The route covers the north-west part of Grodno Region, namely, several towns and villages in Ivey, Oshmyany and Smorgon districts. The region boasts of unique Roman Catholic temples, palaces and medieval castles. This area where Belarus borders on Lithuania has a very specific ethnographic culture.
As we leave Grodno and follow M6 Minsk-Grodno highway, the first stop on the way is the town of Ivye. The route from Grodno to Ivey used to be known as the royal tract, since it was part of the way from Grodno to Vilnius.
The name of the town of Ivey comes from the local river called lvyanka. The town is located at the crossroads of highways leading to Minsk, Lida and Novogrudok. In the middle of the town there is a square that used to be populated by Jewish families. Some of Jewish homes survived to the present day. Close to the square there is a synagogue that was built in the 19th century.
Ivya was first mentioned in chronicles in 1444 as a private estate that belonged to local nobleman Peter Montigerdovich, the founder of the first Roman Catholic cathedral in the area. Later the town changed several owner and became home of the first school of Protestantism in the Gran Duchy of Lithuania.
Since the 16th century Ivye had had a powerful Tartar community. A wooden mosque was built here in 1884 (minaret added in 1922).
Once you visit Golshany, you will never forget this village. Its ancient castle is world famous for ghosts that scare local residents and visitors. Belarusian writer Vladimir Korotkevich even dedicated a detective novel to the mysterious village and its major secret (“The Black Castle of Golshany”).
St Peter and Paul’s Cathedral was founded in Ivye in the 15th century. A bernardine monastery opened under the auspices of the cathedral in 1631 (closed in 1858). In 1656 the cathedral burnt down, and in 1787 it was restored. Later it was abandoned and revived again in the late 20th century due to the financial support of the parish.
22, 50 Let Oktyabrya St., tel. (801595) 22224
Ivye District Rasolishki village, tel. (801595) 31327
Mostki village, Minsk-Grodno highway, 137th
Ivye bus terminal Peski SL, tel. (801595) 22333
Ivye District Gavya village, tel.(801595) 33242
Na Skryzhavanni cafe
M 6 Minsk-Grodno highway, turn to Ivye, tel (801595) 21966
Ivye, 11, Komsomolskaya Square
Staraya Melnitsa bar
Ivye, Karl Marx SL, tel. (801595) 21494
Rodny Kut cafe
Ivye, 50 Let Oktyabrya SL
Ivye, 12, Komsomolskaya St., tel. (801595) 26209
Golshany was first mentioned in chronicles in the 13th century. The founder of the village was Duke Golsha. One of his descendants, Julia (Ulyana) Golshanskaya is one of the most worshipped saints in Belarusian Orthodox Christianity. Her hallows are kept in Kiev Monastery of the Caves.
Another descendant, Sophia Golshanskaya, in 1422 married Polish king Jagello, thus founding a powerful royal dynasty.
In the 16th century the glory of Golshanski family faded away. So, for three centuries the village of Golshany became the property of the Sapieha family. They built there a castle and the cathedral of St John the Baptist.
Pavel Sapieha began the construction of a magnificent Dutch- style castle in the village. It was a beautiful residence of the Sapieha family, with numerous rooms, halls, and richly decorated interior. However, very little of the original castle’s beauty survived to the present day.
However, the Cathedral of St John the Baptist (early Baroque, 17th cent.) and the adjacent Franciscan monastery have survived. The vault of the Sapieha family is situated inside the cathedral. The two-storey monastery is most famous for its ghost, the so-called White Lady who strolls around the building and its surroundings in the night and cries
Stary Zamok cafe
Golshany, teL (801593) 39218
Golshany, tel. (801593) 39549
Golshany, tel. (801593) 39463
Golshany, tel. (801593) 39301
The village of Boruny, famous for its monastery and temples, is the next stop on the way.
The two-story monastery for the monastic order of Uniates was built in 1778-1793. In the 18th century there was a school of theology, the students of which later turned into famous scholars, artists and statesmen. From 1920 till 1922 there was a college for teachers.
The Cathedral of St Peter and Paul (Baroque) was built in Boruny in 1747-1757. Initially it functioned as a Uniate church. The church possessed 28 icons, gold and silver crosses and many rare musical instruments. Today the cathedral has three altars and a Rococo-style pulpit. In 1839 the temple was handed over to the Orthodox Christian church, later it became Roman Catholic. In 1923 the cathedral was dedicated to St Peter and Paul.
The icon of the Mother of God of Boruny, which is one of the most famous icons in Christianity, was painted in the 17th century by an unknown artist.
The icon is kept in a church which was built in 1692 at a place shown by Virgin Maria herself, according to a local legend. In 1883 the icon was carried away to Vilnius, and it returned to Boruny only in 1922.
The village of Krevo (Smorgon District) is home of one of the oldest! castles in Belarus which had a great influence on the history of Belarus, I Lithuania and Poland. Krevo was first mentioned in chronicles in 1338,1 when those lands became property of Duke Olgerd (later – Jagello). In | 1385 there was signed the Union of Krevo, as a result of which Jagelloif became king of both Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, having^ married Polish princess Jadwiga.
