Lida (Лі́да, Ли́да, Lyda, Lida) is a city in western Belarus in Hrodna Voblast, situated 160 km west of Minsk. It is the fourteenth largest city in Belarus.
Name Lida derived from river's name Lidzeya, which origin associated with Lithuanian language appellative word Lyda - Lydimas, meaning to fuse, to cast (molten metal).
There are passing mentions of Lida in chronicles from 1180. Until the early 1300's the settlement at Lida was a wooden fortress
. In 1323, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas
built a brick fortress there. 1380 is generally considered the founding year of the city of Lida. The fortress with stood Crusader
attacks from Prussia
in 1392 and 1394 but it was burned to the ground in 1710. Following the death of Gediminas
, when Lithuania was divided into principalities, Lida became the capital of one of them, the seat of Algirdas
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Lida was in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
. In the second half of the 14th century, after the Christianization of Lithuania
the Catholic parish
was established in former pagan
lands and a Church was built by Jogaila
(ruins are still preserved). Subsequently in 15th century town became a centre of production by craftsmen and trade. Lida was connected with Vilnius
. At that time the town had a market square and four streets Wielenska
. In 1588 Lida became the seat of Lida District
in Vilnius Voivodeship
. Magdeburg Rights
were granted to the town in 1590 and confirmed in 1776 by the Polish Sejm
. By these rights Lida held two annual fairs of little import to the local economy. The population was between 2000 to 5000 people.
Jewish Community of Lida
first settled in Lida in the middle of the 16th century, and permission to construct a synagogue
was granted by King Stefan Batory
in 1579. The temple was decimated and rebuilt with the permission of King Ladislaus IV
in 1630. By 1817, the Jewish Community of Lida
numbered 567, nearly three-quarters of the total population of the city at the time. During the First World War
, the Germans
captured Lida, and both Jews and non-Jews were forced into labor. Soon after the German Occupation ceased in the winter of 1917, the Bolsheviks
entered the city and created a strong sense of the Revolution. In 1919, Polish
soldiers entered Lida and a pogrom
occurred, in which 39 Jews were slaughtered. Between the wars was a short period of economic growth for the Jewish community. All aspects of the community flourished, and at the time there were 12 fully-functioning synagogues. In 1931, the Jewish population grew to 6,335, and at the dawn of the Holocaust
refugees added to make it nearly 8,500. In the fall of 1939, the Red Army
moved in and annexed Lida to the Grodno District
, part of the Soviet Union
. Once again, the Jews were oppressed and all cultural aspects of the community were diminished and the Soviets imprisoned surrounding Jews in Lida. In June of 1941, the Germans severely damaged the city, and by December of that year, a ghetto
was created on the suburbs of Lida, in which several families ended up crowding into a single home. On May 7th, 1942
, the ghetto was sealed and on the 8th nearly 6,000 were taken to a military firing range, where they were shot and piled in ready-made grave pits. About 1,500 educated Jews remained in the ghetto, and the population was added to by incoming refugees. A few groups secretly escaped the city and hid in the forests until the city was liberated in 1944, but the rest of the community was murdered on September 18, 1943
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and imperial Russia
The 17th century was a difficult time in Lida. Caught by invading to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces of Russia and Sweden. A depression resulted, and people moved out of Lida. By 1786, 514 inhabitants were left in Lida. in 1795, Lida was annexed by the Russian Empire as a powiat centre of the Slonim Governorate (1795). Afterwards, Lida was a part of the Lithuania Governorate in 1797 and of Grodno Governorate since 1801.
The town was greatly destroyed during the French occupation in 1812. In 1817 the population was 1366 people. Since 1842 Lida was the "district" centre in Vilna Governorate. In 1863 and 1873, two beer factories were built in Lida. In 1884, the railway Vilnius-Lunenets was finished. In 1907, the railway Molodechno-Mosty opened. The 1897 population was 8626 people.
A two-year school opened. Then, a parish school with the department for girls opened as did a Jewish school. In 1899 a hospital opened which consisted of 25 beds. In 1901 cast-iron plant began to operate. In 1903 sawmill started its operation. At the end of 19th century and at the beginning of 20 century two brick plants were built. In 1904, there were 1000 houses of which 275 were brick, fourteen small enterprises, four hospitals with beds for 115 people, and six elementary schools for 700 pupils. In 1904, in near Minsk the Russian Social Democratic Party was formed. During the revolutions of 1905-07, the uprisings of the workers took place, complete with political slogans. In 1914, there were almost 40 factories.
After 1920 Moscow Treaty it belonged to Lithuania until it was captured and anexed by Poland.
In accordance with Riga Peace Treaty of 1921, it belonged to Poland as the powiat centre in Nowogródek Voivodship. In 1927, there were twenty-four factories in Lida. 1928 were years of rapid growth in the production. A new rubber good's factory started up, employing almost 800 people. Also, Lida was an important garrison of the Polish Army, with one infantry division and the 5th Corps of the Polish Air Force stationed there.
In 1939 Lida became part of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Beginning January 1940 Lida was the centre of Lida Raion, Baranavichy Voblast.
From June 1941 to July 1944, it was occupied by the German troops who slaughtered almost 25,149 people. On September 18, 1943, the Jewish Community of Lida was rounded up and taken to Majdanek, where they were murdered. A small number of about 200 Lida Jews survived the Holocaust. Beginning of September 1944, Lida was in Hrodna Voblast.
Monuments and attractions
Lida Castle was built by the order of The Grand Duke of the Great Lithuanian Principality Gedymin for protection against Crusader assaults. The stone foundations of the castle were laid in 1323. Parts of the trapezium-shaped fortress were added on up through the 15th century. In the mid-17th century, an army of 30,000 sent by Duke Nikita Khovansky of Moscow to destroy it, and in the North War (1700-1721), Swedes came and blew-up the castle's towers, therefore permanently diminishing its military purpose. It has since been restored and tourists come from all over to view its impressive crimson walls.
Church of St. Joseph in Lida
The Church of St. Joseph in Lida was built from 1794-1825. Built in the Late Classicism Style, the round stone church has an attractive dome and front. In 1842 it was burnt down due to a fire, but was soon rebuilt. Currently it is an Orthodox Church.
Catholic Church in Lida
The Catholic Church in Lida was given a new sanctuary in April of 2007. The refreshingly white interior complements the tan exterior.
Memorial to the Holocaust victims of Lida
Starting from the Spring of 2001, the Jewish Community of Belarus worked closely with the residents of Lida to erect a memorial commemorating the thousands of Lida Jews that perished in the Holocaust. In Autumn of 2003, an unveiling ceremony which involved 400 occurred. Now, visitors and residents alike can take a visit to this memorial, which properly honors all of those innocent victims of World War II.
- Winter temperatures: around 1 degree celsius
- Spring temperatures: around 10 degrees celsius
- Summer temperatures: around 17 degrees celsius
- Autumn temperatures: around 7 degrees celsius
- Stormy weather