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20090613 003 Наваградак (23).JPG
Flag of Navahrudak
Coat of arms of Navahrudak
Coat of arms
Navahrudak is located in Belarus
Navahrudak within the Grodno Region
Coordinates: 53°35′N 25°49′E / 53.583°N 25.817°E / 53.583; 25.817
Country Belarus
District (Rayon)Navahrudak
292 m (958 ft)
 • Total29,336
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
231241, 231243, 231244, 231246, 231400
Area code(s)+375 1597
License plate4
WebsiteOfficial website

Navahrudak (Belarusian: Навагрудак, Russian: Новогрудок, Novogrudok; Polish: Nowogródek; Lithuanian: Naugardukas) is a city in the Grodno Region of Belarus. In the 14th century it was an episcopal see of the Metropolitanate of Lithuania. It is a possible first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, with Trakai also noted as a possibility. It was later part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire and eventually Poland until the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 when the Soviet Union annexed the area to the Byelorussian SSR.

Early history[edit]

It was first mentioned in the Sophian First Chronicle and Fourth Novgorod Chronicle in 1044 in relation to a war between Yaroslav I the Wise and Lithuanian tribes.[2] In 1241, it was destroyed by the Mongols.[3] It was also mentioned in the Hypatian Codex in the year of 1252 as Novogorodok (i.e. "new little town"). The town was a major settlement in the remote western lands of the Krivichs that came under the control of the Kievan Rus at the end of the 10th century. This hypothesis has been disputed, however, as the earliest archaeological findings date from 11th century.[4]

In the 13th century, the fragile unity of the Kievan Rus disintegrated due to nomadic incursions from Asia. This reached a climax with the Mongol horde's Siege of Kiev (1240), resulting in the sacking of Kiev and leaving a geopolitical vacuum in the region, which was later referred to as Black Ruthenia. The Early East Slavs splintered along preexisting tribal lines into a number of independent and competing principalities.

Mindaugas of Lithuania made use of the plight to annex Navahrudak, which also became part of the Kingdom of Lithuania,[5][6][7][8] later the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. During the 16th century, Maciej Stryjkowski was the first who, in his chronicle,[9] proposed the theory that Navahrudak was the capital of the 13th century state. This statement is supported by several scholars, while others dispute this notion, mainly because contemporary chronicles of the 13th century do not provide any references to Navahrudak being the capital, even stating that city was transferred to the king of Galicia–Volhynia.[10] Vaišvilkas, the son and successor of Mindaugas, took monastic vows in Lavrashev Monastery[11] near Novgorodok and founded an Orthodox convent there.[12]

Age of the partitions[edit]

Historic Market Square

Navahrudak was a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth following the Union of Lublin in 1569. In 1795 it was incorporated into Grodno Governorate (It was founded as Slonim Governorate in 1795[contradictory] and renamed in 1801) of Imperial Russia due to the Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was transferred to Minsk Governorate in 1843. The town was a center of a thriving Jewish community; its 1900 population was 5,015.[clarification needed][13]

In the course of the[First World War the town was under German occupation from 22 September 1915 to 27 December 1918.[3] During the ensuing Polish-Bolshevik war it changed hands several times. When the Soviet Union and Poland ended hostilities in the Peace of Riga, the city was ceded to the Second Polish Republic. In the interwar period, Nowogródek served as capital of the Nowogródek province, until the 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

World War II[edit]

Soviet troops entered the city on 18 September 1939, and it was annexed to the Byelorussian SSR. The Polish inhabitants were taken prisoner and exiled, mostly to Siberia and the Soviet Union. In the administrative division of the new territories, the city was briefly the centre of the Navahrudak Voblast. Afterwards, the administrative centre moved to Baranavichy and name of voblast was renamed as Baranavichy Voblast[clarification needed], the city became the centre of the Navahrudak Raion (15 January 1940). On 22 June 1941 Nazi Germany invaded the USSR and Navahrudak was occupied on 4 July, following one of the more tragic events when the Red Army was surrounded in what's known as the Novogrudok Cauldron. See Operation Barbarossa: Phase 1.

