The historic city of Vitsebsk (known universally outside Belarus by its Russian name, Vitebsk) lies a short distance from the Russian border and almost 300km from Minsk. Vitsebsk was an important centre of Jewish culture when it was one of the major cities of the 'Pale of Settlement', where Jews were allowed to live in the Russian Empire.
The city was immortalised in the early work of Marc Chagall, the city's most famous son. He grew up and studied here before moving to St Petersburg, where his artistic career began to take off. Today it's an agreeable regional centre with pedestrianized vul Suvorova at its heart, along with several fine churches and museums, including the excellent Chagall Art Center.