Grodno (grôdˈnô) [key], Belarusian Horodno, city (1990 est. pop. 272,000), capital of Grodno region, NW Belarus, on the Neman River. A river port and an important railway center, it has industries producing fertilizer, synthetic fibers, processed foods, and tobacco. Dating back to the 10th cent., Grodno was the capital of an independent principality until 1398, when it was included in the grand duchy of Lithuania. It became the second capital of Lithuania and passed to Poland after the union of Lithuania with Poland in 1569 (see Lublin). In 1673 it became a seat of Polish diets, the last of which (1793) was forced to consent to the second partition of Poland. Grodno passed to Russia in 1795 and was the capital of Grodno province from 1801 to 1914. It was transferred to Poland in 1920 and was incorporated into the Belorussian Republic in 1939. Grodno has many historic buildings of great interest. Ruins of the ducal residence (12th cent.) are the oldest example of secular brick architecture in this part of Europe. Its medieval castle was restored in the 1930s. Other notable buildings include a 12th-century Orthodox Eastern church, the Stephen Báthory palace (16th cent.), and the Bernardine church (16th cent.). Stephen Báthory had his residence in Grodno, where he died in 1586, and Stanislaus II abdicated there in 1795.
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