Retro-style complex

Former state farm plans to turn ancient estate into retro-style tourist facility
The Brest Region’s Kamenets District boasts Belovezhskaya Puscha natural reserve, the Belaya Vezha (White Tower) and St. Trinity Church in the town of Volchin, but there has appeared another gem in the catalogue of priority sites that need restoration — an ancient estate in the village of Gremyache.

A marvelous corner on the picturesque bank of the river Pulva just 40 kilometers away from Brest! A park with exotic trees is great in any season, but in autumn it is particularly impressive, when yellowy red leaves cover the path to the river, and in spring, when the first flowers make their way sunwards through last year’s foliage. The estate has been neglected, but the local farm “Voskhod-Kamenets” plans to invest at least $1 million in the restoration of the pearl of the district.

The estate was first mentioned in the 16th century, and the brick house was built in the mid-18th century. Over 70 years ago the former owners, representatives of the Puzyns, handed the estate over to the village administration. The building was used by a school and then a summer recreation camp for children, and then the estate homed the students who were coming to the district for the harvesting campaign.

In 1994 the Polish director Felix Falk used the estate to shoot his marvelous drama “Summer of Love” based on Ivan Bunin’s story “Natalie”. Some of the ramshackle tiled ovens of the house were covered with sham ceramic tiles, but otherwise the house proved just perfect for the movie based on a story by the Nobel Prize winner.

Last year the estate was put up for an auction, but no one wished to buy it. As a result the decrepit building was handed to the joint-stock company “Voskhod-Kamenets” for free. The director of the farm, Andrei Zelenko, plans to create a 19th century style museum and hotel facility in the village of Gremyache.

The new owner plans to have several suites in the attic, which overlooks the magnificent park, where a unique 4-meter queen-apple stands close to larches, spruces, hornbeams and oaks. One will be able to travel around the estate’s cobbled roads in a carriage and even go fishing, as local ponds will soon be filled with trout. The design is being developed now.

The key task now is to provide temporary conservation of the estate that will start as soon as Brest Technical University specialists complete technicalities. The first tourists will be welcomed in the estate in years, but time is not a problem. The essential tendency is that the building that belonged to the Sapegas, Flemings, Ponyatovskys, Chartoryiskys, Puslovskys and Puzyns will not be left forsaken, and the beautiful house will start a new life for the lovers of comfortable recreation in a peaceful and picturesque location.

by Valentina Kozlovich
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