Renovated Loshitsa estate in Minsk welcomes its visitors

Renovated Loshitsa estate in Minsk welcomes its visitors

A picturesque Loshitsa park is a famous recreation place in Minsk with its luxuriant flora, unique architecture and striking chronicle. The fertile land on the river Svisloch's banks was first mentioned as far back as 11th century. That was also when the first settlements appeared here, as excavations prove.

The Loshitsa estate, now a historical and cultural heritage site, was first mentioned in the middle of the 16th century. The Drutsky-Gorskiy (boyars of Polotsk), the Tolochinsky, the Prushinsky and other well-known families (about 20 of them) owned it. The Prushinsky and the Liubansky turned its territory into a beautiful manor complex. Since 1880, the estate hasn't changed a bit.

Early 20th century, plays were staged here. Vladislav Golubok casted actors for his troupe. Loshitsa has seen many historical events. During WWII, a school of subversives of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) was established here. They sabotaged the work of Polish factories and organized rallies there. In the post-war times, Belarus Central Partisan Command Unit was placed in Loshitsa. 

In the 1990s, the estate was closed for renovation. In 2015, the park and manor complex finally reopened its doors. 

Pyotr Khotsko, deputy director of the Museum of History of Minsk:
The museum took the building over not so long ago. The Belrestavratsia organization finished the hard work of restoring the estate.  There had been few objects and documents of those times in the manor. We looked for them in different museums, in Mir Castle and in private collections.

A unique sketch was created for each of the 12 halls on the museum's ground floor.

They are decorated in various styles: classicism, rococo, baroque or art nouveau.

The enterprising and progressive philanthropist Evstafy Liubanski travelled a lot around Europe and brought all the best things and ideas to Minsk. He made the estate the hub of the complex and an example of lineage houses in Minsk Governorate of the 20th century.

The exquisitely tiled stoves, made in Riga and hardly seen in the Russian Empire, became a distinctive feature of the house.

Liubanski’s future wife Yadviga Kieniewicz was a special inspiration for him. She said she would marry him only if he had a decent house. So he made a beautiful terrace with romantic views of the rivers Losha and Svisloch, a heart-shaped lawn and cycle tracks and brought fragrant exotic plants.

The interior of the anteroom for the guests is decorated in the traditional English style with the exclusive painted ceilings and chandeliers. 

Daria Latushkina, researcher of the Museum of History of Minsk:
The original wall panels have long been in the estate. They were renovated too.

The green sofa room full of intimate refinement is a cosy office and at the same time a reception room. The interior is in art nouveau style with soft natural shades and materials and intentionally enlarged adornments.

Here, smoking a pipe or drinking a cup of coffee, the owner would give representatives of Minsk high society heart-to-heart talks. In 1784, Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, visited the estate on his way to the Radziwill residence in Nesvizh. The composer Stanislaw Moniuszko and the writer Vincent Dunin-Martsinkevich were the frequent guests of Liubanski. Carriages and young ladies in luxurious attires rounded the estate on the central alley lit by barrels with resin.

Vitaly Zhukov, art historian, collector:
Yadviga Liubanskaya was a beautiful femme fatale. Her fate is said to be the one of the Belarusian Anna Karenina. The estate’s style corresponds to her sentimental detachment.

There is a tragic story following Liubanski's wife. She is believed to have fallen in love with a young Aleksei Musin-Pushkin, Minsk governor-general. Their love affair was often discussed by the capital beau monde. In 1904, on her 35th anniversary, Yadviga quarreled with Evstafy. She hid inside the park. The next morning, her body was found in the confluence of Svisloch and Losha.  Haunted by the emptiness of the estate, the philanthropist heads for the Caucasus in 1912 and dies in an unknown place.

The legend has it that Yadviga's spirit appears on her birthday, April 29, when magnolia cobus is in blossom.

The tree symbolises her consent to marry Evstafy. It isn't just a mere coincidence that her room has a view on the flowering tree.

The renovators decorated the young lady's room in Oriental style, much loved by the owners.

Daria Latushkina, researcher of the Museum of History of Minsk:
All the patterns are hand-made. This is a Japanese wardrobe with Chinese motifs. But it isn’t Chinese, as there are Buddha dogs, which are not typical of Chinese culture. All the vases, decorations and stands came from Japan of the Meiji and the Edo periods.

The light tearoom is in rococo style with soft pastel shades, gilded ceilings, airy tableware and furniture of sustained style. High society receptions took place there. Ladies were engaged in needlework.

This light and airy salon was famous for its music and balls. Well-dressed ladies with fans and handsome cavaliers declared their feelings dancing on the parquet.

The hall is decorated in traditional neoclassical and rococo styles: refined fretwork, painted vases, huge mirrors and gorgeous chandeliers.

Pompeian passages with a view of various halls linked the rooms of the Loshitsa estate. They resemble the ones in the Hermitage. Rich red and terracotta colours add grandeur and mystery. Nearly authentic lamps were installed in the corridors.

There is a bathroom next to the reception room. And this is no accident.

Daria Latushkina, researcher of the Museum of History of Minsk:
This unique and original bathroom was installed not so long ago. The renovators probed the floor, discovered hollow sounds in one of the places and found the bathroom. The water was heated in the tile stove and then flowed to the taps.

The landowner’s cosy office is in classic style with massive wooden furniture and rich library.

Here Liubanski made important decisions for the city, received clients and wrote letters. Evstafy was a man of principle, character and talent. His energy is reflected in rich warm colours.

The unique museum with a rich history, in the middle of the park, became one of the cultural hubs of Minsk.