About Brest-Litovsk

They started to call our city Brest-Litovsk in 1569 when Poland and Lithuania were united in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After divisions of this great state in 1795 Brest-Litovsk was included into the Russian Empire and became a boundary city again. The boundaries of new areas obtained by Russia were continuously changing, but from 1801 to the beginning of the German occupation, they were administratively subordinated to Grodno. Since then Brest-Litovsk suffered from war more than once but time after time it was restored and built up again and again.

Even though the city suffered greatly from the both parties during the 1812 Napoleonís campaign, as early as in 1825 the population of the city amounted to 11 thousand people already. A renovation plan of both major area and suburbs surrounding the Mukhavets delta was developed. Architects designed new squares, modernization of streets, construction of quays on the perimeter of the central island. The city had good prospects for development, but …

Emperor Nicholas I did not consider Brest-Litovsk either a politically reliable city or a city of considerable cultural and historical heritage. The 1830-1831 Polish Revolt made the Emperor even more convinced that the local community educated in severe border city historical environment had not and would not feel servile devotion to its next governor. He decided to destroy Brest-Litovsk and start building a fortress in its place. This was how the ancient city ceased to exist, and a new one was started a few kilometers away to the east. The new Brest-Litovsk still remained a city of trade. No other place in the province had more guild merchants, and no other port had more ships or rafts loaded than the Mukhavets port. In late 1860, Warsaw — Moscow railway was built. However, construction/pulling down of any building in the city or its neighborhoods was subject to military engineering authorityís approval. To prevent closing the view and fire arc, buildings over two levels were prohibited. No high factory chimneys were permitted for fear of giving the enemy a reference point. Only after the new 1870 City Regulations were approved, a new city authority system was introduced in Brest, like in other cities of the Empire.

Time changed the look of Brest-Litovsk. New buildings were built from brick; rich townspeople could even afford some luxurious architectural extravagances. The most prominent public buildings were St. Simonís Cathedral, Brotherhood Church, Roman Catholic Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Boysí Grammar School, Ratnerís Shopping Mall, central railway station …

Brest-Litovsk very quickly was transforming into a beautiful well-to-do city but suddenly everything came to a standstill. World War I began. In August 1915, an order was issued not to defend the Fortress, to destroy buildings and bridges, and to move out people and property in three days. When Austrian-German troops entered the empty city, they found Brest-Litovsk completely ruined and smoking.

Later our city endured three years of German occupation, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, surges of Polish-Soviet War and, finally, the 1921 Riga Treaty that legitimated the Polish power in the vast area up to Negoreloye Station. That was a beginning of a new history of a new city — Brest-on-the-Bug.