Category Archives: Belarus

Belarus – Kamenets

Day of Belarusian Written Language in Kamenets

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Belarus – Nesvizh – Catholic Church

Nesvizh Palace is considered the country’s most beautiful palace by the people of Belarus. Its richly diverse architecture and attractive gardens make it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Belarus.

Nesvizh Palace is on the Nesvizh Estate, one of the oldest settlements and most famous places in Belarus. Nesvizh is in the Minsk region of Belarus, approximately 120km south-west of Minsk.

The estate and town was acquired by the Radziwil family in the middle of the 16th century, and they stayed there until 1939 when they were expelled by the invading Red Army.

The foundation stone of Nesvizh Palace was laid in 1584. It was rebuilt many times and as a consequence has features of manyarchitectural styles including: Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Classicism, Neo-gothic, Modernism.

In 1770 Nesvizh Palace was seized by Russian forces and the Lithuanian Archive removed and sent to Saint Petersburg where it remains to this day. Much of the artwork was distributed among Russian nobility.

In the late 19th century Nesvizh Palace was restored by the Radziwil family who also designed one of largest landscape gardens in Europe on the estate.

After World War 2 Nesvizh Palace was used as a Sanatorium and the gardens became neglected.

In 1994 the estate was designated the national historical and cultural reserve and in 2006 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

(www.belarus.by/en)

Belarus – Old Ruins

The Palace in Ruzhany

Różany began its life in the late 16th century as the site of Lew Sapieha’s castle. The Sapieha residence was destroyed in the course of the internecine strife in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania when it was attacked by Michał Serwacy Wiśniowiecki’s forces in 1700.

Różany was rebuilt as a grand Neoclassical residence in the 1770s by Aleksander Michał Sapieha. The architect was Jan Samuel Becker from Saxony. The palace was set in an English park. Apart from the palace, there were a theatre (1784-88), an orangery, and several other outbuildings. It was Becker who designed the local church (rebuilt in the 1850s).

By the time of King Stanisław II’s visit in 1784, work on the palace had been suspended. The Sapieha estates were nationalised in the aftermath of the November Uprising (1831). Three years later, the palace compound was leased to Ari Leib Pines to be used as a textile mill and weaving factory.

In 1914 the palace was accidentally set on fire by factory workers. The First World War and subsequent financial hardships prevented the building’s restoration until 1930. The partially restored palace was ruined in 15 years, a casualty of the Second World War. The ornate palace gate survives and has recently been repaired.

The Castle in Golshany

The castle ensemble was built in the 17th century as Pavel Stephan Sapega’s residence.

The castle looks much like the castle of Mir. The front view of the Castle of Golshany resembles some Dutch castles near Antwerp (the approximate spelling of those castles is Besenstehen and Klaidael). The interior of the Castle of Golshany featured numerous frescos, stained-glass windows, moulded fireplaces, floors paved with terracotta ceramic tiles. There was a labyrinth of stone cellars under the castle, which used to be jocularly called a stone flower of mannerism.

The Northern War and the Swedish troops had no mercy on one of Belarus’ most beautiful castles. However, the devastation was fully accomplished in 1880 when the last owner of the castle would opt to blow up the towers and the walls in order to use the bricks for building a tavern.

What has left of the ensemble is two corner towers, the north-east and the north-west parts of the palace.

The place gave the Belarusian literature classic Vladimir Korotkevich the inspiration to write a bestseller book ‘The Black Castle of Golshany’.

Belarus – Mir Castle


 

 

 

The construction of the castle began at the end of the 15th century, in the Gothic architecture style. Building of the castle was completed by Duke Ilinich in the early 16th century near village Mir (formerly of Minsk guberniya). Around 1568 the Mir Castle passed into the hands of Mikołaj Krzysztof “the Orphan” Radziwiłł, who finished building the castle in the Renaissance style. A three-storey palace was built along the eastern and northern walls of the castle. Plastered facades were decorated with limestone portals, plates, balconies and porches.
After being abandoned for nearly a century and suffering severe damage during the Napoleonic period, the castle was restored at the end of the 19th century. In 1813, after the death of Dominik Hieronim Radziwiłł, the castle passed into the hands of his daughter Stefania, who married Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. The castle later fell into the hands of their daughter Maria, who married Prince Chlodwig Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst. Their son, Maurice Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst sold the castle to Nikolai Sviatopolk-Mirski, of the Bialynia clan, in 1895. Nikolaj’s son Michail began to rebuild the castle according to the plans of architect Teodor Bursze. The Sviatopolk-Mirski family owned the castle up to 1939. During WWII, it came under the dominion of the Nazi occupying force and served as a ghetto for the local Jewish population prior to their liquidation.
Despite numerous destruction’s (the heaviest were during 1812 war) the Mir Castle survived till now; and at present it is being successfully restored. This monument is under UNESCO’s auspices.

Belarus – Minsk

 

Minsk is the capital and largest city in Belarus, situated on the Svislach and Niamiha rivers.

The earliest references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067), when it was a provincial city within the principality of Polotsk. In 1242, Minsk became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and it received its town privileges in 1499. From 1569, it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodship in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was annexed by Russia in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919–1991, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.

 

 

 

 

 

Belarus – Belavezhskaya Pushcha

 

Belavezhskaya Pushcha, is an ancient woodland straddling the border between Belarus and Poland, located 70 km (43 mi) north from Brest (BE). It is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest which once spread across the European Plain.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve lies in parts of the Brest voblast (Kamianiec and Pruzhany districts, BE) and Hrodna Voblast (Svislach district) in Belarus and on the Poland side near the town of Białowieża in the Podlaskie Voivodeship (62 km (39 mi) south-east of Białystok (PL) and 190 km (120 mi) north-east of Warsaw).
The border between the two countries runs through the forest and is closed for large animals and tourists for the time being. The forest is home to 800 wisent, the continent’s heaviest land animals. The security fence keeps the wisent herds physically and genetically separated.

Belarus – Brest Fortress-Hero – Memorial Complex

Brest Fortress was built in the 1830s-early 1840s at the meeting-point of the rivers Bug and Mukhavyets.

During construction, the entire town was relocated to a new position 2km away. St Nicolas Church was built in 1851-1876. Much of it was severely damaged during World War 2.

The site occupies more than four square km, although many of the outer defences were damaged or destroyed during the wars of the 20th century.

There is a citadel at the centre of the fortress, linked to three artificial island fortifications by bridgeheads:

  • Kobrin fortification (north-eastern side)
  • Terespol fortification (western island)
  • Volyn fortification (south-eastern island)

The fortress was captured by the German army in 1915 and after World War 1 remained within Polish territory. In 1930 it became infamous as a prison in Poland in the aftermath of the Brest Elections.

In 1939 Brest Fortress was assigned to the Soviet Union. It earned the title of Hero Fortress for the courage demonstrated by Soviet soldiers when they fought against the German army in 1941. Whilst the Nazis took the town of Brest – 90% of which was destroyed in the fighting – the two regiments garrisoned inside the fortress held out.

For the people of Belarus, Brest Fortress remains a famous symbol of the Soviet resistance during World war 2.