Orsha (ôr`shə), city (1989 pop. 123,128), NE Belarus, a port at the confluence of the Dnieper and Orshitsa rivers. One of Belarus's leading rail and water transport junctions and industrial centers, Orsha is the starting point of shipping on the Dnieper.
In 1555, Mikołaj "the Black" Radziwiłł founded a Calvinist (Protestant) order in Orsha, one of the first in the Belarusian lands. From the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries Orsha was a notable religious centre, with dozens of Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic churches and orders. The town was also home to a large Jewish population.