Palace of Ruzhany
In 1598, Lev Sapega, the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the richest magnate of Belarus, ordered to build for him a big palace in the Renascence style. It became the main residence of his family for two centuries. His descendants were rash to set the other Belarusian and Lithuanian nobility against themselves. In 1700, their Army was crashed by noble militiamen. Although local townsfolk and peasants defended the residence, it was much ruined. In several decades, the Sapegas collected money and invited the Flaming architect Jan Samuel Becker who partly restored and rebuilt the palace. But, in the late 18th century, the Sapegas were forced out to neighboring Poland by the Russian Empress Catherine II. Their manors and residences were neglected and again slowly ruined.
In the 20th century, the big ruined palace of Ruzhany attracted only occasional travelers. Nowadays, everything has changed. In 2010, local community began to restore it. I do not know where they took so great money, but their work is suspiciously quick. They are going to restore the front gates and open museum+small hotel by midsummer 2011. As for me, the ruins are much more picturesque than the restored part and the flow of tourists simply will kill romantic qualities of this place.
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