First mills appeared in Minsk only in late 15th century

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First mills appeared in Minsk only in late 15th century

Once a sorcerer, named Menesk, settled on the river Svisloch and built a mill here. Nobody has ever seen him and people just spun stories about his heroic strength.

They said that he could grind stones into flour and believed that at night, travelling around the Svisloch land, he gathered his own army. As a result, a separate nation appeared and this place, near the Svisloch river, was named after its legendary founder - Menesk.

This legend about the foundation of Minsk was first published in 1854 in the work of Pavel Mikhailovich Shpilevsky "Journey to the edge of Polessye". Before that, this legend about the sorcerer Menesk existed only in oral folk art.

But where exactly was Minsk founded? There are several pointers in the text of this legend, according to which Minsk was founded on the territory where Starozhevskaya Street is located nowadays.

The river Perespa is also mentioned in this legend. This river takes off from the Komorova swamp, where the Minsk Park of Friendship of Peoples is located now.

It is said that once this place was covered up and down with watermills. And due to flour dust, which was filled the air, everything around was white - grass, trees and even people.

Yevgeny Kazantsev, a guide:
It is still unknown whether these mills existed there or not. Already in the 19th century, there was a city suburb at this place. And nowadays, the river flows under the ground, and only a small reach of it can be found here.

These stories are just legends.  It is reliably known that first mills appeared in Minsk only at the end of the 15th century. In those days, they were built on water, which is why they were called watermills. Mill business was really profitable and due to this, it often provoked disputes and even wars. Mills belonged mainly to the elite of the city and spiritual aristocracy.

A very interesting story is connected with the most famous mills of the 18th century. The first one was owned by Antony Tadevush Pshezdetsky, and the second one was located at the site of the ruined Minsk Castle and was owned by Pan Uzlovsky. In 1751, a serious conflict broke out between the owners of these mills.

 

 

Yevgeny Kazantsev, a guide:
Pshezdetsky gathered in the town hall all the magistrate and ordinary people of Minsk. He made them drunk, enraged them and without the consent of the monasteries ordered to ring the alarm.

As a result, about a thousand of people with drums, spears, guns and other weapons came to Pan Uzlovsky’s lands and started to destroy the mill and then started to shoot and disturb the entire neighborhood.

Yevgeny Kazantsev, a guide:
Unfortunately, the document on this conflict is not fully published, and as a result, it is still unknown how this conflict was resolved.


Yevgeny Kazantsev, tour guide

 

Not long ago, the architect Sergei Baglasovy drafted a renovation project of the territory of the former Minsk Castle. According to his design, a watermill of the legendary Menesk will also be recreated.

Perhaps in the nearest future, Minsk residents will be able to get acquainted with a centuries-long history of Minsk.