Because the city is located near the border of Poland and Lithuania, it has one of the largest concentrations of Catholics in Belarus.
Founded at the end of the 11th century by Rus princes, in 12th and 13th centuries capital of a principality, in 1240 destroyed by Mongols. In 1376 it became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1441 the city received its charter. After the Union of Lublin in 1569 the city became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in which it remained until taken over by Russia in 1795 in the Third Partition of Poland. In the Russian Empire it was the capital of a guberniya. In the years 1919-1939 the city again belonged to Poland, where it was a county (powiat) capital. In the course of the Soviet invasion of Poland initiated on September 17, 1939 there was heavy fighing in the city between Soviet and defending Polish forces. The city was under Soviet occupation between September 1939 and June 1941. It was then captured by German forces in June 1941 in the course of Operation Barbarossa and was in German hands until July 1944. During the German occupation the Jewish community of the city was exterminated. In the years 1945-1991 the city belonged to the Soviet Union (formally to Byelorussian SSR). After 1991 it belongs to independent Belarus.
Coat of Arms (http://txt.knihi.com/hierb/horad.gif)
Photos on Radzima.org (http://radzima.org/pub/miesta.php?miesta_id1=hrhrhora)
Hrodna online - regional info portal (http://www.hrodna.by/html/index.shtml)
Categories: Belarus-related stubs | Towns in Belarus
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