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But the first information about the town in chronicles was in 1021.

It had sprung up on a busy road "from Varangians to Greeks" and stood witness to a great number of glorious events and heroic deeds.

Vitebsk was the native land of Mark Chagall, the world famous artist, who died in Paris but he always dreamed about Vitebsk.

He was inspired by his native town of Vitebsk, which he often depicted in his works.

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In XVI-XVII centuries Vitebsk much suffered from aggressive wars of the Moscow Principality (later Kingdom) against the GDL.Although Vitebsk much suffered from numerous wars, some architectonic sights are saved such as: Rathaus (Coloncha, former City Hall) (1775), Governor's palace (before 1772), St.Barbara's Catholic church (1785, rebuild in end of XIX), St.During the Napoleon campaign in Russia (1812) Vitebsk noblemen supported Frenchmen because the latter promised to restore self-government in the former Polish - Lithuanian kingdom, but Belarusian peasants were mobilizing by Russian army. After war ended among few other cities Russian czar ordered to put in Vitebsk the monument in honor of 1812 battles.In 1840 after suppression of 1830-1831 insurrection Russian government abolished ancient Belarusian constitution (the famous 1588-year Statute of the GDL) and open Russian colonization of Belarus began.

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