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Boris and Gleb Church in Grodno

Grodno has a unique temple, which was built back in the 12th century and although partially, has preserved the original architecture and material. Boris and Gleb (Kolozhskaya) Church is quite modest in size and it is not easy to get to it, you have to overcome a long stone staircase. But a visit to this architectural monument will certainly be remembered with a sense of calm and familiarity with the history of the region.

Facts and hypotheses about the Boris and Gleb Church

This example of ancient Russian architecture is unique. Its features confirm the existence of an independent direction in architecture. On this occasion, the historical monument is included in the UNESCO list. The Church of St. Boris and Gleb is a cross-domed church. The walls are made of plinth, brick has a decorative function. The lack of stucco on the facade allows you to see the unique style of masonry. The inlays of large polished stones and polychrome tiles in the shape of crosses were used as decorations. The left wing of the church has survived unchanged to this day.

The temple has a double name. It is often referred to as Kolozhskaya Church. There is some confusion about the title. So, some researchers say that it came from the word “kolozhen,” the place where numerous springs come to the surface. The tract nearby is also called. According to another version, the name was given by the descendants of the captives, taken in the fortress Kolozha, settled in the new lands and transferred to the temple familiar name. In any case, Kolozhskaya Church in Grodno is worthy of the status of a unique architectural monument.

The date of construction is tentatively called the 1180s, opinions differ as to who exactly gave the order to build, the admirers of the Grodno princes Boris and Gleb Vsevolodkoviches or their children. At the church was founded a monastery, later converted to a Uniate monastery, but because of the unfortunate location of the area flooded and remained only Kolozhskaya church itself, built on a hill.

Boris and Gleb Church

Very soon it became the main temple in Grodno, it happened after the fire that destroyed the main temple. Despite its importance, by the end of the 16th century the building had become dilapidated, with part of the walls and the dome ceiling collapsing. It is believed that this was caused in the 13th-14th centuries by the invasion of the Crusaders. The church has been restored. But it did not last long, becoming a barn for cattle. Because of the unfortunate location too close to the Neman riverbed, there was a constant danger of collapse. And it happened. This is how the south wall and part of the west wall were lost. To preserve the rest, work was done to strengthen the river bank.

Two options were offered in the restoration. One is an example from the 12th century, unfortunately very little reliable information and sketches have been preserved about it. A more historically accurate version is before the catastrophe of 1853.

In the archives we were able to find drawings of the lost fragments of the building. Nevertheless, it was decided to make the walls of wood and the roof of metal.


Despite its modest size, the interior is spacious. The peculiarity of this type of building was the placement of the votive jugs in the walls. They amplified and directed the acoustics, so that every word of the priest could be heard in every corner of the temple. The painting of the interior rooms was done in the last century. In the process, fragments of 12th century frescoes were found and partially restored.

The church has a carved wooden altar. It was created with donations from V. Mulyavin, the founder and artistic director of the “Pesnyary” ensemble.

The miraculous icon of the Mother of God

According to legend, it was bequeathed to the temple by a beggar who was following his vow. Since the 17th century, there have been documented cases of cures for the afflicted, thanks to the icon. May 25 is considered the day of veneration of the holy image. There is a solemn service and a procession.

The New Life of Kolozhskaya Church

After a major restoration in the 20th century, the temple once again welcomes worshippers. It has a Sunday school and holds services and the sacraments of baptism. The project involves creating a model of a 12th-century church. And now you can send family and friends a postcard from that distant century. A vintage mailbox is set up for this purpose and the postcards themselves are offered. The service is popular with tourists.


Attractions near the Boris and Gleb Church

A visit to the temple can be combined with a trip to other historical and architectural monuments. In Grodno, a large number of old buildings have been preserved. There are about 400 of them.

And if you’re already doing an excursion into history, it’s definitely worth putting on the list:

  • Far Church;
  • former Jesuit and Franciscan monasteries;
  • synagogue;
  • Lutheran church;
  • Gillibert Botanical Garden.

Many churches have been lost and an unusual sculpture, Worshipful Crosses, has been erected to honor them. It is located on the site of the monastery of the Bernardines from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. It is also interesting to see the Puppet Theater, which is considered the oldest theater scene in the country.

Another popular tourist attraction is a working pharmacy-museum. The building was erected by the Jesuits in 1709 in the complex of the Grodno Collegium. It worked until 1953, then the building was turned over to a medical warehouse. The pharmacy owes its rebirth to the pharmaceutical company Biotest, which restored and reopened not only the pharmacy itself, but also created a museum dedicated to pharmacy. All of these interesting objects are well worth seeing. As well as the Boris and Gleb Church, they are monuments of local and republican significance.

How to get to the Borisoglebsk fortress?

The address of Kolozhskaya Church is 6 Kolozh St., Grodno. The temple is open to the public, and in the evening it is illuminated and takes on a bit of a fairy-tale look, which is aided by the peculiarities of the stonework of the walls. To get to the church, you can take the Old Castle as a reference point. It is convenient to get to the city by plane or train, as Grodno is a major transportation hub. From the train station it is not far to the Boris and Gleb Church. You can get to it quickly and comfortably through the city center.

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