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These Five Belarusian Landmarks Have Doppelgangers In Europe

Just imagine, you come to Nesvizh but somehow find yourself in Krakow or Rome. You walk around Minsk and suddenly teleport to German Leipzig or Polish Jutrosin. Hard to believe but one can visit some well-known European sights without leaving Belarus.

Below are five beautiful Belarusian landmarks, the doubles of which are scattered here and there around Europe.

Palace in Zhemyslavl and his big brother in Warsaw

Not far from the Belarusian-Lithuanian border, in the Iviev district, there is a village of Zhemyslavl. A luxurious neoclassical palace, which has a twin brother in Warsaw, is hiding here.

This is the residence of the Umyastovsky family in Zhemyslavl. It was built as a small copy of the famous Palace on the Isle in Warsaw, the former residence of King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Why exactly this sight was chosen?

This is how Belarusian gentry got nostalgic for their lost homeland – the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Palace on the Isle in Lazienki was built from 1784 to 1795, the palace in Zhemyslavl – from 1805 to 1877.

Despite financial difficulties, the Umyastovskys managed to finish their grandiose idea. Like the older Polish brother in Lazienki, the palace in Zhemyslavl was surrounded by a well-kept park with a river and a pond nearby.

Today, unlike the Polish Lazienki, the residence in Zhemyslavl looks forgotten and abandoned. But this makes it no less magnificent and surprisingly similar to the Polish project with its flat roof, columns, and elegant balustrade.

The Red Church in Minsk and its doppelganger near Poznan

Church of Saints Simon and Helena has become a landmark architectural project for Minsk. Behind it is a very moving story. The church is named after Simon and Helena, the deceased children of Edward Woyniłłowicz, who sponsored the construction of the church.

There is a legend that Helena dreamed of the Red Church. However, this is more likely not true for two reasons. First, Helena lena died in 1903, having not lived to her 19th birthday by a few days before. The decision to build a church was made a year later.

Second, the exact same Church of St. Elizabeth’s is located in the Polish city of Jutrosin near Poznan. It was his design that was borrowed for the construction of the Red Church in Minsk. Edward Woyniłłowicz handpicked it.

Both churches have one architect – Tomasz Pajzderski. Moreover, according to the rules of that time, he, as a citizen of Prussia, did not have the right to work in the Russian Empire. Therefore, officially, the architect of the Minsk church was  Władysław Marconi.

The St. Elisabeth Church in Jutrosin was built in 1900-1902, Church of Saints Simon and Helena – from 1905 to 1910. Outwardly, they differ but not significantly: both are of Neo-Romanesque style, the same towers, similar naves and red brick.

Church in Nesvizh and its relatives from Krakow and Rome

Nesvizh Farny Church has a double in Krakow. True, most Jesuit temples are generally similar. But even with this fact in mind, Nesvizh and Krakow churches can be called blood brothers. The only difference is that one of them is ascetic, and the other prefers baroque accessories.

The Corpus Christi Church in Nesvizh became the first Jesuit church on the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Later it was also used as the patrimonial burial vault of the Radziwill princes.

The construction of the temple began in 1584, when a monastic order of the Jesuits came to Nesvizh. The church was designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Bernardoni. It is believed that the Roman temple of Il Gesu, built in 1584, was its prototype.

The Church of Saints Peter and Paul is the first structure in Kraków designed entirely in the Baroque style. On the orders of Sigismund III, it was also built for the Jesuit Order. Initially, its design was carried out by Józef Britius, and then modified by Giovanni Bernardoni, who had previously been involved in the Nesvizh Church.

This is probably why they look so similar!

All Saints’ Church in Minsk and the same temple in Leipzig

The Church of All Saints in Minsk was opened in 2018. Almost the same church, only in the German Leipzig, at that time has already existed for 105 years.

belarus landmarks churches castles monasteries

The Orthodox Church in Leipzig was built in 1912-1913 in memory of the Battle of the Nations of 1813. Donations for its construction were collected for four years both in Russia and in Germany.

The project of the church was developed by academician of architecture Vladimir Pokrovsky. In 1987-1991, Belarusian priest Fedor Povny served in this church. Returning home, he decided to build a similar one in Minsk.

His idea was embodied by architect Lev Pogorelov. The construction of the church started in 1991 – Moscow Patriarch Alexy II laid the foundation stone for it – and lasted 27 years. Well, the churches are not identical, but mirror one another.

Unique Murovanka with its double in Podlachia

Church of Nativity of Virgin Mary, aka Murovanka, is a unique architectural object. Miraculously, it somehow survived five centuries and retained its greatness.

The temple is believed to be built between 1516 and 1542. It is assumed that it served not only for sacred purposes but for defensive as well. No wonder the church looks like a fortress with windows-loopholes and up to two-meters brickwork.

The twin of Murovanka can be found 15 kilometres from Bialystok in Poland. This is the Orthodox Monastery of the Annunciation in Suprasl, which is part of the monastery complex. Today the two “sisters” are separated by the border, although once they were within the same country.

The years of the construction of the temple in Suprasl are considered to be the 1505-1510s – a bit earlier than Murovanka. In 1939, when Soviet troops invaded Poland, the Red Army regiment was stationed in the monastery.

In July 1944, during the retreat, German troops blew up the cathedral, but the Poles managed to restore it. Belarus also participated in the restoration, allocating 200 thousand pieces of bricks and 500 cubic meters of granite to it.


Source: TUT.BY; Palace on the Isle in Lazienki by travel-hystory.com // Zhemyslavl by Anton Motolko, motolko.com; Church of St. Elizabeth’s in Jutrosin by minskblog.livejournal.com // Church of Saints Simon and Helena by ruzovdmitry.livejournal.com; The Church of Saints Peter in Krakow by krakow. travel // Nesvizh Farny Church by wikimedia.org; The Orthodox Church in Leipzig by Dirk Goldhahn, commons.wikimedia.org // The Church of All Saints in Minsk by posmotrim.by; The Monastery of the Annunciation in Suprasl by Victor N, flickr.com // Murovanka by Andrey Dybovsky, globus.tut.by.

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