From Slonim to the Black Sea

A public association, established in Slonim, will launch a reconstruction of the famous canal built over 200 years ago under the sponsorship of Michal Kleofas Oginski
A public association, established in Slonim, will launch a reconstruction of the famous canal built over 200 years ago under the sponsorship of Michal Kleofas Oginski — a hetman (military commander) from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Slonim Oginski Canal initiative has already attracted more than thirty cultural specialists and company executives from the region.

The man-made waterway, known as the Dneiper-Nieman Canal, was built following Oginski’s vision of a waterway connecting the rivers of Yaselda and Shchara, uniting the Baltic and Black seas. In 1783, around 55km were built and the canal became a source of great local pride and a factor in the economic growth of the area. In the 19th century, steamboats and barges sailed along it but during WWI, its machinery and constructions were exploded and burnt down. The canal was subsequently restored by the Polish authorities and operated until 1939, after which it fell into disrepair.

At present, around 1.5km of the Oginski Canal are in the city. However, the picturesque arterial waterway artery is overgrown and is in a state of neglect. The Chairman of the Slonim Oginski Canal association, Ivan Vadeiko, says that the idea to reconstruct the canal has been discussed since the 1970s. “The Oginski Canal is worthy of attention as it’s an historical landmark which we should preserve. It’s interesting to tourists and, after the reconstruction, will definitely beautify our city. We also have ideas to build a cascade of three lakes and a recreation zone in the Shchara’s old channel.”

By Yelena Semenova
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