Braslaw or Braslau (Belarusian: Браслаў, Brasłaŭ; Russian: Браслав, Braslav; Polish: Brasław; Lithuanian: Breslauja) is a town in the Vitsebsk Voblast of Belarus, an administrative center of the Braslaw district.
The town was first mentioned in 1065 as a castle in the border of the Polatsk Principality with the Lithuanian tribes. Archaeologists excavated a Viking settlement in the village of Maskachichy not far from the town. They think that Viking mercenaries were used as dependable border guards. In the 14th century, Braslaw was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, in fact, became an important fortification near the disturbing line with the Livonian Order in the 14 – 15th centuries. In 1500, Alexander Jagiellon privileged the townsfolk with a limited self-administration right and the coat of arms. In 1506, the castle was presented to the widowed queen Yelena Ivanovna, the daughter of Ivan III of Russia and wife of Alexander Jagiellon, who founded here an Orthodox Christian nunnery. The town was much developed thanks to its praepostor Lev Sapeha and the king Stanisław August Poniatowski.
Since 1920s, Braslaw was developed as a cheap summer resort. In 1995, it accommodated the main office of the National Park of the Braslaw Lakes.
In 1948, Braslaw had a population in excess of 2000 people. (Source=Columbia-Lippincott Gazeteer) In 2009, the total population of Braslaw was 9,516 people.
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