Flights to Vitebsk
Vitebsk is the fourth largest city in Belarus and it’s located in the north east of the country near the border with Russia. Vitebsk is often known as the cultural capital of Belarus so if you enjoy cultural attractions this is a good city to visit.
There is an airport the serves local flights to Vitebsk, the Vitebsk Vostochny Airport (airport code: VTB) but it’s only able to handle small aircraft, so no international flights to Vitebsk are available. Instead, from South Africa fly to Minsk International Airport (code: MSQ) and get a train or bus to take you to Vitebsk. Flying to Minsk with South African Airways or Lufthansa will take you through Frankfurt, but a flight with Virgin Atlantic will make a connection in London. There is a 2-stop option with British Airways, going through London and Frankfurt.
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The Tourist Attractions of Vitebsk:
Known as the cultural capital of Belarus Vitebsk definitely does have a fair amount to offer those tourists who are interested in culture, however, the city doesn’t offer too much more in the way of tourist attractions compared to some of Belarus’ other destinations. If you’re here to enjoy the culture then there are still several landmarks you might want to visit anyway, and events to attend, including the following:
The Annunciation Church
Painstakingly preserved for hundreds of years, the Annunciation Church was one of the oldest buildings in Belarus as it was originally built in the 1140s. The church was rebuilt several times until 1961 when the communist administration destroyed it and it laid in complete ruin until 1992 when it was rebuilt in the appearance believed to be original. Today the Annunciation Church is one of Vitebsk’s pretty churches and boasts a gleaming white coat of plaster, however there is some debate as to whether it would really have looked like this originally!
Other Landmarks in Vitebsk
Numerous other churches were also destroyed and of these the Resurrection Church which originally dated from the 1770s has been rebuilt. In addition to this landmark you can also see several others in Vitebsk that dates from the 1700s. These include the Vitebsk Town Hall built in 1775, and the Orthodox Cathedral from 1760.
The Russian Governor’s Palace hosted Napoleon in 1812 and the neo-Romanesque Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in the 1880s.
Festivals and Events in Vitebsk
Vitebsk is home to several annual festivals that help to give the city its cultural capital status. The International Festival of Modern Choreography happens each November, while the Slaviansky Bazaar hosts music and bands from around the Slavic-speaking world. As well as music there’s theatre, activities and traditional crafts featuring highly.
When Should You Visit?:
June to August is the best time to visit Vitebsk for warm weather as the average highs during these months are usually in the low 20’s C, but humidity and rainfall are a little higher at this time of the year. Spring and autumn are short seasons while winters are fairly cool with average highs staying below zero for a couple of months.