Belarus city of Grodno - Cities of the World - Hrodna (Belarus)
Grodno or Hrodna is a city in Belarus. It is located on the Neman River, close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania (about 20 km and 30 km away respectively). It has 327,540 inhabitants (2009 census). It is the capital of Grodno Region (voblast) and Grodno raion (district).
The modern city of Grodno originated as a small fortress and a fortified trading outpost maintained by the Rurikid princes on the border with the lands of the Baltic tribal union Yotvingians. Its name derives from the Old East Slavic verb gorodit', i.e., to enclose, to fence (see "grad" for details).
Mentioned in the Primary Chronicle under 1127 as Goroden' and located at a crossing of numerous trading routes, this Slavic settlement, possibly originating as far as the late 10th century, became the capital of a poorly attested but separate principality, ruled by Yaroslav the Wise's grandson and his descendants.
Along with Navahrudak, Hrodna was regarded as the main city on the far west of so-called Black Ruthenia, a border region that neighboured the original Lithuania. It was often attacked by various invaders, especially the Teutonic Knights. In the 1240-1250s the Grodno area, as well as the most of Black Ruthenia, was controlled by princes of Lithuanian origin (Mindaugas and others) to form the Baltic-Slavic state - Grand Duchy of Lithuania on these territories. After the Prussian uprisings a large population of Old Prussians moved to the region. The famous Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas was the prince of Grodno from 1376 to 1392, and he stayed there during his preparations for the Battle of Grunwald (1410). Since 1413, Grodno had been the administrative center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship.