Polotsk (or Polatsk) is a city in Belarus, in Vitebsk Oblast. First mentioned in 862, it is the oldest city in Belarus. Now it is a city of local importance with 82,000 inhabitants and with considerable architectural heritage from the times of old Rus as well as from the later periods.

Polotsk is one of the places that are considered the geographic centre of Europe.

Get in

By plane

Your only real choice from an international perspective is to fly to the capital of Minsk and then take the train or a bus. Unfortunately, only Belavia, the Belarusian national airline with a peculiarly Belarusian combination of high prices, poor service and bureaucratic procedures can bring you into this dictatorship directly.

EU citizens or those who don't have EU visa hassles may prefer to fly to Vilnius in Lithuania which is slightly closer, or even Riga in Latvia and then take the train. The trains don't run every day, so you'll need to double check timetables...

By train

Polotsk is one of the more important railway hubs with direct services from both Minsk and Vitebsk. The railway station is a bit to the north of the centre of town.

By bus

Although this is a tad more expensive, it's usually quicker too. No need to book in advance; just roll up and go.

As well as the larger inter-city style of coach, minibuses known as marshrutkas also take about 3 hours from Minsk, but you need to phone in advance to be sure of a seat.

The bus station is right next door to the train station.

By road

Belarusian drivers are technically poor, often drive drunk and the sons and daughters of officials can be surprisingly aggressive, belligerent scoff-laws.

From Minsk: M3 towards Vitebsk until just after Lepel, and then the R46 (Р46 in Cyrillic) to Polotsk.

Get around


Historical buildings

The Cathedral of Saint Sophia
Church of the Transfiguration inside the Saint Euphrosine monastery



Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.