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Unknown Hobbies of Renowned Belarusians: Kupala, Kolas, Brouka, Stanyuta

Unusual hobbies and collections of three Belarusian People's Poets and a legendary actress (guess who is her great-granddaughter) all in the following report shot in the museums of Minsk.

Since his very childhood the future People's Poet Yanka Kupala took a great interest in Belarusian legends and fairy tales. Later he would base his works on them.

History was also among Kupala's hobbies. He always knew the history of the places where he lived and could easily conduct a guided tour for his friends around Minsk. While his stay in Smolensk, the poet took an interest in numismatics. His another favourite pastime activity was playing chess. Often his opponent in chess was Kupala's best friend, another People's Poet Yakub Kolas.

Halina Voranava, leading research assistant of display research and exhibition department of Yanka Kupala State Literary Museum:

There was even a special chess table made of Ural gemstones in Kupala's study.

He had his own chess playing style, he always invented unusual moves. He was fond of gardening as well. Wherever Kupala lived, his house was always buried in verdure, blossoming trees and flowers. Surely, his wife Uladzislava Francauna helped him, but Kupala himself was said to be good gardener. He not just trimmed the lawn, but sowed and kept the grass carefully. Roses were his favourite flowers.

Halina Voranava, leading research assistant of display research and exhibition department of Yanka Kupala State Literary Museum:
By the way, in our museum, you can find quite a big flint stone. Kupala found him during his stay in the village of Pechishchy, Tatarstan. Every morning, the poet strolled along the Volga banks.

Even in Kupala's study, one could find a piece of the seaside. The point is that after the holidays on the sea, the poet always brought with him unusual pebbles and kept them on the floor for keeping the happy memories. Nature had always been the poet's inspiration. As a result, his verses are always pleasing to listeners' ears.

He always woke up at 5 a.m., strolled along the Svislach river and then got down to writing verses. Pyatrus Brouka was a man of great talent, one of the best masters of language, the People's Poet of Belarus, a public figure.

Brouka represented Belarus at the General Assembly of the UN;

for 20 years, he had been the head of the Belarusian Writers' Union and for 13 years of Belarusian Soviet Encyclopaedia publishing house. That's why the poet always had lots of business trips. Each trip ended with a suitcase full of not only creative ideas, but also of interesting souvenirs.

Dzmitry Andreyeu, research assistant, Pyatrus Brouka Literary Museum:
Even his friend Ivan Shamyakin called Brouka a born traveller, as he always knew how to arrange his trip best. These matches he brought from Great Britain and the USA. This is a cigar box, and these are extremely interesting playing cards: each card has a unique face design. Brouka was a keen player, he liked preference much.

One can understand how much he loves his Motherland only after visiting other countries.

Brouka liked the New York City much and even dedicated a poem to it:

“It 's seen even from the distance // By the ad lights madding scream. // It's a big city, they told us – // Well, I must admit, it is”.

The poet Yakub Kolas also had an unusual collection. He valued his time greatly and was very fond of tear-off wall calendars. In one of them, you can find a note: “Penny buns should appear soon”. Indeed, Yakub Kolas was a great amateur of mushroom picking.

Maryia Kazakevich, manager of science popularization department, Yakub Kolas Stat Literary-Commemorative Museum:
He must have had his own mushroom picking style. Kolas had a big special basket, which he took every time he picked mushrooms. He always picked them alone, knew special places. Surely, he couldn't make without his favourite hand-made walking stick. All the patterns on it are carved by Kolas himself.

He was always concerned with environmental and farming issues. That's why there was always a barometer on Kolas' desk. He reflected upon the spring awakening of nature and was always looking forward to the first rain of the year.

Yakub Kolas had a small car fleet as well. Each car tells a story of a certain period of the poet's life. For example, as a vice-president of the Academy of Sciences, Yakub Kolas was provided with his own car.

Maryia Kazakevich, manager of science popularization department, Yakub Kolas Stat Literary-Commemorative Museum:

All in all, Yakub Kolas had six cars.

The first one, M1, Kolas got as a present for the 30th anniversary of his creative activity. At the beginning WWII, the poet leaved the burning city on his Chevrolet, but the car was lost in the wartime. And the Kupala's Chevrolet is still safe and sound in the poet's museum in the village of Lyauki.

Stefaniya Stanyuta, a leading actress of Yanka Kupala Theatre and the great-grandmother of a famous rhythmic gymnast Melitina Stanyuta,

continued to perform even when she was over her 90!

She could make a masterpiece even out of a smallest episode both in theatre and in cinema. She was a pure soul, a modest woman with extremely moving eyes.

But only a few people know that the famous actress was a great designer as well. Her main source of inspiration was nature.

Stefaniya liked to hug park trees and used nuts, date stones, pine cones and dried flowers to make unusual necklaces and bracelets.

Alesya Karpach, research assistant, State Museum of the History of Theatrical and Musical Culture
Stefaniya said she had a matching decoration for any of her dresses. It all started when the actress joined the Nature and Fantasy club where one can learn how to make decorations out of natural materials. Stefaniya liked to make wooden statuettes as well and even looked for the appropriate wooden material herself.

Stefaniya Stanyuta in a movie