Catholic Landmarks

Start your route in Smarhon is a small town in Hrodna region of Belarus, established in the early XVII century – back in the times of Great Duchy of Lithuania. Until the middle of the XIX century, Smarhon has been the property of the most famous noble family of Belarusian aristocracy – Radziwills. 
Take a look at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. Built in 1606 – 1612 as a Calvinist church it is the original monument of Renaissance architecture. Legend says that the underground passage runs from the church to Vilnius. During soviet times the building of the church hosted a local shop and now has returned Catholic Church.

 

Chusovaya. Obsessed with leading in Cold War the Soviet Union comradeship has built multiple military objects on Belarusian territory as the Western Gate of the country. One of them was ‘Chusovaya’ - the place for the underground stationing of the nuclear missile ready to set off to any NATO target in Western Europe. Thankfully none of them has ever been launched. The rockets are now destroyed but the stations and the huge missile silos 24 meters deep are still hidden in Belarusian forests. 

 

The main point of interest in Soly is the rare and extraordinary Church of Mary of the Rosary in art-nouveau style. The church was built in this place in 1589 originally and rebuilt in 1934. Frescoes inside are also extraordinary: they are dedicated to the defense of Czestochowa and the miracle on Vistula. 

Many consider Holy Trinity Church in Herviaty the most beautiful in Belarus – and for a reason! It’s the highest cathedral in Belarus – 61 m (equivalent to 24-storeyed building!) and the only one created according to all the neogothic canons. It was erected at the site of a wooden church of the XVI century. Fun fact: during the construction chicken eggs were collected from all over the neighborhood (they were necessary for the grout to make it stronger). Here you can see the arc-boutant. It’s a semi-arch that distributes pressure from the main wall and stands separately (remember Notre-Dame de Paris), which is not typical for Belarus.
Make sure to go for a walk in the park with sculptures. You can also visit a water mill in fachwerk style (again a rare occasion for Belarus!) nearby. It was working and producing electricity until World War II, and was restored in 1980s.

  

There's no highway leading to Dubok. Reachable only by bike this village preserves a unique example of wood and stone mixture in a single building of sacral architecture. The chapel with the moss covered gateway and a burial vault appeared by the river Vilia in 1928. 7 years after, 7 gates that symbolize the sacred procession have been erected around the chapel. 

  

Zhodishky lies a little bit off the route. While in this village, take a look at an austere building of Holy Trinity Church (Pervamajskaia str., 2). It was built in the XVII century and rebuilt two centuries later. Simple and stern lines of this building have the simple reasoning behind them – the church was constructed according to ascetic principles of Calvinism. The other noteworthy buildings in Zhodishky are the XIX century distillery, water mill, and old Catholic cemetery.  

 

 

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