The symbols of Great Berestovitsa

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 In 1754 King Augustus III gave Berestovitsa Magdeburg law. This privilege was given at the request of the owner of the town Jerzy August Mnishak. According to the new rules, the people of Great Berestovitsa had to use its own coat of arms and seal. In those days the local authorities edited and issued a large number of public documents. So it was necessary to use your own coat of arms and seal. The coat of arms and seal were representative symbols of the town. Therewith a seal as a kind of «heart» of the document had to fulfill also the function of the signature.Unfortunately, the original royal privileges have not survived to this day. But there is a document with the later copy of privilege in one of the archives of Grodno. On the first page you can see a quite clear imprint of the seal from the time of Magdeburg law in Berestovitsa. Printing has an oval shape (32 x 37 mm). In its center there is a field (shield), also in the form of an oval.

The main symbol of the coat of arms is a squirrel, turned to us left side, sitting on the ground on its back legs with tail tucked behind his back. The land (grass) under the squirrel is presented in the form of a conical tapered downward spiral. The figure of the animal frames cartouche with characteristic baroque ornament in the form of curls. On the top of cartouche there is a crown.

The edge of the seal surrounds inscription in Latin, which translated reads: «The seal of the town magistrate Vialikaya Berestovitsa». «ANNO: 1754».

The origin of squirrel in the emblem of Berestovitsa remains a mystery. Here we can only build their own hypotheses and conjectures. It should be noted that in design and appropriation of the coat of arms of the city could take three parties: a king who claimed the emblem of the town, the owner (Dziedzic) and residents of the settlement. But the final decision was made by Dziedzic, especially when it concerned  small towns and villages. By the way, squirrel symbolizes quickness, diligence, ingenuity, care and beauty, while the red color in heraldry means power, courage, efficiency, win and generosity.

The city seal was transferred to the newly elected burgomaster at a special meeting of the City Council. The burgomaster gave a solemn oath to be honest and faithful to the residents of the city and personally to the owner of the town (Dziedzic), who gave him the seal and the keys to the town hall.

Another symbol of the Magdeburg law town considered urban banner (flag). Of course, its own banner had Berestovitsa, on which has been applied coat of arms with the image of squirrel — the main symbol of the town.

Written and translated by Sergey Khiliuta after the text of Sergey Lushchik

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