Away from Minsk to the South

We continue making day-trip guides. After exploring the territory to the north of Minsk we go the south and watch how the history comes to life in Senitsa, Dzyarzhynsk and Rubyazhevichy.


  Senitsa village


– This time we offer you to start the trip from Senitsa village which is situated south of Minsk. One should pull off the ring road in the direction of Slutsk to reach the place.

The name of the settlement which was already established in the 16th century is derived from the building where straw (bel. ‘sena’) was stored. It is believed that in 1582 the village was bought by Stefan Dostoyevskij (the ancestor of a famous Russian writer Fiodor Dostoyevskij).

In the beginning a wooden temple in Senitsa belonged to the union church. It was built in 1789 at the expense of the landlord Paulouski and was consecrated in honor of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

In 1940 the church was transferred to the Christians. It was rebuilt in stone in Retrospective-Russian style. The National School where Yanka Kupala, a famous Belarusian writer, was opened at the church.

In the 1930s the parish was dissolved and the temple was transferred to the collective farm Chyrvony Spetsyialist (eng. Red Specialist) and transformed into the club. A little later it came to be used as a warehouse for grain. During the war they restored the parish and began to hold services, which led to the church being closed again in the 1960s. The building was transformed into the warehouse for the Belarusian Television Company. But now the church is opened.





– The town got its name in 1932. Only the railway station has preserved the original name – Koidanava. Earlier the place was owned by the Hedyminavichs, the Vyareiskiya, the Hashtolds and even the Radzivils, but after the Revolt of 1830-1831 it became the property of the state.

Mikalai Radzivil nicknamed the Red was a prominent representative of the Reformation movement and a committed Calvinist, so that in Koidanava a Calvinist church was built where the castle once stood. There were also a school and a hospital.

Koidanava became one of the biggest Calvinist centers in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Now one can look at a commemorative plaque near the Hashtold Mountain that is called a mound.

Besides, we advise you to visit the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin built in 1851. St. Hanna’s Church has survived too; it was built in the second half of the 18th century in the place where another Catholic church once stood. During the Soviet era a musical school was working here.



 Baravoye village


On the way to Rubyazhevichy village one can notice an old building which is the remains of the chapel of the Dybouski family whose mansion was situated nearby. Two brothers – Benedykt and Uladzislau – come from this family. They were prominent natural scientists who were punished for taking part in the Uprising led by Kastus Kalinouski.

The older brother was not executed as German scientists filed a petition against that so that he was exiled to Siberia. Later Benedykt Dybouski was awarded a number of prizes of the Russian Empire for exploring the nature of the Baikal region. As Benedykt was the last living participant of the Uprising of 1863, he was buried with great honors offered by Moscow public. The other brother, Uladzislau, was also a Belarusian folklore researcher.



  Rubyazhevichy village


– The village was really situated on the border (the name Rubyazhevichy is derived from the word ‘rubezh’ which means border): after the Treaty of Riga (1921) was signed the village was given to Poland and the borderline lied within a distance of three kilometers away from the village.

The Catholic Church of St. Jozef built at the beginning of the 20th century in the Russian-Gothic style is situated in the village. This temple has an unusual history: Antonij Tur, a very religious person, once lived there. Three times he went to Saint Petersburg to ask for the permission to build this church. And three times his request was denied.  In 1866 Antonij brought a big stone to the place where he had planned to build a temple. He wrote on the stone: “Here a big Catholic church will be built”. And now this stone lies near the church.

Antonij Tur was exiled to Siberia for developing this initiative. He returned to Rubyazhevichy at the beginning of the 20th century and eventually got the permission to build the church. The only condition was to do it within 4 years. Initially it had been planned to make the construction with eleven towers but due to the lack of time the number of towers was reduced to two.

You must visit a local phyto-pharmaceutical store. It has been there since 1875. In the 1970s in the USSR only three pharmacies of this kind were working – in Vilnius, Lvov and Rubyazhevichy.

You may well go the Jewish cemetery and recollect that multiethnic communities lived in Belarusian towns and, despite religious differences, got along quite well with each other.



  Sula village


A stylishly renovated mansion, which stands where the estate of the Lenski family used to be since the 18th century, now welcomes guests.
Here you can read more about the history. We suggest going and resting there.




  Vyalikiya Navasyolki village


– The Kastravitski family mansion used to be in Vyalikiya Navasyolki three hundred years ago. The buildings of the estate have survived up to now. For instance, the building of the mansion itself serves as a hospital. There are the remains of the stables and of the winery.
Mikhal and Karal Kastravitskis were the participants of the Uprising of 1863, and the son of one of the brothers is a famous Belarusian poet and public figure Karus Kahanets while the grandchild of the other brother is a renowned contemporary writer Guillaume Apollinaire.





– The last object on our route is the only skansen of Belarus which is the Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Way of Life. It is divided into three parts: Central Belarus, Podneprovie (Overdnepr Land) and Pooziorie (Lakeland). This exhibition shows the way of life of the inhabitants of the villages of the end of 19th century – the beginning of the 20th century. There are restored houses, churches, taverns, barns and other buildings. In good weather one will need several hours to explore all of them. And when you get tired have a meal and rest a bit in a local tavern.
Museum ticket office is open from 10:00 to 17:20.  The skansen is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and on public holidays.



Translation by Alexandra