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3 Mar 2017

Francysk Skaryna’s Little Travel Book to tour Europe in May

Francysk Skaryna’s Little Travel Book to tour Europe in MayMINSK, 3 March (BelTA) – Francysk Skaryna’s Malaya Padarozhnaya Knizhytsa (The Little Travel Book) printed in Vilno in 1522 will tour Europe in May, Belgazprombank CEO Viktor Babariko said at the presentation of the international exhibition project Along Skaryna’s Roads with Belgazprombank on 3 March, BelTA has learned.

Viktor Babariko noted that the project will present Francysk Skaryna’s legacy in the countries connected with the life of Eastern Europe’s first book printer. The international project will kick off in Lithuania in May and later head for Poland, the Czech Republic, and Italy. Belarus will be the last stop on the route. Once back home, the book will be put on display during the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book printing in Polotsk.

Francysk Skaryna’s Little Travel Book to tour Europe in MayThe Little Travel Book from Belgazprombank’s corporate collection will be the centerpiece of the exhibition project. The book is actually a collection of 18 small religious books for travelers, including The Psalter, Chasoslovets (Book of Hours), acathistos and canons. The book is decorated with unique engravings, miniatures and initials. Nine of the 18 books that make part of The Little Travel Book have an afterword by Francysk Skaryna. This book is considered by experts as the first book printed in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It is the only copy of the book in Belarus today.

Viktor Babariko refused to disclose the price of The Little Travel Book. However, he joked that Skaryna’s art is quite popular nowadays and noted that the bank paid some 18 times the price of a regular book.

Francysk Skaryna’s Little Travel Book to tour Europe in MayWhen asked about the talks with the owner of a collection of small religious books for travelers, Viktor Babariko said that the negotiations started some two years ago. The fact that the previous owner is a Belarusian who has warm feelings for his country played a major role in the talks. Besides, the proximity of the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book printing speeded up the talks and ended in a compromise that satisfied both parties. How the book was spotted in Russia is another story worthy of a detective novel, Viktor Babariko joked.

Director of Belarus’ National Library Roman Motulsky said that with the Little Travel Book making part of Belgazprombank’s collection, Belarus has become the third biggest holder of Skaryna’s original legacy. The biggest number of Francysk Skaryna’s books are now held in Russia. All in all, there are 520 known original copies of Francysk Skaryna’s books worldwide.

Francysk Skaryna’s Little Travel Book to tour Europe in MayRoman Motulsky pointed out that the fact that The Little Travel Book is part of the corporate collection creates no difficulties for exhibiting it, and the visitors can see it freely. What is important is that the book is now the property of Belarus, he stressed.

The international exhibition will be augmented with Francysk Skaryna’s Book of Job printed in Prague in 1517 from the holdings of the National Library. The books will be displayed as part of the exhibition Francysk Skaryna and His Epoch at the Belarus’ National Library.

As the project will travel Europe, the host countries will be adding exhibits from their own collections to it. For instance, the Czech Republic will showcase two books by Francysk Skaryna. The international project will be completed with conferences, lectures and meetings.

Visitors to the exhibition will be invited to visit Francysk Skaryna’s virtual workshop. Besides, the documentary Along Skaryna’s Roads will be screened with subtitles as part of the exhibition.


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