RYEZHITSA, a town of Russia, in the government of Vitebsk, 150 m. N.W. from the town of Vitebsk and on the railway between St Petersburg and Warsaw. Its population increased from 7306 in 1867 to 10,681 in 1897; but its importance is mainly historical. The cathedral is a modern building (1846). Ryezhitsa, or, as it is called in the Livonian chronicles, Roziten, was founded in 1285 by the Teutonic Knights to keep in subjection the Lithuanians and Letts. The castle was continually the object of hostile attacks. In 1561 the Teutonic Knights gave it in pawn to Poland, and, though it was captured by the Russians in 1567 and 1577, and had its fortifications dismantled by the Swedes during the war of 1656-60, it continued Polish till 1773, when White Russia was united with the Russian empire.
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