Belarus: Grodno

Grodno aka Hrodna is the capital of one of the six Belarusian regions and one of the oldest cities in the country, founded in 1005. It was a major town during the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania when a castle was built up on the hill, and a town full of churches grew around. Today, it’s a beautiful city full of architectural sites, old and new. Kalozha Church dates back to 1184, while the magnificent blue and white Jesuit Cathedral is from 18th century. There are several other catholic churches and a big historic synagogue (Grodno was 60% Jewish before WWII when absolutely every single person was sent to Aushwitz and Treblinka and exterminated). Several modern buildings are also quite spectacular – like the futuristic drama theater.