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Vitebsk
Viciebsk collage.jpg
Flag of Vitebsk
Flag
Coat of arms of Vitebsk
Coat of arms
Country
Subdivision
Belarus
Vitebsk
Founded 947
Population
 (2004)
 • Total 342,381
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)
Area code(s) +375-21
License plate 2
Website www.vitebsk.by

Vitebsk, also known as Viciebsk or Vitsyebsk is a city in Belarus, near the border with Russia. It is the capital of the Vitebsk Oblast. In 2004 it had 342,381 people. This makes it the country's fourth largest city. It is served by Vitebsk Vostochny Airport and Vitebsk air base.

The main universities of Vitebsk are Vitebsk State Technological University, Vitebsk State Medical University and Vitebsk State University named in honor of Pyotr Masherov.

In 1919, Vitebsk was made a part of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia. Then it was transferred to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and later to the short-lived Litbel. In 1924, it was returned to Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.

History

According to a legend, the city was founded by the Kyiv princess Olga in 974. The first mention of Vitebsk is dated 1021 AD, where it is said that Yaroslav the Wise handed over two cities ("Vosvyach and Vidbesk") to Prince Bryachislav Izyaslavych.

In 1165-1167, due to feudal strife, the Vitebsk principality gradually began to lose importance and fell under the rule of the Smolensk princes.

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