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Great Northern War in Belarus’ History

A memorial complex near the village of Lesnaya
A memorial complex near the village of Lesnaya

In the early 18th century the territory of Belarus was the battleground of one of the major European wars for the influence in the Baltic sea region that lasted for 21 years.

Belarus witnessed two crucial battles of the Great Northern War

King Charles XII of Sweden won his last major victory near the village of Golovchin, today Belynichi District, Mogilev Region, in July 1708.

Picture "The Battle of Lesnaya", Pierre-Denis MartinIn a few months on 28 September (9 October) the Russian army led by Emperor Peter I defeated the thousands-strong corps of General Lewenhaupt near the village of Lesnaya, today Slavgorod District, Mogilev Oblast. After that bloody battle Charles XII gave up the idea to march on Moscow and decided to advance further into the territory of Ukraine.

A memorial complex was built near the village of Lesnaya in the early 20th century to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the battle that Peter the Great called “the mother of the victory of Poltava”. The memorial has survived till the present time.

Chapel of Saints Peter and PaulIn the center of the memorial there is a chapel of Saints Peter and Paul built in the neo-Russian style to the project of architect Alexander von Hohen in 1908-1912. The multi-tiered stone building is crowned with a high tented roof and a dome. Its front facade is decorated with a mosaic featuring Holy Virgin Mary with her child.

The monument depicting an eagle above the Swedish colors by famous sculptor Artemy Ober symbolizes the victory of the Russian troops. The communal grave is marked by a commemorative obelisk.

Service in the chapel of Saints Peter and PaulToday the memorial complex features the Museum of the Battle of Lesnaya that showcases arms, coins, colors, copies of documents, and a mini-panorama of the battle. The Garden of Peace and Reconciliation was created to mark the 300th anniversary of the battle.

Anniversaries of the famous battle near the village of Lesnaya are usually celebrated with festive events.   

Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus