Known primarily as the birthplace and home of Marc Chagall (who left for Paris in 1922), Vitebsk (pop. 347,000) retains little today that would be familiar to the artist. Originally a small village with wooden houses and a large number of Jewish residents, Vitebsk and its population suffered greatly during World War II. Only traces of the old town remain—most notably, the former governor's residence (which, incidentally, hosted Napoleon during his Russian campaign). 140 mi/225 km northeast of Minsk.

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