Mysteries remain to be solved, or 5 reasons to visit Slonim
In the centre of Slonim there is a memorial plaque with an inscription devoted to Michał Kazimierz Ogiński
Experience the heritage of the Ogiński family
In the centre of Slonim there is a memorial plaque with an inscription devoted to Michał Kazimierz Ogiński — Lithuanian military commander and one of the pretenders to the Polish throne. The well-known Ogiński Canal, which connects the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, was constructed at his expense.
On his orders, an Italian architect built the theatre with the latest in technical equipment: the scenery could be transformed to resemble the banks of the lake, or the mountains, actors soared over the stage, while fireworks lit it with thousands of lights. Italian, German and Polish singers, chorus and ballet performed on the stage. The theatre had its own ballet and music schools. His famous nephew Michał Kleofas Ogiński, received his musical education here. Every day at midday the immortal polonaise Farewell to the Homeland sounds in his honour from the tower. The international Polonaise festival is held here in May. It is an interesting occasion to experience as the whole city turns into a stage where musicians from different countries sing, dance and play.
Find the treasure of Albertin
The estate of Count Albertin, in the suburbs of Slonim, is guarded by two stone lions. The two-storeyed turquoise palace in late classical style represents the architectural fashions of the time. The household buildings remain: outbuildings, entrance gates, mill and stables. There is a forest with ponds, waterfalls and intricate avenues which is a favourite holiday spot.
At first the estate was named Yurzniki, but after the death of one of Count Wojciech Puslowski’s favourite sons, Albert, people began to call it Albertin. According to the legend, the young man met his demise when trying to escape prosecution for participation in the revolt of 1863. He stole the family jewels and drowned whilst trying to reach the bank. Since then, the lake has borne his name and today many adventurers still search in the hope of finding the vanished treasures.
Have a rest near the Eiffel Tower
In order to see the ‘iron lady’ it is not always necessary to go to Paris. Two years ago, the city centre acquired own sight with French lustre. Certainly, the model of the famous tower is lower than the original, but it has had time to become the centre of attraction — visitors come here to take photos, newly-married couples from Minsk and other cities come here to celebrate their wedding.
It is also possible to see the monument in honour of the arms of Slonim. It was approved in 1591 when King Sigismund III gave the city its independence. A golden lion stands on its hind legs, while the forelegs hold a silver arrow.
Ask for protection
Fans of the baroque will enjoy Slonim: in 1642 one of the oldest synagogues of Belarus was constructed in this style. The snow-white baroque church of the Holy Apostle Andrew bewitches visitors with its figured pediments and deep extended niches on the facade, so characteristic for Vilnya baroque and so dear to Belarusian hearts. The Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour rises over the low buildings of the centre. The cathedral was also constructed in Western Belarusian style.
Believers not only from Belarus, but also from abroad, arrive in large numbers to go to the Zhirovichi Monastery. The local icon of the Holy Mother enters the top 100 of the most esteemed world Orthodox relics. People ask the miraculous icon for healing from illnesses, for guardianship and protection.
See the ‘knightly dream’
For fantastic images and a touch of luxury, the palace of Count Puslowski (Kosava Castle) was called the ‘knightly dream’. Warsaw and Italian architects worked on the creation of the palace and park estate. It boasts twelve faceted towers in honour of each month of the year, the facades are decorated with lancet arches. People tell stories about former luxury and riches. The floors in some halls were glassy, while under glass, exotic fish swam in huge aquariums. A real lion walked in the corridors at night. It is said that there was also a subway as wide as a ‘carriage and three horses’ and 25 miles long.