Saviour Transfiguration Church and St. Sophia Cathedral in the town of Polatsk
Saviour Transfiguration Church and St. Sophia Cathedral in the town of Polatsk is part of the Tentative list of Belarus in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Click here for a short description of the site, as delivered by the state party.
Map of Saviour Transfiguration Church and St. Sophia Cathedral in the town of PolatskLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
This is a very strange nomination. Belarus proposed two churches that now have nothing in common except being in the same town of Polatsk. The first one – Saviour Transfiguration Church – is one of the oldest and most important churches in Belarus. Now it is part of the complex of the Monastery of Transfiguration and St. Euphrosine, a bit far from the center. Judging from the outside, the church is the least prominent building of the monastery (it is also the most distant from the entrance). Its real value is inside, as the whole interior is covered with original beautiful frescoes. During my visit (June 2019) the church was closed for renovation but you could look inside. The best frescoes were also presented on billboards around the church. The whole monastery is white and resembles monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal (the oldest churches there were built in the same epoque).
Please note that, as in most monasteries in Russia your outfit is strictly examined. You cannot enter in shorts but you can borrow long pants (men) or scarf and dress (women) at the entrance.
On the contrary, the St. Sophia Cathedral is located in the center of the town, next to the river Dvina. It used to be one of the oldest churches in Belarus until 1710 when, after huge explosion of ammunition stored inside the church was almost totally destroyed. It was rebuilt in the style of Vilnius Baroque in the second half of XVIIIth century and only some foundations survived from the original. Now the church is almost empty inside and serves as a musem (not very interesting to be honest). Although the building looks nice from outside, there are plenty of similar baroque buildings in Europe. I cannot find any outstanding universal value of this property.
To sum up, for me thumbs up for inscribing Transfiguration Church, thumbs down for St. Sophia Cathedral. I see no reason for these two buildings going together in one nomination.
By the way Polatsk is one of the niciest cities in Belarus and it is absolutely one of the top attractions of this country (and one of geographic centers of Europe – the commemorating monument is in the very center of the town, which is a bit suspicious).
2009 Requested by State Party to not be examined
2004 Added to Tentative List
The site has 3 locations