The capital - Hrodna is the biggest city of the province. It lies on the Neman River. Hrodna is known from 1127, here on the right steepen river bank two castles of the 14th - 18th centuries are located. Many consider this city one of the most beautiful in Belarus: one of its masterpieces survived through the centuries, Orthodox St Barys & St Hleb (Kalozhskaya) Church dating back to the 12th century, is the second oldest in Belarus.
This region was a far west point of movement of the Early East Slavs (tribal union Dregovichs?) on the lands of the Balts in the 6th-9th centuries. In the 13th-14th centuries it was a centre of force of historical area known as Black Ruthenia, that with neighbouring original Duchy of Lithuania became a basis for Baltic-Slavic state - Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL). Being a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, amounting to the GDL's Trakai Voivodship and since 1793 already as Grodno Voivodship, it was annexed by Russian Empire in 1795, the city then became a seat for Grodno Governorate. During the World War I the area was occupied by Germany. When in the conditions of German occupation the Belarusian National Republic declared its independence from the Soviet Russia in March 1918 in Minsk, Hrodna was the last stand for the BNR's Council (Rada) forced to emigrate before the Soviet troops captured the region in 1919. Since 1921 under the Peace Treaty of Riga the territory belonged to Poland, but after the Soviets re-invaded here in autumn of 1939, it became a part of the USSR and since its default in 1991 - one of 6 provinces of independent Belarus.
The province covers an area of 25,000 km² and has a population of 1,146,100 (2004 estimate), giving a population density of 46/km². About 63.5% live in cities and towns, while 36.5% live in rural areas. Females account for 53% of the region's population and men 47%. There are about 310,000 children under 19, and about 240,000 people aged over 60.
Belarusians account for 62.3% of the population. The region is home to a significant minority population: Poles (24.8%), Russians (10%), Ukrainians (1.8%), Jews (0.4%), Tatars (0.2%), Lithuanians (0.2%), other nationalities (0.4%).
Whereas Belarus as a whole is primarily Russian Orthodox, Hrodna Voblast has two major religions, Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox. There are 449 religious communities and 18 denominations, 2 Russian Orthodox eparchial districts, 1 Orthodox nun sorority, 2 Catholic monk brotherhoods, 1 Catholic nun sorority, 2 Orthodox and 4 Catholic monasteries, 165 Orthodox and 169 Catholic churches. The Catholic minority is made up mostly of Poles, although the identifier "Pole" has also been historically applied to Catholic Belarusians.