- І.І. Каліноўскі, "Тэхналагічная карта (Метадычная распрацоўка) і кантрольны тэкст агляднай экскурсіі па г. Полацку на тэму "Полацк – найстаржытнейшы горад Беларусі""
- У. А. Арлоў, "Таямніцы Полацкай гісторыі"
second half of VIII - second half of IX cent.
translation by the site team
The ancient hillfort was founded by the Balts - the ancestors of the modern Latvians and Lithuanians. The hill and the area of the settlement have survived till nowadays. That is the place where Polatsk was founded by the Kryviches in the 8th cent. - from the former Baltic settlement. Polatsk appeared as the trade-handicraft center of the Kryviches-polatsk citizens- and as the local government residence. Such a status ensured the city development during the IX-X th cent.
In chronicles Polatsk is called Polotesk, Poltesk, Scandinavian Sagas rendered that name as Palteskjuborg, Palteskija. This city was destined to become the cradle of Belarusian statehood, culture and spirit, the historical homeplace of the Belarusians.
Unfortunately, the Polatsk Chronicles are keeping silence, they are gone, the amount of sources about Polatsk region is small from Russian chronicles. Quite a lot Polatsk is mentioned in Scandinavian Sagas.
In the burial mounds around Polatsk wide ornamented and in the shape of animal heads bracelets have been found which were inherent to ancient Baltic culture. Also typical Latgalian decorations were found near the Dzmitrywschchyna village.
The contacts of the authentic and new inhabitants of the Dzvina areas were not always peaceful. The Balts and the Slavs differed in many aspects but the strong relating aspect was the common pagan world outlook. It is because of this outlook that those two managed to coexist together and in the end at the beginning of the II nd millenium AD to form the new ethnic community.
Historians still have arguments about the Belarusian origin: the Slavs' with a strong part of Balts' essence or "slavicized" Balts. But in both cases the nowadays Latvians and Lithuanians are to Belarusians - brothers by birth. The evidences for this are the common stories in songs and legends, ornaments, traditional dishes, work tools, wimples and aprons in ethnic clothing. The authentic holiday of the summer solstice has survived only in Belarus (Kupalle) and Latvia (Ligo).
second half of X cent.
For many people the state begins with the city. Ancient Polatsk was the city center for the nobility surrounded with wooden walls and a moat and unfortified area around it where craftsmen lived. They settled close to the center and a bit farther at the place where there is the stadium today. The population of Polatsk was 5000 citizens — a little bit less than in Kyiv and Novgorod but more than in any other east-slavonic city. Chronicles name Polatsk one of the cities where the rulers,were the Princes who admitted the superiority of the Kyiv Prince Aleg. Meanwhile the power of Kyiv was not stable all the time and the city of our ancestors strove to be independent. Good conditions for that were provided by a very convenient geographical position being on the ways that connected the Arab Caliphate, Khazaria with Scandinavian and Slavic territories. Common natural conditions (hence, the way of life), ethnic peculiarities of local people who shared the Balts' and the Slavs' essence contributed to the union of the Dzvina areas.
In the second half of the 10th cent. Polatsk was ruled by Prince Ragvalod independently from both Kyiv and Novgorod. It was in that time when the future Belarusian state started to exist — the Principality of Polatsk.
Only the one who married Ragvalod's daughter Ragneda could count on the union with this state. The sounds of the wedding with the songs of the gusli-players could have been heard over the Palata river. But history decided in a different way, there was no wine shedding, but blood...
second half of X - second half of XI cent.
Iziaslau — the son of Ragneda and Uladzimir practically continued the dinasty of the local Polatsk princes who later named themselves the Iziaslaviches. Iziaslau is known in history as an educated person and an enlightner. He started to collect books for the library in St. Sophia's Cathedral. The Episcopal seat in Polatsk appeared in 992. Iziaslau died in 1001 and his son Brachyslau who ruled in Polatsk since 1001 till 1044 managed to strengthen his principality. Brachyslau enlarged the territory of the principality and Polatsk announced its independence again and made its positions even stronger on the considerable part of the trading route that went along the Western Dzvina.
Let's go back to the events of the end of the 10th cent. when the Polatsk hillfort was ruined. Modern Polatsk historians think that after the distruction it didn't stop to exist. Life was going on there till the end of the13th - the beginning of the 14th cent. Lots of things found during the excavations prove that the prince with his warriors, nobility, craftsmen continued to live on the hillfort. After the 13th cent. the status of the hillfort changed. Later the cemetery was there and nowadays there are a lot of private houses here that prevent this place to become the target for excursions.
But we must remember that the beginning of Polatsk is here, that on the hillfort there was the court of the Iziaslaviches, Ragvalod's grandsons. Together with the nobility, famous Polatsk-citizens there lived glorious Prince Usiaslau Brachyslavich and his outstanding descendants.