Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The Zhemyslavl farmstead on the left bank of the River Gavia, an 18-19th century architectural monument, looks very much like Lazenki — the residence of Poland’s last King Stanislaw August. Lazenki is also known as the Isle Palace. The palace-and-park ensemble was built by the Umestowski Count Family, who acquired ownership of the place in 1805. In 1828 the governor of Oshmyany District Kazimierz Umestowski got down to rebuilding the big wooden tiled roof baroque house he had bought along with the farmstead. He added two brick pavilions with pillar-resting porticos, a cellar, a hothouse, stabled and a manege. After Kazimierz died in 1863 his wife Yuzefa continued rebuilding the house. Mrs. Umestowski hired one popular architects of the time — a certain Marconi — to make a copy of the Lazenki Royal Residence, built in 1784-1795.
It was a classical two-storied building with arch windows and stained glass in them. There was one open loggia resting on four pillars above the central entrance. On both sides of the palace there were balconies. The inside of the building was also copied from the royal residence. The rooms were heated with marble wood-burning stoves, Paris style. The walls were decorated with oak panels and frescos. There was a small English park around the residence with a boat station. The park was set up on both sides of the river, so one has to make a boat trip to get to the warehouses, the stables, the family chapel, the winery or the cheese mill. During WWI in 1914 the Germans would convert the place into a rehabilitation centre for army officers. After the end of the civil war and the armed conflict between the Soviets and Poland the farmstead found itself on the territory of Western Belarus that had not become part of the USSR till 1939.
The last owner of the farmstead, Wladislaw Umestowski donated the place to the University of Vilnius to be used as a scientific base for land exploration and agriculture. The farmstead along practically all buildings have survived all through the wars and upheavals of the 20th century.