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25 Sep 2014

Oginski estate in Zalesye reopens after makeover

The Oginski estate in Zalesye, Smorgon District, engraving by Napoleon OrdaSMORGON, 26 September (BelTA) - The Oginski estate in Zalesye, Smorgon District, reopened after renovations on 25 September. Attending the inauguration ceremony were the Grodno Oblast and District authorities and representatives of the Culture Ministry, BelTA has learned.

Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Kravtsov noted that many famous talented people lived in Grodno, the land of a rich history and traditions. He expressed gratitude to everyone who took part in the restoration of the estate and stressed that the oblast has been doing its best to preserve places such Zalesye. Such sites can be found in various districts of the oblast. Local authorities have been taking measures, including in cooperation with investors in order to revitalize them.

Culture Minister Boris Svetlov emphasized the importance of the facility for the cultural and historical heritage of Belarus. “It is important for this place not only to be revived but also be full of visitors. The estate should host concert and musicales, attract tourists and guests from different countries,” he said.

Oginski estate in Zalesye reopens after makeoverThe guests of the event praised restoration works which began in the Oginski family estate of the 19th century in Zalesye in 2011 and were invited to a concert of the National Academic Concert Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Finberg.

According to Chief Architect and research advisor on the restoration project Lyudmila Ivanova, the estate has been fully made over from outside and got a partial restoration of its interior. All necessary works were carried out, including the renovation of the engineering networks and adjustment of heating and ventilation systems. A new roof was installed, windows and doors were replaced. Complex repairs and restoration of rooms, stairs, facades of the building and floor have been done.

Oginski estate in Zalesye reopens after makeoverThe goal of restorers was to make the estate look as it used to be at the time of its famous owner Michal Kleofas Oginski. Historical, archival and bibliographical research was done to restore the lost image of the estate. Researchers and designers relied on the descriptions of the estate, its exterior and interior in the memoirs of contemporaries, and the engraving by Napoleon Orda.

The Oginski study, big and small parlors and a billiard room have got their former look. A museum and theater hall for 88 seats has been restored. Guest rooms for tourists have been prepared in the right flank of the building.

Oginski estate in Zalesye reopens after makeoverThe works which are still need to be done include the beautification of the greenhouse, the installation of clocks and bells on one of the towers, fit rooms with the tailored furniture. A park and garden ensemble and household outbuildings will be restored next year.

Starting from 2011 some €200,000 has been invested in the Zalesye restoration project under the cross-border cooperation program “Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus”. About Br25 billion has come from national and regional budgets. All work on the restoration of the estate is planned to be over by the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Michal Kleofas Oginski, the author of the famous polonaise “Farewell to the Homeland” which will be marked in 2015.

Oginski estate in Zalesye reopens after makeoverWell-known public figure, diplomat and composer Duke Michal Kleofas Oginski lived in Zalesye for about 20 years (from 1802 to 1822). Here he composed his most famous work – “Farewell to the Homeland” polonaise. In those years the Zalesye estate was known for rich court life, was a real cultural center bringing together musicians, composers, poets and artists. They called this place the Northern Athens.

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