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“The Origins” by Gleb Kashtanov in Polatsk, Belarus

June 8, 2022
3 min read
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Gleb Kashtanov, a Belarusian artist, created a spectacularly symbolic mural “The Origins” in Polatsk, a place known as the center of the ancient Belarusian statehood. A symbol of a great sword growing into the soil was depicted on the front of a 9-storey building. This mural was set up within the project ”Traditions for the Future” supervised by Belarusbank and “Urban Myths”, a street-art team.

The artist came up with the idea of the mural during a dream. The composition was developed in collaboration with historians. A 10th century Viking sword is the key element of the picture; it is kept in the local museum. There is a unique stamping “VLFBERHT” made by a European craftsman. We can see it on the sword. This stamping testifies about the integration of local ancient nation into European economic processes. The historians helped to reconstruct the sword.

Curiously, the primary marking for the wall uses the quote from the ancient Chronicles where Polatsk was first mentioned (862 AD).


The authors say there are 3 basic components of the final composition:

A sword in the soil: symbolizes the beginning of the statehood and peaceful development.

A trade road river: symbolizes economic growth and prosperity of the ancient Belarusian statehood.

The Cathedral of The Holy Wisdom: symbolizes spiritual fundamentals. The Cathedral of The Holy Wisdom is a famous place in Polatsk. It was built in 1044 to 1066. It’s considered to be the oldest church in Belarus. Ancient Belarusians treated this church as a symbol of independence from other centers of the Ancient Rus.

However, it is important to single out the fourth component – Personalities! The sword has a three-dimensional display, it takes roots and blossoms. While looking at the roots of the tree you can see the faces of significant Belarusian personalities who сontributed to the History of Belarus. As we all know brave and adventurous personalities create History.

The monumental painting “The origins” is a part of the ambitious art-project named “Traditions for the Future”. The project “Traditions for the Future” is a series of motivating murals in Belarusian cities and towns. Every picture reflects the values of entrepreneurship and personal initiative through the prism of Belarusian legends and history. The project is being implemented by Belarusbank and the street-art team “Urban Myths”.

Take a look below for more photos of “The Origins”
Photos by: Kiryl Smalyakou, Gorod214

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