In 1511 the city was granted the Magdeburg Code of Law.

Short Description/History

Nowogrodek was founded by the Kievan prince Jaroslaw Mudry (the Wise) in 1044, after his campaign against the Baltic tribe. At that time the Slavic inhabitants of the area were dominant among "islands" of Baltic tribes, including the heathen tribe of Litwa. The foundation of a Slavic city played therefore an important part in the further development of the area.

In the 11th - beginning of the 12th century the city was a bone of contention between Polacak and Kijow, this fact was illustrated by the campaigns undertaken by the Prince of Polacak in 1066 and by Gleb, Prince of Minsk, in 1119. In the second half of the 12th century Nowogrodek became ruled by the princes of Galicja-Wolynia. This territory is now in the present day Ukraine.

In the 1240's the town of Nowogrodek started fighting for its independence and tried to unite neighbouring territories under it's leadership.

The advantages of Nowogrodek's favourable geographical location made themselves felt in the mid-13th century, when other Eastern Slavic territories were plagued by two great misfortunes.

The Eastern and Southern principalities were seized and plundered by the Mongols and Tartars.

The Northern principalities, were threatened by the Teutonic Order. Nowogrodek managed to escape all of this, its strength was therefore not undermined, but enhanced by the influx of refugees from the other territories. It grew. It was this area which is now part of Belarus, and at that time it was called Czarna Rus (Black Rus) with its capital Nowogrodek, that became the cradle of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which for the time being became a new and powerful state in Eastern Europe.

As soon as Nowogrodek had managed to gain its independence from the princes of Galicja-Wolynia it strove to expand its power to other Belarusan territories. However, one of the main obstacles on this way was Litwa, an island of Baltic population amongst Slavic tribes. The first challenge and test for Nowogrodek was therefore to conquer Litwa. In order to achieve this aim, the nobles of Nowogrodek invited Mindouh, who had been evicted out of Litwa, to be their prince. After the conquest of Litwa, the Slavic principality of Nowogrodek, adopted the name of the conquered Baltic territory and the new state was called the Great Duchy of Lithuania. But this provoked another war between Nowogrodek and the princes of Galicja-Wolynia who also laid claim to a dominant position in Eastern Europe. Nowogrodek changed hands several times, until, in 1258 it was regained by Mindouh's son Vojsalk.

The next prince of Nowogrodek, Trajdzien, was of Slavic stock. He expanded the principality to the West so that it comprised Horadzien (currently Grodno/Hrodna) and the Polesie region. Thus he aroused the anger of the princes of Galicja-Wolynia, who with the help of a Tartar army attacked and ravaged Nowogrodek  this happened twice once in 1274 and then again in 1277. From that time onwards Nowogrodek gradually lost much of its power, as its strength was undermined by frequent conflicts and attacks from the South.

Additional information on Nowogrodek

The first archeological site in Nowogrodek dates settlement in the tenth century. In 1227, Duke Isyaslav governed the city. In the second half of the thirteenth century, Nowogrodek was capital of the Great Litwa Duchy. The Grand Duke Mindoig was named the King that year. In 1268, Turck occupied the place. In 1278, the Tatars occupied and destroyed the city. In 1314, Nowogrodek saw a huge battle that killed the best knights of the city. The real defense of the city came from the governor Duke Vitaita. In 1323, Nowogrodek became the part of Wilno area. In 1415, the Moscow Metropolit the Grand blessed the first Orthodox church; and Duke of Lita Grigory Tzymvlak was crowned. At the end of the fifteenth century, Nowogrodek had eight Orthodox churches and two monasteries. Again in 1505, the Tatars burned a huge part of the city. To rebuild the city, the population paid the following taxes in 1551:


Nowogrodek - 60 kopecks per person


Gorodok - 51 kopecks per person


Minsk - 50 kopecks per person


Byaretz, Witebsk, Polatzk - 100 kopecks per person

On the 26th of June 1511, The Old Zygmunt gave the city independent power that was reaffirmed on 22 February 1562 and 13 May 1570 by August Zygmunt III. Zygmunt III introduced the State insignia with the image of an Archangel. On 16 October 1584, King Stefan Batory decreed that all people living in Nowogrodek were subject to local authority. This Law concerned even the purchasing of houses. From the year 1581 until 1775, parliament meetings took place under the supervision of the Grand Duchy of Litwa. On 5 January 1614, the King Stefan put the management of the streets Kowalski, Dubatuiski, Bolczitzki and Belitzkoi at middle-class disposal. In 1624, the first Catholic church was opened. From 1654-1660, Russian Army of Tzar Alekcey Mikhailovich guarded Nowogrodek.

In the mid seventeenth century, an epidemic occurred.

A fire in 1751 completely devastated the city. At the end of the eighteenth century, the population was 3000 people.

Towns political governance in the next two centuries was.


1795 - part of Russia with the centre of Slonim


1797 - part of Litwa


1801 - part of Grodzenska Gubernia


1842 - part of Minsk Gubernia

The 1866 population was more than 6,500. At the same time the following enterprises were opened, four beer producers, two brick factories, one wine producer and one photography laboratory. At the end of the nineteenth century, the population was 8,000.

Following Governing shifts resulted during World War I


Spring 1915 - German Army


Winter 1918 - Soviet government


Autumn 1919 - Polish Army


19 June 1920 - Red Army

As a result of Riga Agreement in 1920, Nowogrodek became a part of Poland until 1939. In 1939 after the Soviet invasion Nowogrodek became part of the Belorussian Soviet Republic with a population of approximately 14,000. Today, Nowogrodek is a regional centre of Grodzenskoy region.

Towns in the Nowogrodek area



This town was viewed by some as being part of Polesie District, but in reality lies north of Polesie. Before the partitions of 1772-1795 it was considered to be part of Biala Rus (White Rus) and in the 1921-1939 period it was the capital of the Polish Nowogrodek province

  Copyright 2003; Paul Havers