Europe: Processed stones / Zbruch Idol

PHOTO: Smilodon 4913'51.80" 2611'5.14"

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The Zbruch Idol is a 9th century sculpture, and one of the rarest monuments of pre-Christian Slavic beliefs. The pillar is commonly associated with the Slavic deity Svantevit, although opinions on the exact meaning of all the bas-reliefs and their symbols differ. Some argue that the three tiers of bas-reliefs represent the three levels of the world, from the bottom underworld, to the middle mortal world and the uppermost, largest, world of heavenly gods. It is believed that the sculpture was disposed of in a pit some time after the baptism of Kievan Rus, like the idols in Kiev and Novgorod. In 19th century, when the Zbruch River (Dniester's tributary) changed its bed, the area where the pillar was buried became submerged. It was discovered during a drought near the village called Liczkowce under Polish rule, now Lychkivtsi, Ukraine, just north of Husiatyn in 1848. The statue is now on display in the Archaeological Museum in Kraków, Poland, with exact copies located in a number of museums, including the State Historical Museum in Moscow.