Our small town Talka is situated in the centre of Belarus on the left bank of the river of Tal’. It’s surrounded by forests and marshes, by soils of bad harvest. People, who live there, are hard-working and quiet.
Our settlement was founded as a Hebrew town near 1830, when after the insurrection of 1830-1831 the tsarist government took these lands from the abbey of Sarafin to punish monks who have taken part in the revolt, and settle the Hebrews here. Other villages near Talka are much older, they are mentioned in manuscripts of XVI century.
Along the rivers of Tal and Svislach there are many archeological monuments — places of ancient towns and villages, burial mounds.
Talka rapidly grew up after laying the railway through the town in 1873, but after the tragedies of XX century, especially after the Second World War when the most of population of Talka — the Hebrews — was killed by Nazis. Today Talka is an administrative center of 17 villages with the population less than 900 people.
Nature of our land is beautiful and not yet damaged by industrial development. People from Minsk and other cities come here for mushrooms and berries, for fishing and swimming, and also to see our legendary lakes and oaks, described in poems of our great poet Yakub Kolas, and to listen to folk stories about the origins of these places — Boiling spring of healing water, Devil’s lake of incredible depth where the folk tradition forbids to swim and fish.
Our land has a rich religious history, it was the home of 3 confessions — Orthodox, Catholic and Jews, and each has its temples. Unfortunately all of them were demolished in the years of atheism. In the place of the Orthodox Church of Bluzha we can see only a tree and a reconstructed cross, the Church of Mantsavichy escaped destruction, but now it goes to ruin because the village dies. Catholics of our land gather for a mass on the top of the Sarafin mount where in XVIII c. an abbey and a Catholic church were founded, but destroyed by bolsheviks in 1939. The only thing remained is the old cemetery where the crowded feast is held every year the 13 of June. The synagogue of Talka disappeared after the Holocaust.
But the situation is not so desperate, in the beginning of XXI an Orthodox church was created in our town. Villagers collected money and bought themselves back a deserted building in Talka.
Our land gave birth or roof for many well-known people: musicians and actors, poets and philologists. In the school of Talka a local history and tradition circle works for many years. A school museum of the history of Talka was created by our pupils and teachers. Every year we organize a traditional holiday and music festival where come bards, poets, folk bands from different regions of Belarus.
Many interesting facts about the history of Talka and its inhabitants could give us the names of villages and places of nature, some of which are mentioned in the historic documents of the XVI c. The study of these names is necessary for the comprehension of the ancient history of our land, because Talka didn’t exist in the years of Great Duchy of the Lithuania, while Areshkavichy, Sutsin, Matsevichy and Bluzha already were big settlements.
The oldest village of our land is Areshkavichy, famous from the XVI c. for its beavers and honey.
Sutsin isn’t a village, but an aristocratic settlement. Small gentry lived here, that fell under the influence of polish culture and began to consider themselves as the Poles. Sutsin’s gentry took an active part into the resurrection of 1863 and as a result about 200 people were exiled to Siberia. It was the biggest exile from one village in Belarus.
There are no more children in the today’s Matsevichy, though in the XVII-XVIII centuries this village was the most developed in the region and played the important role as a spiritual and cultural centre of these lands. Now, only the estate of Julian Bulhak and a chapel remain there, but they are going to ruins.
Bluzha is famous for its orthodox church, where was created the first school of our region.
The future of our lands
The future of our lands will be wonderful because in Talka there is a splendid nature, the railway, and the most important — young people who love their native land and want to live here. We think that our region will revive due to the development of a recreational area here and the tourism, especially due to creation of estates for rural tourism. It will give an impulse to the development of service industries : restaurants, bars, hairdressing salons, campings, Internet clubs, stables, boathouses, farms and bakeries, market of ecological products etc.
We’ll stop the intensive deforestation and we’ll cancel the trade of timber for the benefit of furniture making. Many well-paid work places will be created in Talka and many young families from Minsk and Marjina Horka will come here and found reconstructed houses, all modern conveniences and a dense traffic between villages of our region.
And then, the number of children in Talka’s school will grow up every year. The Catholics will revive the Church of St Antonio in Sarafin and the Orthodox — the Church of Bluzha. And having heard about the incredible prosperity of Talka, the Jews will come back.
And the Belarusian language and Belarusian culture will bloom everywhere. And all the work and all the rest will be based on Belarusian traditions and world technologies.
And the authorities will not forbid the music festival of Talka, but they will come themselves and will sing our religious hymn, the Powerful God, they will dance a medieval dance and play a folk game…
Our Talka will be spiritual, hard-working, free, beautiful, rich, Belarusian — a real Europe. European tradition, interrupted in XVIII c., will be renewed.