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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:

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 got a chance to attend Slavianski Bazaar without visas provided they had a ticket to the international festival of arts in Vitebsk. Thanks to the executive order signed by the Belarusian president, citizens of many countries could make use of the new visa-free rules and enter Belarus through all its border checkpoints. In the future the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk will continue hosting its foreign visitors visa-free.

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

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 at official operators-partners of the festival);
  • medical insurance (in the amount of at least €10,000);
  • assets (at least Br51, or about €22, for each day of stay).

Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk 2019

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

The opening ceremony and a gala concert took place in the Summer Amphitheater on 11 July, and the closing ceremony on 15 July. Additional events were held on 8-10 and 16-17 July.

The major events of the festival were the 28th International Song Contest Vitebsk 2019 and the 17th International Children's Song Contest Vitebsk 2019. Belarus was represented at the competitions by winners of the national selections: Kseniya Galetskaya and Ivan Zdonyuk. This year, Vitebsk hosted only the final as more emphasis was put on national selections in more than 20 countries.

Belarusian Kseniya Galetskaya won the Grand Prix and Lira special prize of the Vitebsk Children’s Song Contest at Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk. The first prize was awarded to Anzhela Albertyan from Armenia. The second prize was shared between Ukrainian Artur and Moldova's Anastasia Barba. The third prize was also awarded to two contestants: Georgia’s Annushka and Russia’s Kira Gogoladze.

Kazakhstan’s Adilkhan Makin won the Grand Prix of the 28th edition of the 2019 Vitebsk Song Contest. George Putkaradze from Georgia took the First Prize. Elay from Israel and Belarusian Vanya Zdonyuk shared the Second Prize.

Traditionally, famous guests performed in Vitebsk. This year’s playbill featured People's Artist of Georgia Tamara Gverdtsiteli, who sat on the jury of the Song Contest Vitebsk 2019, special guest of the final gala concert Sofia Rotaru and also Kipelov rock band, Surganova and Orchestra band, Aleksandr Panayotov, Stas Mikhaylov, Valery Leontiev, Nadezhda Kadysheva with the Russian folk group Zolotoye Koltso. The HIT NON STOP concert featured MONATIK, Alina Arts, Maruv, Olga Buzova, ALEKSEEV and Serebro.

The Union State Invites concert took place at the Slavianski Bazaar 2019 to mark Day of Friendship. The event was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Union State and the 50th anniversary of the music band Pesnyary. The concert featured Petr Elfimov, Anatoly Kasheparov, Troitsa ethno trio, NaviBand, Varvara, Turetsky Soprano group.

During Slavianski Bazaar, the city concert halls and streets turned into a big stage for various popular events: Theater Meetings, Seven Winds street art festival, Puppet Quarter, concerts at the Vitebsk Oblast Philharmonics. The festival also unveiled new activities this year. This year the festival in Vitebsk welcomed Dream Dance Fest, an international dance battle festival. Victory Square turned into art space for a large open-air event. Its program featured concerts by Belarusian bands NaviBand, Bez Bileta, J:Mors. The St. Petersburg state ballet on ice company debuted in Vitebsk this year with the Swan Lake show.

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