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| Home | About Belarus | Culture | The International Arts Festival Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk

The International Arts Festival Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk

The logo of the 28th International Arts Festival Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk (2019)
The logo of the 28th International Arts Festival Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk (2019)

The International Arts Festival Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk (Slavonic Bazaar) has become a trademark of the Republic of Belarus. For years, the music forum has been promoting cross-cultural dialogue between nations and countries.

History of the Festival

Organized by Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, the first festival was held in Vitebsk on 18 July 1992. It was designed to introduce city residents and guests to Slavonic song folklore.

In 1993, the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk became a member of the International Federation of Festival Organizations (FIDOF). The same year the geography of the festival broadened to include participants from Slovakia, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Turkey, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.

Since 1995 the festival has been held under the patronage of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The same year the Slavianski Bazaar became to be known as the International Festival of Arts.

The first satellite broadcast of the festival was launched in 1996, which made it possible to show the forum all over the world.

In 2009 an alley was unveiled in Vitebsk to honor the winners of the Prize of Belarus’ President "Towards peace and mutual understanding through art".

The 20th International Arts Festival Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk was held in 2011. For 20 years, Vitebsk welcomed more than 55,000 participants from 68 countries. The Summer Amphitheater, the main stage of Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, hosted 316 concerts which were attended by about 3 million people.

The International Song Contest in Vitebsk has been the highlight of the festival since 1992. The International Children’s Song Contest as well as fascinating cinema and theater shows are also held within the framework of the music forum.   

We cannot imagine the festival without plein-air exhibitions of modern artists and fairs of artisans. The Union State Day, the gala performance of artists from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, Festival without Borders, theatrical meetings,  "Zvezdny Chas" have become integral part of the festival.

Slavianski Bazaar Square of Fame

Through Art to Peace and Mutual Understanding award, instituted by the Belarusian president in 2005, is annually presented to outstanding figures of culture and art, organizations for services to international cultural cooperation, popularization of artistic culture based on humanistic ideals and values. The award ceremony take place on the main stage of the festival in the Summer Amphitheater.

The name of the new awardee is kept secret until the start of the festival. Traditionally the award is presented by the Belarusian president.

The award is a gold-plated statuette of a muse who holds a wreath of cornflowers in her hands, the cape waving behind her back, as a sign of creative inspiration. The girl soars in the air, with one foot on the hemisphere that embodies the Earth. A ribbon around it says “Through art to peace and mutual understanding”.

The Walk of Fame was set up near the lower terrace of the Summer Amphitheater in 2009. Later it became the Square of Stars. Here the award winners unveil the stars in their name: a cornflower with name of the owner and year of star placement.

The winners of the winner and proud holders of the cornflower on the Square of Fame are:

2005 - Andrei Petrov
2006 - Alla Pugacheva
2007 - Sofia Rotaru
2008 - Aleksandra Pakhmutova
2009 - Valery Leontev
2010 - Vladimir Mulyavin and Pesnyary band
2011 - Igor Luchenok
2012 - Lev Leshchenko
2013 - Edita Piekha
2014 - Nadezhda Babkina
2015 - Polad Bulbuloglu
2016 - Mikhail Finberg and the National Academic Concert Orchestra
2017 - Tamara Gverdtsiteli
2018 - Roza Rymbaeva

The facts to know about the festival…

In 2000 the Slavianski Bazaar set a record bringing together representatives of all Slavonic nations.

The FIDOF awarded the festival with the diploma "Festival of the Year" in 2000 and 2004. In 2005 Vitebsk played host to the Assembly of the International Federation of Festival Organizations (FIDOF), which meant the high level recognition of the festival.

Traveling to Vitebsk for Slavianski Bazaar visa free

In 2019, foreign citizens will get a chance to attend Slavianski Bazaar without visas provided they have a ticket to the international festival of arts in Vitebsk.

The Belarusian president has recently issued an executive order granting Slavianski Bazaar ticket holders a visa-free entry to Belarus through all Belarusian border checkpoints. A visitor must carry:

  • Passport, which shall be valid for at least 90 days after the expected day of departure from Belarus. A ticket to the Slavianski Bazaar festival shall substitute a visa for citizens of the countries with which Belarus maintain visa travel regulations.
  • a ticket to the festival (tickets are available on kvitki.by, ticketpro.by, bilesuserviss.lv, zakazbiletov.kz);
  • medical insurance (in the amount of at least €10,000);
  • assets (at least Br51, or about €22, for each day of stay).

Visa-free entry shall be valid from 1 to 20 July 2019.

Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk 2019

The International Festival of Arts Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk 2019 will be held on 8-17 July.

The opening ceremony and a gala concert will take place in the Summer Amphitheater on 11 July, and the closing ceremony on 15 July. Additional events will be scheduled for 8-10 and 16-17 July.

The major events of the festival will be the 28th International Song Contest Vitebsk 2019 and the 17th International Children's Song Contest Vitebsk 2019. This year, the program of the song contest will undergo changes. Vitebsk will host only the final as more emphasis will be put on national selections to be held in more than 20 countries this year. Some countries will introduce a new format of the selection.

During Slavianski Bazaar, the city concert halls and streets turn into a big stage for various popular events: Theater Meetings, Seven Winds street art festival, Puppet Quarter, concerts at the Vitebsk Oblast Philharmonics and other projects. The festival will also unveil new activities this year. The city's Victory Square will  be the venue for a variety of concerts, food courts and activity zones. This year the festival in Vitebsk will welcome Dream Dance Fest, an international dance battle festival. Victory Square will turn into art space for a large open-air event on 11-15 July. Its program will feature concerts by Belarusian bands NaviBand, Bez Bileta, J:Mors, night theatrical performances, sound and cover bands festivals. The St. Petersburg state ballet on ice company will debut in Vitebsk this year with the Swan Lake show

Traditionally, famous guests will perform in Vitebsk. This year’s playbill will feature People's Artist of Georgia Tamara Gverdtsiteli, who will sit on the jury of the Song Contest Vitebsk 2019, and Alla Duhova's Todes Ballet. This year Sofia Rotaru willl be a special guest of the final gala concert. The organizers have also revealed several line-up names. These are Kipelov rock band, Surganova and Orchestra band, Aleksandr Panayotov, Stas Mikhaylov, Valery Leontiev, Nadezhda Kadysheva with the Russian folk group Zolotoye Koltso, and others.

Another major project will take place on the Day of the Belarus-Russia Union State and will be dedicated to the anniversary of the music band Pesnyary and its frontman Vladimir Mulyavin.

Slavianski Bazaar ticket holders granted visa-free entry to Belarus

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