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Trip Planner Europe  /  Belarus  /  Grodno Region  /  Slonim


Slonim is a city in Grodno Region, Belarus, capital of the Slonim district. It is located at the junction of the Shchara and Isa rivers, 143km southeast of Grodno. The population in 2015 was 49,739.Etymology and historical namesSlonim has been known by several versions of its name: Сло́нім, Słonim, Сло́ним . Slonim was first mentioned in chronicles in 1252 as Uslonim and in 1255 as Vslonim. According to one version, the name of the city originates from the Slavic word 'zaslona', meaning that the city used to be an outpost at the southern border of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Another version, proposed by Jazep Stabroŭski, states that Slonim is a derivative from 'Užslenimas' in the Lithuanian language simply means 'beyond the valley'.Some 19th century European historians also tried to connect the name 'Slonim' to the root word 'slon,' which means 'elephant' in Polish, Russian and Belarusian. However, this hypothesis has never been taken seriously.HistoryThe earliest record is of a wooden fort on the left bank of the Shchara river in the 11th century, although there may have been earlier settlement.The area was disputed between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kievan Rus' in early history and it changed hands several times. In 1040, the Kievans won control of the area after a battle but lost Slonim to the Lithuanians in 1103. The Ruthenians retook the area early in the 13th century but were expelled by a Tartar invasion in 1241 and the town was pillaged. When, later in the year, the Tartars withdrew, Slonim became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania once again.
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