River in Bratslav
|• Total||19.2 km2 (7.4 sq mi)|
|Elevation||201 m (659 ft)|
|Area code(s)||+380 4331|
Bratslav (Ukrainian: Брацлав; Polish: Bracław; Yiddish: בראָסלעוו, Broslev, today also pronounced Breslev or Breslov as the name of a Hasidic group, which originated from this town) is an urban-type settlement in Ukraine, located in Nemyriv Raion of Vinnytsia Oblast, by the Southern Bug river. It is a medieval European city and a regional center of the Eastern Podolia region (see Bracław Voivodeship) founded by government of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, which dramatically lost its importance during the 19th-20th centuries. Population: 5,861 (2013 est.).
The first written mention of Bratslav dates back to 1362. City status was granted Magdeburg Rights in 1564. Bratslav belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania until the Lublin Union of 1569, when it became a voivodeship center in the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
In the early 16th century, the Starosta of Bratslav (Bracław) and Vinnytsia (Winnica) was Hetman Konstanty Ostrogski, who commanded Polish-Lithuanian army in the Battle of Orsha. Nevertheless, Ostrogski was unable to protect Bratslav and its castle from destruction in 1497, when the town was raided by Crimean Tatars. The castle was rebuilt and reinforced by order of Polish King Alexander I Jagiellon, but it was destroyed once again, in 1551, during a Tatar raid commanded by Khan Devlet I Giray, after which Bratslav turned into a desert.
In 1564, Bratslav was granted Magdeburg rights, and five years later, following the Union of Lublin, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Poland, becoming capital of the Bracław Voivodeship, which existed for over 200 years. During this time, Bratslav, now named Bracław by the authorities, was property of Polish kings, and was ruled by the starostas.
In 1570, a special commission of the Polish Sejm marked boundaries of the Bracław Voivodeship. In the west, it reached the Dniestr and the Murachwa rivers, in the north it went along the so-called Black Tatar Trail. With top-quality soil, the so-called chernozem, Bracław Voivodeship was the most fertile region of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1589 in Warsaw, the Sejm granted coat of arms to the town: a cross in red field, with blue shield in the middle. In 1598, Polish Parliamend decided to move the seat of local courts and sejmiks from Bracław to Winnica, and as a result, Winnica became a de facto capital of the voivodeship, even though it was still named after Bracław.
On October 5, 1594, Zaporozhian Cossacks under Severyn Nalyvaiko murdered near Bracław Castle a tabor of the local Polish nobility, who tried to escape the Nalyvaiko Uprising. In 1648, during the Bohdan Khmelnytsky rebellion, Bracław became a Cossack regimental city, part of the Ukrainian Hetman state, which was later assimilated by the Duchy of Muscovy. In 1667, under the Treaty of Andrusiv, Muscovy returned the city to Poland. The city was ruled by Ottoman Empire between 1672-1699, returning then to Poland once more. It became part of the Russian Empire (the new name of Muscovy since 1708) after the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, along with the rest of the formerly Polish Right-bank Ukraine. Under Russia, Bratslav was an uyezd (district) center in the Podolia guberniya. As the city had no access to a railroad, its importance and population gradually declined.
Bratslav is famous in Judaism as the place where Rabbi Nachman lived and taught between 1802 and 1810. Rabbi Nachman was the founder of one of the major branches of Hasidism, Breslover Hasidism, and an author of Jewish mystical works. After the 1917 revolution Judaism had been strongly persecuted. The history of this persecution is well illustrated by the life of Bratslav rabbi Moishe Yankel Rabinovich who served as a rabbi from 1919 to 1968.
In 1926 Bratslav had a population of 7,842 (Source=Columbia-Lippincott Gazetteer).
- "Чисельність наявного населення України (Actual population of Ukraine)" (in Ukrainian). State Statistics Service of Ukraine. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
Елена Цвелик, "Еврейская Атлантида", M-Graphics Publishing, Boston, MA.
- Bratslav - Encyclopedia of Ukraine
- Jewish Encyclopedia
- Bratslav fortress
- The murder of the Jews of Bratslav during World War II, at Yad Vashem website.