Splendour of palaces

[b]Golshany Castle festival has been organised for the second year near Oshmyany, 20km from the Minsk-Vilnius motorway, attended by representatives of knights’ clubs from Belarus and abroad. Visitors were treated to spectacular shows while troupes performed medieval music to recreate the spirit of the Middle Ages [/b]The festival closed with a bright fire-show, with artistes performing somersaults while juggling dozens of flaming torches. Ancient culture came alive inside the walls of the Sapegis’ Castle in Golshany.
Golshany Castle festival has been organised for the second year near Oshmyany, 20km from the Minsk-Vilnius motorway, attended by representatives of knights’ clubs from Belarus and abroad. Visitors were treated to spectacular shows while troupes performed medieval music to
recreate the spirit of the Middle Ages


The festival closed with a bright fire-show, with artistes performing somersaults while juggling dozens of flaming torches. Ancient culture came alive inside the walls of the Sapegis’ Castle in Golshany.

Golshany: the show must go on!
This year, the Golshany Castle event was dedicated to the castle’s 400th anniversary, as well as to the 730th anniversary of Golshany’s foundation, the 605th birthday of Sophia Golshanskaya (who founded the dynasty of Polish-Lithuanian kings — the Jagiellons) and the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunewald. Each event was illustrated by a short theatrical performance.
The knights’ and archers’ tournaments were spectacular. Dressed in authentic armour and costumes, modern knights entertained the audience with their mastery of the sword, spear and bow. Zmiter Sosnovsky, the leader of Stary Olsa band and the festival’s organiser, notes that Belarus has never before seen such an event dedicated to medieval culture, with so many activities and guests. Next year, the Festival is expected to be even brighter and more spectacular. 
The Chairman of Oshmyany District Executive Committee, Yuri Adamchik, stresses that the major task of the Festival is to support artistic teams and entrepreneurs working to revive our national historical-cultural heritage. It’s high time that culture figures, local authorities and businessmen focused on a single goal — the revival of original traditions. Mr. Adamchik is pragmatic about the prospect of all branches of civil society co-operating, “Much money is needed to restore our castle but the district budget lacks such funds. However, we cannot leave it as it is, as its walls will continue decaying. I believe this old building needs conservation and that the whole palace-and-park estate should be open to tourists. Only these measures will help us preserve its unique aura, embellished with legends.”
Back in 2007, Br100m were spent on Golshany Castle — in line with a programme for cultural and artistic development. Observation sites and paths were created. Now, a neighbouring pond is being revamped. Minsk architect Igor Rokhansky has developed a concept to conserve the castle’s ruins and restore its tower — to host a museum and cafй. It has already been approved by the Belarusian branch of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (IСOMOS).

Ruzhany: excursions guided by children
Another palace of the Sapegis is being reconstructed in Ruzhany, between Brest and Minsk. Vladimir Kazakov, heading the project, is convinced that, once the work is complete, the 17th century architectural monument will attract tourists. “This is one of the most unique places in Belarus. Even now, people come to Ruzhany. However, our castle will become more interesting to Belarusians, Poles and Russians when two of its wings open and reconstruction of its eastern block begins.”
Belarus’ Culture Minister, Pavel Latushko, is proposing that an entry fee be introduced. Local children already know how to make money, offering excursions over the palace-and-park estate.
The Sapegis’ Palace is Ruzhany’s calling card. It was largely destroyed during WWI but, in 1930, was partially restored. After WWII, only the main and eastern blocks survived, in addition to the gates and wings.

Kossovo: bowing to Kościuszko
By 2015, Kossovo Palace will be fully restored. The village near Brest is known as the homeland of Tadeusz Kościuszko — the national hero of Poland and the USA. The Palace initially belonged to the Puslovsky family, as Leonid Nesterchuk, the Secretary of the Co-ordination Council for the Protection of Historical-Cultural Heritage at Brest Regional Executive Committee, explains. He notes that 500,000 Euros were allocated this year to revive this unique site, with money used to mend the roof and its frame. By 2011, the roof will have been fully completed and inner decoration will commence. Kossovo Palace could become a modern hotel-tourist complex, if financing is provided. Mr. Nesterchuk stresses that, in the past, owner Vandalin Puslovsky only received visitors interested in seeing Kościuszko’s homeland. In future, a real memorial is likely to be built. “I think it’s quite possible to finish reconstruction by 2015,” asserts the Deputy Culture Minister, Vladimir Karachevsky.
19th century Kossovo Palace resembled a gothic-style Western European castle, with over a hundred rooms, all of which differed from one another. The White Hall hosted balls while the Black Hall was used to play cards. Some say the latter’s walls were covered with black marble, while another room had a glass floor beneath which fish swam. It’s already known that Kossovo Palace plans to offer VIP rooms and presentation halls for guests.

By Viktar Korbut
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