During the German occupation it became part of the Reichskommissariat Ostland territory. Partisan resistance immediately began. The Bielski partisans made of Jewish volunteers operated in the region. On 1 August 1943, Nazi troops shot down eleven nuns, the Martyrs of Nowogródek. The Red Army reoccupied the city almost exactly three years after its German occupation on 8 July 1944. During the war more than 45,000 people were killed in the city and in the surrounding area, and over 60% of housing was destroyed.

Navahrudak was an important Jewish center. It was home to the Novardok yeshiva, led by Rabbi Yosef Yozel Horwitz, as well as the hometown of Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein and of the Harkavy Jewish family, including Yiddish lexicographer Alexander Harkavy. Before the war, the population was 20,000, approximately half Jewish and half gentile. Meyer Meyerovitz and Meyer Abovitz were the rabbis there at that time. During a series of "actions" in 1941, the Germans killed all but 550 of the approximately 10,000 Jews. (The first mass murder of Navahrudak's Jews occurred in December 1941.) Those not killed were sent into slave labor.[3]

After the war, the area remained part of the Byelorussian SSR, and a rapid rebuilding process restored most of the destroyed infrastructure. On 8 July 1954, following the disestablishment of the Baranavichy Voblast, the raion, along with Navahrudak, became part of the Hrodna Voblast, in which it remains to this day, in modern Belarus.


Shopping Mall. 2004.
  • Navahrudak Castle, sometimes anachronistically called Mindaugas' Castle, was built in the 14th century, was burnt down by the Swedes in 1706, and remains in ruins.
  • Construction of the Orthodox SS. Boris and Gleb Church, Belarusian Gothic, started in 1519, but was not completed until the 1630s; it was extensively repaired in the 19th century.
  • The Roman Catholic Transfiguration Church (1712–23, includes surviving chapels of an older gothic building), where Adam Mickiewicz was baptised.
  • Museum of Jewish Resistance. Also a red pebble path along the escape route during the heroic escape of ghetto inmates.
  • Other architectural attractions include the Church of St. Michael, renovated in 1751 and 1831, and the shopping mall in the central square.

Some members of the Harkavy family are buried at the old Jewish cemetery of Navahrudak. A house is shown where the poet Adam Mickiewicz was born; there are also his statue and the "Mound of Immortality", created in his honour by the Polish administration in 1924–1931.

Panoramic view of Navahrudak, 2018


The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Dfb" (Warm Summer Continental Climate).[14]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Navahrudak is twinned with:


  1. ^ "World Gazetteer". World Gazetteer. Archived from the original on 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  2. ^ Н.П.Гайба. История Новогрудка Archived 2010-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c Carol Hoffman (2005). Shmuel Spector, Bracha Freundlich (eds.). "Pinkas Hakehillot Polin: Novogrudok". Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities. maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Oshchestvo Srednevekovoj Litvy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  5. ^ D. Antanavičius, D. Baronas etc. Mindaugo knyga: istorijos šaltiniai apie Lietuvos karalių. Vilnius, 2005. pp.63-93
  6. ^ J. Geddie. The Russian Empire: Historical and Descriptive. P.102
  7. ^ J. Phillips. The Medieval Expansion of Europe. p. 78
  8. ^ Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania
  9. ^ Maciej Stryjkowski (1985). Kronika polska, litewska, żmódzka i wszystkiéj Rusi Macieja Stryjkowskiego. Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Artystyczne i Filmowe. p. 572.
  10. ^ Полное собрание русских летописей. Ипатьевская летопись. Москва, 1998. pp.880-881
  11. ^ Following the Tracks of a Myth Archived 2007-06-14 at the Wayback Machine Edvardas Gudavičius
  12. ^ S.C. Rowell. Lithuania Ascending: A Pagan Empire Within East-central Europe, 1295-1345. Cambridge University Press, 1994. Page 149.
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  14. ^ Climate Summary for Navahrudak
  15. ^ "Elbląg - Podstrony / Miasta partnerskie". Elbląski Dziennik Internetowy (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  16. ^ "Elbląg - Miasta partnerskie". Elblą (in Polish). Retrieved 2013-08-01.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°35′N 25°49′E / 53.583°N 25.817°E / 53.583; 25.817