied by German Army. The Germans carried out many executions near the city. On Petralevichi Mountain, approximately 1 km from the city more than 10,000 people were executed. At Chepelyovo Field 30,000 people died and in the natural boundary of Morgi – 2,000 more.

-         In 1944, the Soviet Army frees Slonim from German occupation. Slonim and Belarus become part of the Soviet Union.

-         In year 1991, following the collapse of the USSR, Republic of Belarus was announced as a sovereign country.

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Modern day Slonim is one of the most industrially developed city in the Grodno’s  region. There are 92 companies consisting of many different areas of industry such as: light, wood, metal, building materials, meat, and milk.


The biggest companies are joint stock companies such as: Kamvolno-Spinning Factory, Albertin Cardboard and Paper Factory, Textilshchik Textile Factory, a couple of furniture factories, and an auto repair company.


Belarus exports many things that are made in Slonim: half-wool yarn, cardboard, paper, terry toweling articles, half-wool blankets, furniture and other articles.


Slonim has many interesting sites to see. In 1965, the tallest TV transmitter in Europe, 350 meters high, was built. In 1992 a new neighborhood named “Friendship” was built by “Enka” a Turkish Company. Located 7 km from Slonim is a famous village Zhirovitsy. The only seminary in Belarus, the Minsk Priesthood Seminary, is operating there. The Zhirovichi Convent and Monastery (circa 1613-1650) is a set of buildings with architectural and historical importance. This convent and monastery holds one of the most revered icons of Maria called the “Icon of Zhirovitsy’s God’s Mother”.  Yavlenskaya Church (circa 1672) and Cross-Erecting Church (circa 1768) play an important role in the architectural composition of the monastery.


Many famous people were born and raised in Slonim, such as: Olympic Champion Silver Medal winner for canoe rowing Vladimir Romanovsky, Olympic Game athletes, European Champion athletes  and Soviet Union Champion athletes: Mikhail Zhelobovsky, Nicolay Dudkin, Anatoliy Gonchar, Sergey Bochkarev, and Valeriy Yagovdik were all born and raised in Slonim.


In Slonim, there are 10 high schools and 20 preschool organizations, a diagnostic-rehabilitation center, various organizations and clubs, a youth’s creative work center, a youth naturalist's center, a youth hiker's center, and 2 sport schools.


There are 2 local newspapers published in the city: “Newspaper-Slonimskaya” and “Slonim Herald”.  Slonim has 2 “sister cities,” Torzhok and Czechowice-Dziedzice, located in neighboring countries.


the pre-1991 Belarusian Socialist Soviet Republic (BSSR) for the
contemporary Republic of Belarus, the Minsk-based Independent
Institute of Socioeconomic and Political Studies (NISEPI) concluded
after a poll it conducted in Belarus in March on what people think
about the origins of Belarusian statehood. The official version,
which is ferociously promoted by the neo-Soviet regime of President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, is that Belarus first acquired its statehood
in the form of the BSSR on 1 January 1919, that is, thanks to the
October Revolution of 1917 and thanks to the Russian Bolsheviks led
by Lenin and Stalin. It turns out, however, that a great deal of
Belarusians think otherwise.
    The poll found that nearly 35 percent of Belarusians believe
that the historically first Belarusian state was embodied in the
Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a commonwealth of the ancestors of
present-day Belarusians, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians, which existed
from the 14th to the18th centuries. Of those polled, 15 percent said
the first Belarusian state was the Belarusian Democratic Republic, a
short-lived non-Bolshevik state proclaimed on 25 March 1918. The BSSR
as the first state of Belarusians was named by 17 percent of
respondents, while 18 percent said the first Belarusian state was
created in 1991 in the form of the Republic of Belarus, following the
collapse of the USSR.
    "[Almost half of Belarusians] derive Belarusian statehood
from the pre-Soviet tradition," NISEPI commented on its poll. "This
is a huge amount, especially if we take into account the unfavorable
conditions for the formation of Belarusian national identity -- this
identity is growing not like flowers in a well-tended flower bed but
rather as grass in a wasteland (and very often it has to pierce
through the asphalt). But it is exactly these conditions that
graphically demonstrate the force and natural character of the
process [of acquiring the national identity by Belarusians]." (Jan