Today Grodno is one of the tourist centers of Belarus, which has many historical, cultural, religious and architectural attractions. We bring to your attention the most interesting sights of Grodno with names, photos and descriptions.
Top 12 Sights of Grodno
Grodno is one of the most beautiful cities in Belarus, located on the banks of the Neman. The first mention of Grodno in the chronicles dates back to the 11th century. At different times in its history, it was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire, and the USSR, absorbing the history and culture of these states. So, what to see in and around Grodno today?
This park was founded in the second half of the 18th century by the famous French biologist Gillibert. He also opened the first Grodno Academy of Medicine and helped the Jesuits open a pharmacy. He was one of the outstanding scientists of the time, who made a significant contribution to the science of biology, the study of the properties of various plants, etc.
Today his brainchild – the botanical garden or park of Grodno – has more than 2,000 plant species. It does not have as much scientific importance as Gillibert gave it, but it attracts visitors with its alleys and arbors, bridges and statues. This is a very interesting place in Grodno, where you can come to rest with children for the whole day.
This castle was built in Grodno in the 11th century on the banks of the Neman River by the Lithuanian Duke Vitovt. To protect it, the castle was once surrounded by strong battlements of glacial boulders with five defensive towers and a deep moat. Later all these fortifications lost their practical importance and were demolished.
In the Middle Ages, Grodno was owned by Polish and Lithuanian kings and princes. During the wars with Russia and Sweden the Old Castle was repeatedly destroyed, and in the 18th century it was completely burned down by Swedish troops. However, it was always erected again. Belarus spares no money to restore such monuments, and today the Old Castle is a museum and landmark of Grodno, which says a lot about its complex history.
Bernardine Church and Monastery
These are the current Catholic churches of the Bernardines, a monastic branch of the Franciscan order. The church and temple were built in the 15th-18th centuries, many times rebuilt, with different architects mixing Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque in the buildings. The church itself was built according to the rules of the Catholic basilica.
There is an active organ of the 12th century, the interior is decorated in the Baroque style, there are sculptures of apostles and great personalities of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In Soviet times, this church did not operate, but today it houses a Catholic seminary, and this attraction of Grodno can be visited by tourists.
This museum opened in 2012, and all its exhibits are the property of the local medical university. They had been meeting in the Department of Anatomy for at least a century. Here you can see different freaks – human embryos with abnormal development. With the current level of early diagnosis of pregnancy, such deviations in fetal development are almost impossible.
Of course, such exhibits – for the amateur with strong nerves. But if you are deciding what to see in Grodno, pay attention to the city Kunstkammer – it will be an unforgettable experience. There are two separate halls here: normal and paranormal anatomy.
This castle in Grodno was built in the Rococo style in the mid-18th century, and then it was the residence of the Polish king. On the outside the castle looks quite modest, but its interior decoration and furnishings – simply gorgeous. Once the greats of this world visited here: diplomatic receptions, grand feasts and lavish balls were arranged.
Interestingly, the Polish Sejm held meetings in the castle. And the historical significance of this landmark of Grodno is that here at the very end of the 18th century between Russia and Prussia was signed the last division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After this event, the abdicated Polish king lived in the castle for several more years.
Former Stanislavovo Estate
This manor used to be the summer residence of the Polish king. The palace was built in the Baroque style in the second half of the 18th century. To this day it has survived in its original form only partially. At the same time near the summer palace was laid out a beautiful park, it exists to this day and pleases tourists with its scenery.
After the abdication of the Polish king, Empress Catherine II gave this manor house to one of her generals, and in Soviet times there was an agricultural institute. Today it is undergoing extensive restoration work. To the delight of tourists and residents of the city is planned to fully restore the palace and the regular park around it in its original form.
What can you see in Grodno together with children? Of course, the city zoo, the oldest in Belarus, founded back in 1927. After Western Belorussia became part of the USSR, the zoo became a state zoo, received money and greatly expanded. During the war it was looted by the Nazis, and at the end of the war it was rebuilt. By the end of the eighties it contained more than 300 species of animals.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the zoo has once again begun to flourish, the state provides it with great financial and scientific assistance, helps to reconstruct, has significantly increased the area, species and number of animals. Today the Grodno Zoo is in excellent condition, and it’s a pleasure to come here with children.
Another famous sight of Grodno and the whole Belarus is the oldest pharmacy in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It was discovered in the very beginning of the 18th century by the Jesuits. In 1950, the pharmacy was closed and a pharmacy museum was set up in its place. It is located on Sovetskaya Street, where there are many other historic buildings.
Antique medical and pharmacy items and tools, medicine bottles, scales, etc. were collected by the whole world. Today you can see how medicine and pharmacy developed in Grodno over three centuries. At the same time you can buy modern medicines, because the pharmacy is active again.
Boris and Gleb (Kolozhskaya) Church
This church is the oldest in all of Belarus. It was built in the 12th century, in the pre-Mongol period, and was named in honor of Saints Boris and Gleb. Today the church is a monument of history and ancient architecture. In the 12th century, a lightning strike caused a big fire in Grodno, and burned down all the temples except the Church of St. Boris and Gleb. That is why it was a cathedral church for some time.
For centuries, the St. Boris and Gleb Orthodox Church in Grodno was destroyed by the conquerors and rebuilt again by the townspeople. Today it is on the UNESCO list, but its restoration is still to come. Interestingly, this church is similar in architecture to the ancient Byzantine churches in Cyprus. For the historian this is the most ancient and interesting place on the map of Grodno.
It is the most beautiful Catholic church in the city, the calling card of Grodno and its landmark. Its construction was begun in the 17th century by the Jesuits who lived there at the time, and was consecrated in 1705. Since then, Grodno has become an outpost of Catholicism in Eastern Europe.
The Far Church was built in the Baroque style and is a masterpiece of architecture. On one of its bell towers is a mechanical clock, believed to be the oldest in Europe. In the eighties they were repaired and restored, so today under the chime of bells regularly show the current time to residents of Grodno and tourists.
Nativity of the Virgin Monastery
This is a functioning Orthodox nunnery. The existence of an almshouse in this place was mentioned as early as the beginning of the 16th century. Kiev’s voivodes and Polish kings contributed money to its upkeep. Later the Orthodox Church of Prechistenskaya was transferred to the Uniates, and in the 17th century a monastery arose around it.
After Grodno became part of the Russian Empire, the convent became Orthodox and an orphanage was organized there. At the direction of Emperor Alexander II there was built another church, which appeared its own Orthodox shrine: myrrh-streaming Vladimir icon. Currently there are nuns living in the convent, and a Sunday school has opened at the convent.
St. John’s Lutheran Church
This landmark of Grodno testifies to the fact that three main areas of Christianity converged in this city: Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism. The Lutheran Church of Sts. The Church of St. John is a working church, built here at the end of the 18th century by German manufactures with the consent of the Polish king.
Over time, a German cemetery appeared near the church, and Germans who died during the two world wars are buried here. In the USSR, however, this cemetery was liquidated, and the organ from the kirk was transferred to the local Philharmonic. Today the church is being revived, the organ is replaced with an ordinary piano, and Hrodna Lutherans are confident that their church will be restored and will once again become a real Protestant church.
Video overview of the sights of Grodno
Map of Grodno with sights
You can get to Grodno by train. From Moscow and St. Petersburg to and from there goes the firm train “Old Neman”. Also, Grodno has its own international airport, where you can fly from all over the world, with or without transfers. There are bus services all over the country.