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Belarusian collecting ancient bricks from different countries

A resident of Belarus' Lida has an unusual hobby. He collects ancient bricks from Belarus, Ukraine, England, Sweden and other countries. Each artifact has a master's stamp, fingerprints or names of the manufacturer. The oldest exhibit was born in the 16th century, the owner says.

Alexei Chistyakov, collector:
These historical bricks can be found literally under your feet.

The collection of Alexei Chistyakov consists of about 550 artifacts. The man says this is already about 3,000 kilograms of unique bricks.

Everyone has his own business card - like a brand. It encodes real biometrics: data on the plant, year of manufacture, and geographic location.

Alexei Chistyakov, collector:
In my hand now, you see, a brick with the stamp "BLK 1900". The BLK is translated as Brest-Litovsk Fortress. This brick could be used in the construction of the Brest Fortress, as well as civil structures of the city and district.

Such stories lie on each shelf. National and foreign bricks are next to each other: bricks formed at the plants of Lida, Bobruisk and Minsk are neighbors with samples of Russian and even English architecture. For example, one has the inscription London. There are interesting fingerprints of people or even animals' paws.

Alexei Chistyakov, collector:
Some, in order to annoy the careless master, made a wolf's paw, they stigmatized it as if they were going to live like wolves in this house... Then there was no happiness in that family.

By the way, thanks to this hobby the man fills gaps in history. For example, Alexei Chistyakov established that the brick factory of Brest-Litovsk Fortress is one year older than it was believed.

It all began at the walls of the medieval Lida Castle. This is a favorite place for Alexei. The builders nearby were cleaning the lake, and among the pile of garbage lied an old brick with the letter "K".

This very letter warmed Alexei's interest. He started digging through the archives. That case has become his hobby for years. The enthusiast travels through Belarus, communicates with historians and collectors from other countries and collects a living story under his feet.

Anna Nekrashevich, researcher at the Lida State Historical and Art Museum:
The exhibition is interesting not only to our citizens, but also to the guests of the city. Many ask if they can buy the item as a keepsake.

Adam Krajewski, tourist (Poland):
We saw here , many of your designations on the brick. I didn't see that in Poland. This is really history: Belarus, Poland, Russia, even an English brick is there. We like that.

Part of the collection is kept by the author in the garage, many are periodically exhibited at various exhibition halls. By the way, there are also brick museums in Japan, USA, and Austria. The Lidia collector dreams of opening his own museum.

Belarusian collecting ancient bricks from different countries