Ruzhany black stone meteorite joins famous Sapegi Castle exhibits
Unique artefact added to Sapegi Castle museum, in the Pruzhany District’s Ruzhany
By Svetlana Vechorko
The stone meteorite is of the most common type: a chondrite. Weighing around 25kg, it’s as large as two footballs and is now on show in the history hall at Ruzhany. “This meteorite differs from other stones, being black, with a solid mass and containing much ferrum, as well as other alloys. Moreover, it shows evidence of having burnt through the atmosphere,” notes Museum Director Ruslan Kniga. The artefact was discovered accidently, during the relaying of a wall at St. Peter and Paul’s Church. It was lying like any rock, alongside other stones, in the foundations.
A church superior asked Ruzhany’s museum staff to take a look at the meteorite and they are now awaiting an official letter from the National Academy of Sciences. Mr. Kniga comments, “In 1894, Grodno Province residents, especially those from Slonim, Svisloch, Volkovysk and Ruzhany, saw an object streak through the sky. The phenomenon is mentioned in all chronicles of the time. It is described by astronomic sources as the Ruzhany meteorite but we hadn’t discovered its location until now.”
Ruzhany Castle was built by the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Lev Sapega, and is one of the largest Belarusian palaces from the 17th-18th century. Restoration began in 2008, with five display halls now open to tourists, located in the Eastern and Western wings. Since early 2013, around 20,000 people have visited the complex.