The castle of Krevo was built in the 14th century to protect the land | from Crusaders. During its long history the castle witnessed manyl historical events and intrigues. The quadrangle castle was built off stones and bricks. It lacked grace and beauty, because its main function was defense. The castle had survived several attacks of Moscow troops I and Tartars until it was partly destroyed in the 17th century.
In the 18th century Krevo was revived due to the construction of a road that connected the village with Smorgon. The village turned into a battlefield during WWI, and WWII killed practically all residents of; the village.
The picturesque town was once divided in two parts by the river Oshmyanka – the New and the Old Oshmyany.
The town was first mentioned in chronicles in 1340 as a settlement that belonged to Duke Gedimin. In 1383 Oshmyany became the residence of Jagello, the Grand Duke of Lithuania.
Oshmyany has never been away from historical events. The town was attacked by Crusaders, later it was the center of a revolt organized by Duke Keistut. Then there was the revolt of 1794 and the Patriotic War of 1812, when Oshmyany was occupied by Napoleon’s army.
In the center of the town there is the Church of the Holy Resurrection which was built in 1875 (pseudo-Russian style). The church and the cathedral form a unique image of the central square of Oshmyany.
Near the church there is the Cathedral of Archangel Michael (1910). In the middle of the 20th century the cathedral hosted a factory, but in 1990 it was returned to the parish.
Sovetskaya St., tel. (801593) 45255
Oshmyany, 108, Sovetskaya St, tel. (80159) 44538
Stary Mlyn cafe Oshmyany, 11, Borunskaya St, tel. (801593)45151
Oshmyany, 2, Sovetskaya St, tel. (801593) 40529
Galaktika cafe Oshmyany, 17 Sentyabrya St, tel (801593) 44271
Straunya Daragastayskaga cafe Oshmyany District, Grintsy village, tel. 8 (029) 610 74 23
Oshmyany, 66, Sovetskaya SL, tel. (801593) 40774
Gippika equestrian sports center
Oshmyany District, Grintsy village
Smorgon is closely connected with the life and work of famous Belarusian statesman and poet of the 19th century Francisak Bahusevic.
The village was first mentioned in chronicles in the 15th century. For almost 300 years the place used to belong to the Radzivill family. Therel was a Protestant church, three motels (one mentioned in Bahusevic’s poem). The poet used to visit Zhuprany many times in life, and local residents liked his personality and poems a lot. In 1900 Francisak Bahusevic was buried here. In Zhuprany in 1958 a monument Frantiskui Bogushevich of Belarusian sculptor Zair Azgur.
The town of Smorgon is located along Krevo road on the bank of the picturesque river Vilya. The town was first mentioned in chronicles in the 15th century as a place that belonged to the Zenovich family; latter it was handed over to the Radzivills. Smorgon keeps a unique spirit of the past, full of ancient legends.
Smorgon used to host the only “bears’ academy” in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – a place where those animals were kept and trained. Smorgon was a place where Napoleon abandoned his troops before fleeing to Vilno. The Cathedral of St Peter and Paul (1854-1875) contains a memorial plate of Francisak Bahusevic.
Smorgon boasts of several monuments of history that are must-see for each visitor. One of them is the Renaissance Cathedral of St Archangel Michael (1533 or 1606-1612), which is situated in the central part of the town.
World War I was a tragic page in the history of Smorgon District. The district was crossed by the Russian-German front line from September 1915 till February 1918. For 810 days the town witnessed bloody battles and gas attacks.
Female warriors showed as much carriage as men during those tragic days. The 1st Petrograd female battalion of death led by Maria Bochkareva which protected the area between Krevo and Novopassk has become a true legend of the war.
Travel information center
Smorgon, 4, P.Balysh SL, W. (801592) 42081
Straunya cafe Smorgon, 6, Sovetskaya SL, tel. (801592) 35923
Smorgon, 3, Molodezhnaya SL, tel.1801592) 35212
Kupalinka cafe Gorgon, 57, Y.Kolas SL, tel. (8029) 3097515
Raznosoly cafć sDiorgon District So)y village, tel. (801592) 6 31 79
Smorgon District Krevo village, tel. (801592) 9 36 35
Smorgon, 29, Sovetskaya SL, tel. (810592) 21017
Ogiński palace and Park Ensemble Zalesye village, tel. (801592) 9 25 49
Smorgon bus terminal 1, Komsomolskaya SL, tel. (01592) 2 22 55
Several kilometers away from Smorgon there is the home of famous composer and diplomat Michał Kleofas Ogiński. It is the place where he romposed his well-known Polonaise.
In 1815 Ogiński estate was restored. There was built a water mill, a greenhouse, a garden, a chapel. Eventually the estate turned into a real masterpiece of Classicism architecture, and it was long known as the Northern Athens. The beautiful palace was surrounded by picturesque English park, with memory stones in it. The composer spent his best years here, however, in 1822 he had to flee so as to escape arrest.
Currently the restoration of Zalesye palace is underway.
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