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About Slonim District

Slonim was founded in the 11th century in a picturesque place where the river Issa flows into the river Shchara. This is one of the most ancient and beautiful towns of Belarus. Located in a quite wide river-valley Slonim incites admiration by its unique combination of the old and modern. The Slonim region is located in the south of Grodno oblast. The region was founded on January 15, 1940 as part of Baranovichi oblast. On February 8, 1954 it became part of Grodno oblast. Its area is 1,500 square meters. As of January 2006, there were 72,000 people living in the region (of them 51,400 in the town of Slonim). There are 148 settlements and 12 rural councils. The western part of the region lies within the Slonim upland, the northeast – at the outskirts of Novogrudok upland, northern - in Nioman lowland, eastern and southern – in Baranovichi flatland.

Mineral Resources: peat, chalk, sand, clay, sapropel.

Rivers: Shchara, Grivda, Bereza, Issa, Zelvyanka.

Forests occupy 34.8% of the territory of the region. The largest woods are conifer and spruce forests, birth and oak groves. There is a botanical reserve of wild medicinal plants, two landscape geomorphologic reserves, and 13 natural monuments.

Farmland occupies about 51.3% of the region. The region specializes in meat and milk industry, flax growing, poultry cultivation, grain, fodder and potato farming. There are four agricultural companies, ten cooperative societies, a farm and a battery farm in the region.

The description of the district

Slonim district was initially founded in 1940 as part of Baranovichi region, and became part of Grodno region in 1954.

It is located in the southern part of our region and borders on Zelva and Dyatlovo districts of Grodno region in the west and north, on Baranovichi, Ivatsevichi and Pruzhany districts of Brest region in the east and south. The western part of the district is located within the boundaries of the Slonim Upland, the northeastern part - on the outskirts of the Novogrudok Upland, the northern part - in the Neman Lowland, the eastern and southern parts - on the Baranovichsky Plain.

The average district’s altitude is 180-200 meters above sea level. The highest point (223 meters) is situated in the north-eastern part. 

Minerals: peat, chalk, sand-gravel materials, clay for deep ceramics, building sand and sapropel.

The Shchara River flows through the territory of the district and has the following tributaries: theGrivda, the Bereza, the Issa, the Zelvyanka.

About 35% of the territory is covered by coniferous, birch, spruce and oak forests.

The administrative centre of the district is Slonim. The district includes 147 settlements and 10 village Soviets(councils). The population is 67.1 thousand people, including 48.8 thousand in Slonim  (01.01.2011).

The district occupies an area of 1.5 thousand square kilometers. It is situated at the crossroads of the most important motorways and railways: Moscow-Minsk-Baranovichi-Brest, Baranovichi-Grodno, Minsk-Baranovichi-Grodno. The distance from Slonim to Minsk is 203 km, to Brest - 194 km, to Grodno - 142 km, to Moscow - 999 km.

History

According to archaeological data, a fortified settlement in the centre of modern Slonim already existed in the first half of the eleventh century. The name of the city was mentioned in the Ipatiev Chronicle in 1252 as Uslonim, Vaslonim (from the East Slavic "uslon", which means a barrier, an outpost).

At the end of the 13th century, the city finally became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and in 1531 received the Magdeburg Law. At the beginning of the 15th century Slonimwas  a significant military fortification. It's not a coincidence that the Slonim gonfalon (regiment) took part in the Battle of Grunwald, which resulted in the crushing defeat of the Crusaders.

In the XV-XVI centuries, the city belonged to several large feudal lords, since 1586 it belonged to the Lithuanian Chancellor Lev Sapieha, after him - the sub-chancellor Lithuanian Kazimir Lev Sapega, the tycoons Oginsky.

In 1591, Sigmund II Vasa gave Slonim the Coat of Arms: a golden lion with a double silver cross on a blue field.

The heyday of Slonim in the second half of the 18th century is connected with the activities of the great hetman of Lithuanian Michal KazimirOginsky (1728-1800).

He built several factories In Slonimand was the primary initiator and investor of constructing   a canal (1763-1783), which connected the tributary of the Pripyat  — the Yaselda with the Shchara. He also aligned the Shchara's branch within the city’s boundaries. The name of Oginsky is associated with the activities of the court theater, established around 1770. Professional Italian and Polish opera and dramatic actors, artists, serf chorus and ballet worked there. The Slonim Orchestra (Chapel) enjoyed wide popularity. It was one of the largest court orchestras in Europe of that time both in terms of performers number (53 people) and the availability of musical instruments.

In 1795 Slonim became part of Russia, whereupon it was a provincial town within a year.  Since 1801 Slonim has been Grodno province's county centre.

In 1880, the road Baranovichi – Warsaw passed through Slonim. In 1886 - the railway line Baranovichi – Bialystok was opened and the railway station started to function.

A significant role in the city's industry development in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was played by large land owners, the Puslovskie earls, who opened a copper, carpet, sawmill manufactories and the Albertine cloth factory in the suburbs of the town (Albertin).

In the first half of 1915, Slonim became a front-line city, and on January 14, 1919 was liberated from the Kaiser troops by the Red Army.

According to the peace treaty signed in Riga on March 18, 1921, Slonim alongside with other towns and regions of Western Belorussia became part of Poland. But on September 18, 1939 the town met the soldiers of the Red Army.

The fearsome years of the Great Patriotic War became the most severe test for the town dwellers. Slonim region suffered huge losses - 44 418 people were killed during the war years, the ashes of 5 223 soldiers and 108 partisans rest in peace in different parts of Slonim land. More than 10 thousand people were shot on Petralevichi hill, 30 thousand on the Chepelev fields, 2 thousand - in the Morgi tract. On July 10, 1944, Soviet troops liberated the city from the Nazi invaders.