By Nadezhda Radivonova
The Starye Dorogi Regional History and Folk Museum has received a grant from the Minsk Regional Executive Committee to create a new branch exploring the development of road infrastructure, while showing how the post station looked many years ago. It will detail how the museum’s collections and scientific archives were formed, with exhibits expected to be of interest to Starye Dorogi residents and guests alike.
The centrepiece of the exhibition will be a recreated interior of the post station as it once existed, while the museum will also feature an inn, a guest room, a smithy and other buildings. The museum is due to open in mid-2012.
Belarus began constructing unsurfaced roads in the 17th century, before which, waterways were the main means of conducting trade. Initially, small sections of roads were built to connect magnates’ estates with the nearest inns. From 1700-1721, during the Northern War, construction of postal roads and stations began in Belarus, at the order of Tsar Peter I.
The first mail was run by the military, delivered via the road connecting Borisov with Bykhov, through Mogilev, in December 1707. Later, the mail service became civilian run, delivered by postmen rather than the military. Over time, roads and stations changed, improving to the quality we enjoy today.