Polotsk pô´lətsk [key], city (1989 pop. 76,837), W Belarus, on the Western Dvina River at its confluence with the Polota. It is a large rail junction and agricultural trade center. Manufactures include building materials, farm implements, processed foods, metal goods, and glass filaments. One of Russia's oldest cities, Polotsk was the capital of a principality of the same name from the 10th to 13th cent., when it passed to Lithuania. Polotsk became self-governing in 1498. A flourishing center for trade, first with Scandinavia, Novgorod, and Pskov and then (13th–16th cent.) with Riga, Polotsk was transferred to Russia in 1772. The city retains the Cathedral of Sofia (1044–66) and the Cathedral of the Spaso-Evfrosina monastery (12th cent.).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: CIS and Baltic Political Geography