|Tangible Heritage/Architectural Restoration
Supraśl is a town in the Polish region of Podlachia, about 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) northeast of Białystok. It is the seat of the Gmina of Supraśl. Its population is 4,526 (2004). It is locality of famous Supraśl Orthodox Monastery, which was founded in 1498 by the voivode of Nowogródek and the Marshall of the Great Duchy of Lithuania Aleksander Chodkiewicz and the Archbishop (Archepiscope) of Smolensk and Archimandrite of Slutsk Joseph Soltan. The Supraśl Lavra became an important site of Orthodox culture as a result of its large library and lively contacts with other important Orthodox sites such as the Kiev Lavra and Mount Athos.
In 1944, the retreating German army destroyed the Church of the Annunciation, along with all of its precious frescoes. The Communist government turned the monastery into an agricultural academy. After the collapse of the Communist government, the monastery was turned over to the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which immediately began the still ongoing conservation work and renovation of the monastery.
The Codex of Supraśl, the oldest Slavic literary work in Poland and one of the oldest of its kind in the world, is named after this monastery.