"Dukhovskoy Kruglik" – a guest from the past.
Walking through the center of Vitebsk, we cannot catch our look of the building of Exhibition Hall "Dukhovskoy Kruglik". Near modern Summer Amphitheatre, it looks like a guest from the past, although it has successfully disguising as modern. That wind has brought it here?
The building of "Dukhovskoy Kruglik", now the exhibition hall, begins its history in the Middle Ages, the middle of the XIV century, Prince Olgerd times. The construction of this tower was completed in 1351; it was one of the seven defensive towers of the Lower Castle and at different times was called "Narozhnaya", "Navugolnaya"... The towers were brought out of the stone castle, located along the eastern and northeastern borders of the city and had, of course, very specific purpose – protection against possible attack. In fact, the loopholes of Vitebsk towers also faced to the east, while the Russian tower "looked" to the west. It is clear from whom Vitebsk residents constantly felt the threat…
Originally "Navugolnaya" tower was built of boulder stone, large brick and chalk; it was rectangular, with wall thickness of 1.1 to 1.8 meters and height of about 12-13 meters, not more than three layers. The bottom of the tower was strengthened with trapezoidal counterforces (lateral walls). But in its original form it had been a short period of time, repeatedly destroyed, completed with wood and had even been made entirely from wood...
The building of "Dukhovskoy Kruglik", which we can see now, next to Freedom Square in the city of Vitebsk, cannot be called a copy of the watchtower, built in the times of Olgerd. This is an artistic reconstruction of a typical tower of the XIV century. People familiar with the medieval architecture of Vitebsk, will see some specific features, the same counterforces, monumentalism of the building... But this is an entirely new cultural object in Vitebsk: a high (27 meters), five-level building, huge windows with glass units (the progress does not stand still), an observation deck under a glass dome of the tower, a very light in any weather and spacious building... "Dukhovskoy Kruglik" became such in 2007 by architect Ruslan Lyadenko. Saving the characteristic form of a watchtower, he made it modern, live, just decorating the views of Vitebsk.
Start you tour in Vitebsk from "Dukhovskoy Kruglik", because it is located near many other worthy attractions of Vitebsk. Certainly visit City Hall, still it is a symbol of the independence of the city and just a very interesting place where you can spend the whole day. Yakub Kolas Drama Theater, one of the most famous theaters in Belarus, the Art Museum, the Museum of Private Collections - all is located just a ten minute walk from "Dukhovskoy Kruglik".
If you want to learn more about the history of Exhibition Hall "Dukhovskoy Kruglik", to see the breakdown of the old foundation of the guard tower with you own eyes, just come to the address:
13A/1 Frunze Avenue, Vitebsk.
Works on any day except Monday and Tuesday (though these days you can visit the exhibition hall, preliminary agreed by making a call +375 212 358138) from 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM.