Ruzhany Palace

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Ruzhany Palace (Belarusian: палац у Ружанах)[1] is a ruined palace compound in Ruzhany village, Pruzhany Raion (district), Brest Voblast (province), Western Belarus. Between the 16th and 19th centuries Ruzhany, then called Różany, was the main seat of the senior line of the Sapieha noble family, known as the Sapiehas of Ruzhany (pl).

The ruins of Ruzhany castle and theatre in 2007.

History[edit]

Ruzhany began its life in the late 16th century as the site of Lew Sapieha's castle, the palace being completed in 1602.[2] The Sapieha residence was destroyed in the course of the internecine strife in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania when it was attacked by Michał Serwacy Wiśniowiecki's forces in 1700.

Ruzhany Palace was rebuilt as a grand Neoclassical residence in the 1770s by Aleksander Michał Sapieha, employing the services of the architect Jan Samuel Becker of Saxony, who set the palace in an English park landscape.[2] Aside from the palace, there was a theatre (1784–88), an orangery and several other outbuildings. Becker also designed the local church (rebuilt in the 1850s).

By the time of King Stanisław II's visit in 1784, work on the palace had been suspended. The Sapieha estates were nationalised in the aftermath of the November Uprising (1831). Three years later, the palace compound was sold to be used as a textile mill and weaving factory.[3]

In 1914 the palace was accidentally set on fire by factory workers. The First World War and subsequent financial hardships prevented the building's restoration until 1930, however the partially restored palace became a ruin again within fifteen years, a casualty of the Second World War. The ornate palace gate survives and has recently been restored.

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Coordinates: 52°51′36″N 24°53′46″E / 52.860°N 24.896°E / 52.860; 24.896