Monday, February 2, 2015

Ruzhany Palace

This ruined palace was built in 1602 in western Belarus for the Lithuanian diplomat Sapieha family. The head of the family was a wealthy diplomat for Lithuanian kings whose kingdom reached into many other present day countries. By the time the 1700's rolled around, the land turned into a battleground between many kingdoms and after was renovated into an English style palace. It was called the Belarussian Versailles. By 1780 the renovation stopped and around 1831, after the November Uprising, the palace was sold and turned into a textile factory. Around those early 1800's the Russians, invaded the area and as the palace was sold to them, they claimed everything in it. In 1914 the palace was accidentally set on fire when a lamp fell over in one of the basement compartments. Rebuilding projects had been started many times but WWI and WWII prevented that and further damaged it. 

The palace was as ornate as you can imagine. There used to be a huge ballroom and theatre. It is rumored that the underground compartments go so deep that oxygen supply would be too low to stay for long. There were statues in every archway lining the corners of the palace. These statues were taken by the Russians when they invaded and brought to present day St. Petersburg and were kept in the Winter Palace. It is not known if they are used for display now. There are no pictures from back then of the palace except an engraving. 

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