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Verkhnedvinsk is situated at the junction of two rivers near the border of three states. The town with a 700-year history is famous for weavers and cheese-makers.
Verkhnedvinsk is located 175 km away from Vitebsk at the junction of rivers Drissa and Daugava. Vitebsk-Polotsk-Bigosovo-Daugavpils railway line and Vitebsk-Polotsk-Latvian border motorway cross the territory of Verkhnedvinsk District.
The town was first mentioned in chronicles in 1386. It was then called Drissa (Verkhnedvinsk received its present name only in the 20th century).
Favorable geographic position helped Drissa grow into an important trade center.
Numerous hostilities, including the war between the Great Principality of Lithuania and Moscow Principality and the war of 1583-1588 resulted in massive destructions in the town.
Following the first division of Rzech Pospolita in 1772 Drissa became part of the Russian Empire.
In 1812 Drissa District turned into a battlefield for Napoleon army and Russian troops under the command of Barclay de Tolli.
After the construction of Polotsk-Dvinsk railway line in 1866 Drissa became one of the major flax export bases of the country.
The Soviet regime was established in Drissa in 1917.
During WWII Drissa hosted three underground anti-fascist units. In 1994 the town was liberated from fascist invaders by the troops of the 2nd Baltic Front.
The town was renamed in 1962. Today it is known as Verkhnedvinsk.
Drissa was the Motherland of famous Belarusian artist I.Akanazy (19th-20th cent.) who used to co-operation with outstanding Russian artist Ilya Repin. Another famous son of the town is A.Palmbakh known as a scholar and a poet.
The most prominent sights of Verkhnedvinsk are the Cathedral of the Nativity of Virgin Mary (mid-19th cent.), St Nicholas’ Church (1819), an obelisk in honor of the heroes of the Patriotic War (1812) and a pontoon bridge over River Zapadnaya Dvina.
In addition, there is a common grave of frontier guards who perished here during WWII (1939) and a memorial to heroes of the Great Patriotic War.
Verkhnedvinsk lies close to the former Drissa Camp — a military station that was mentioned by Leo Tolstoy in his world famous novel “War and Peace”. The camp hosted the staff of outstanding Russian military commander Barclay de Tolli, one of the heroes of the Patriotic war of 1812.
Verkhnedvinsk annually hosts a festival of young talents called Dvina — Dzvina — Daugava. The festival that takes place on the last weekend of May gathers talented children from Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. A contest of kids’ fashion studios called Siyaniye takes place is traditionally arranged within the framework of the festival.
Tourists may be attracted by the unique history of Verkhnedvinsk, the picturesque landscapes and river valleys, fishing and, of course, the festival of young talents.
A visit to Verkhnedvinsk is part of a 280-km cycling tour called The Wood Paths of Verkhnedvinsk District.
In addition, there is a shorter cycling tour, The Route of Patriots, that also stipulates a stop in Verkhnedvinsk.
Both tours are organized by the Department of Physical Culture, Sport and Tourism of Verkhnedvinsk District Administration.
Other objects from the section «Vitebsk region»