The tree lakes 20 km from Grodno.
To be honest – I don’t know how to get there, but if you ask in Grodno. I’m sure people know which road you have to drive. The direction is north-east.
You don’t have to miss swimming in clean water. For years people from Grodno go here to have a fresh swim or to catch fish. At the same time you can have a look at the country-side.
You can have an outdoor picnic with fire in our forests. It`s a really popular thing to do: spend a day in the wild and fry some meat (usually pork). The way we cook it is called 'shashlik' and everybody loves it. Usually alhocol is involved too.
The way you prepare shashlik:
Marinate small pieces of pork and onion rings for 1-2 days in the vinegar (or yogurt or ketchup.. whatever you like) - the meat will be SO! tender and juicy after.. When the fire is not so hot, you pierce the meat piece by piece with shampoors (basically it`s just metal or wooden sticks), put it above the fire and fry until ready. Mmmmm.. delicious.
On the picture my dad is using mangal (a metal box where he puts hot ashes) - it`s cleaner and faster way to cook the meat.
We recently have a large Russian/English Hrodna map, located on the wall of a downtown building, next to the Hrodna theater.
You can find basically any building there and, most importantly, read it in English.
If you need to purchase some meds and it is past 9pm, you can do so at Hrodna night pharmacy located on the opposite side from the rail-way station, not far from the Zoo.
Pharmacy hours: 9pm - 8am.
Next to it there is a day pharmacy which opens as soon as the night one closes down and vice versa.
There is a legend about Zirovichi icon:
In 1470( in what was called later Hrodna district) a few farm boys saw a bright light surrounding pear tree at the bottom of the hill. They approached and saw a small icon of Virgin Mary. Boys took the icon and brought it to their master - nobleman Soltan was his name.
Soltan could not care less, did not believe the story and put the icon in one of his chests. Next day he had some guests over for dinner and decided to show the icon. Well, to his big surprise, the icon disappeared.
Few days passed by, same farm boys saw the icon again, on the very same place - the pear tree. They brought it to their master again, who then realized it was special and made an oath to build a church for it.
So, the wooden church was built and people were gathering from all over the places to pray in front of the icon and receive the blessing as well as the cure for their illnesses of which they had many. A village was built around the church..
In 1520 however there was a great fire which burnt down to ashes the church and the icon in it. People were very upset but some time later few children saw the image of Mary sitting on the stone. Kids run to the village and told adults about it. Peasants took a local priest and went there to look. What they saw, was the icon next to the burning candle.
The icon was back, so villagers built another church for it - a Monastery made of stone. That`s the place where the icon is till present day, available for public to see and kiss the glass behind which she is sitting.
It`s very small, you can bearly see anything, BUT if you are a spiritual person and do believe in miracles, come and see. May be the icon will perform a miracle for you.
You can also go and fill your bottles with holy water from underground spring which, people say, cures illnesses. You can also go into the water to clean yourself - it`s few yards away from the spring itself.
Women MUST wear head scarfs and skirts.
LOCATION: Slonim area, Hrodna dictrict.
Here is just a suggestion for you, guys/gals, who is planning on going to Belarus:
Staying for a night or two at the farm estate and enjoying quiet village life (don`t worry, with modern facilities like shower, etc), fishing, trying our tasty cuisine, visiting some historical sites nearby...
We have approximately 65 farm houses around Belarus, but farm 'Veres' near Hrodna (~180km from Minsk) is said to be the best.
You`ll also be within half hour drive from Zirovichy monastery, famous for its icon of Virgin Mary and healing waters (to read more about this monastery: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/b1a10/53b7c/6/ ).
Costs are $15 per night per person.
The oldest Belarussian pharmacy was founded in 1678 and built in 1709. It has been and is active till today plus has a free museum too.