|Belarus Cities - Mogilev Oblast|
The origin of this town, situated on the right hilly bank of the Dnieper, is shrouded in mysteries and legends. It is commonly supposed that Mahileu was founded in the year 1267, though it was first mentioned in authentic written sources of the late 14th century as a possession of Queen Jadwiga, the wife of Sigizmund I the Old, the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania. Between the twenties and thirties of the 16th century Mahileu was the largest town in the Belarusian Dnieper Land.
In 1561, Mahileu was granted the right of limited self-government, and in 1577 the sovereign of Rzeczpospolita Stephan Batory granted it the Magdeburg Right and a coat of arms with a dominant high stone tower against the blue background. By that time Mahileu caught up with metropolitan Vilnia in its economic development. Its merchants were trading with Poland, Czechia, the Baltic countries, Russia, etc. Between the 16th and 18th centuries Mahileu turned into a large center of the Belarusian Orthodoxy. Regardless of devastating wars in the middle of the 17th century and early 18th century the town had been steadily developing, and when annexed to Russia in 1772, it was turned into the capital of the Mahileu province and the center of all Roman Catholic parishes in the Russian Empire.
The historical center, established by the 18th century, caught the fancy of any traveller with the integrity of it appearance and exquisite outlines formed by numerous towers of defensive, cultic and civic buildings. The most important among the survived architectural monuments of the town are St. Nicholas Orthodox Convent and the expressive Baroque-style St. Nicholas Church with its frescos of the 17-18th centuries, and the former Carmelite Roman Catholic Church that currently serves as St. Stanislaus Archicathedral Catholic Church with its frescos of the second half of the 18th century. The latter stands out of the similar monuments of architecture in Belarus due to the fact that the entire scriptural cycle is represented there.
The face of the city is presented by the monuments of architecture of the 18th to 20th centuries and modern ensembles and complexes. The traits of the past and the present have been intertwined especially strikingly in one of the most beautiful streets of the city, Leninskaya Street, formerly Large Sadovaya Street. After restoration, the street became a visiting card of Mahileu, the favourite place of the Mahileu inhabitants and guests.
Every year, Mahileu becomes the centre of major international, such as the activities "Mahutny Bozha" ("Mighty God") Sacred Music Festival, "Golden Hit-Parade" Festival and the animation cinema festival.