The Summer Amphitheatre
13A, Frunze Prospekt, Vitebsk
In 2013, the Summer Amphitheatre, known throughout the world as the main venue of the International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” and the symbol of Vitebsk, celebrated its quarter century jubilee.
The unique construction was built in the historical centre of the city in 1988. The construction project development was assigned to the “Vitebskgrazhdanproject” Institute (director Boris Glushkov, chief architect Alexander Belsky) which arranged a competition for architects to choose the best draft design of the Summer Amphitheatre. The team headed by the architect V.A. Babashkin won the competition. The Summer Amphitheatre was built within a record-breaking time. In 1988, the participants of the I All-Union Festival of the Polish Song delighted the audience from its stage. The seating capacity was 5400; the stage was 430 sq. m.
The outdoor concert venue gained a widespread popularity among singers very soon. At the first edition of “Slavianski Bazaar” festival the Summer Amphitheatre was made the main concert stage. The Amphitheatre hosted concerts of pop stars and opera singers, choirs and choreographic groups, jazz musicians and big bands, circus artists and ballet dancers, folklore ensembles. Celebrities of stage and screen always spoke highly of the acoustics of the Amphitheatre, its hi-tech stage, highly-qualified specialists and the hospitable Vitebsk audience.
At the end of 1999, the Summer Amphitheatre was modernized. The mid level was raised, the wooden benches were changed for the plastic chairs, another level was added in the artistic area with the art bar, and a suite for 15 people was built.
In 2001, another level was added above the make-up rooms and a new summer café in the artistic area was built.
In 2001, the X International Festival of Arts welcomed the Presidents of the three Slavonic countries. The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma addressed the audience of “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” festival.
In 2006, at the instruction of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, the modernization project of the main festival stage was developed to increase the seating capacity and mount a roof over the Summer Amphitheatre. Specialists from Vitebsk, Brest, Novopolotsk took part in the project development. The project head was N. Kosobuko, the project architect was A. Zafataev.
The reconstruction had been fulfilled by July 2007. The open-work metal construction, 120m long and 25m high, protected the audience hall from rain and bright sun. In the evenings and at nights the illuminated amphitheatre roof is a delight for the eye. The covering consists of eighteen thousand metal bars fixed by three thousand metal balls. The security of the roof is maintained by the solid foundations of the arch covering. Special material produced in Switzerland was used for roofing. The audience hall has 6247 seats; the stage of the concert hall is 472 sq. m.
The Summer Amphitheatre is equipped with high-end acoustic and lighting systems and two LED screens. The overall attention is attracted to the tower near the Amphitheatre. The contemporary construction is a reconstruction of the tower of the 14th century. It has five levels and hosts the exposition of the exhibition hall “Dukhovskoi Kruglik” devoted to the history of Vitebsk and the International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk”.
The surrounding territory has been improved and beautified. The stream behind the Amphitheatre was hidden in a concrete sluice, the banks were decorated with stone, the promenade paths were paved with asphalt, and arbors, benches and lanterns were placed.
In 2009, the lower terrace of the Amphitheatre hosted the opening of the Walk of Fame of the winners of the Special Prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko “Through Art to Peace and Mutual Understanding”.
In 2014, the construction of the underground passage connecting the Summer Amphitheatre and the trade and entertainment complex “Marko City” was finished.