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Grodno or Hrodna is a city in western Belarus. It is located on the Neman close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania (about 20 km (12 mi) and 30 km (19 mi) away respectively). It has 327,540 inhabitants (2009 census).

It is the capital of Grodno Region and Grodno District.

In Latin, the city was known as Grodna, in Polish as Grodno and the Lithuanian name of the city is Gardinas.

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 of the Yotvingians. The first reference to Grodno dates to 1005.

The official foundation year is 1127. At this year Grodno was mentioned in the Primary Chronicle 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, Grodno was regarded as the main city on the western borderlands of Black Ruthenia. The border region 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 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.


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