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Photo - Ruzhany

The population: 3 thousand. Status: Small The year of foundation: 1490 Brest region, Pruzhany district

Location - Ruzhany

Ruzhany is an urban settlement located in the Pruzhansky district of the Brest region. The distance to Brest is 140 km, to Minsk is 235 km, to the border with the Republic of Poland 95 km. Roads of republican significance P85 («High-Pruzhany-Ruzhany-Slonim») and P44 («Ivatsevichi-Kossovo-Ruzhany-Skidel») pass through the village.

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History of the development - Ruzhany

For the first time the town of Ruzhany (Razhany) was mentioned in written sources in 1490. It is known for certain that until 1552 the Ruzhany belonged to the Tyszkiewicz, after which they passed into the possession of the Brukhal family. In 1598, Bartosz Bruchalsky sold his estates in Lososyn and Ruzhany to the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Lev Sapega, who made Ruzhany his main residence. Ruzhany entered the Slonim district of Novogrudok voivodeship. After acquiring Ruzhan Lev Sapega begins the construction of a defensive castle in the town. Construction ends in 1602.

At the beginning of the XVII century Ruzhany are a prosperous trading place located on the way to Brest and Terespol. The city has about 400 houses, there are brick and tile factories. Thanks to the efforts of the Sapeg Ružany family, on June 20, 1637, they receive Magdeburg law. A town hall is being built in the city, in which magistrates meetings are held. In addition, Ruzhany receive their own coat of arms representing a silver-colored shield, which depicts a wreath of red roses. In the center of the wreath stands the figure of St. Casimir is the heavenly patron of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, with lilies and a cross in his hands.

From the second half of the 17th century, Ruzhany began to decline and from a rich place the settlement turned into one of the poorest cities of the GDL. The revolt of the nobility and the Confederates in 1698 against Sapieha completely destroyed the city. During the Northern War (1700–1721), the Ruzhany were again destroyed. After the war, the renovation of the ruined castle begins, which, after construction is completed, becomes a real pearl or Belarusian Versailles. At that time, the treasury of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was kept in the palace, and state receptions were held. In addition, the castle Sapieha in Ruzhany repeatedly received the kings of the Commonwealth. For example, in 1784, Stanislav Avgust Poniatovsky was visiting Ruzhany.

In 1786, Sapeha rented the Ruzhany Castle for rent and transferred their residence to Derechin. The tenant organizes a factory for the production of silk fabrics, velvet and cloth in the castle. Also at the factory carriages and varnished carriages were made. After the third section of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, the Ruzhans found themselves in the Russian Empire. For the participation of representatives of the Sapieg clan in the national liberation uprising of 1830–1831. Ruzhansky possessions were confiscated. In 1834 the palace was leased and a weaving manufacture was again organized in the castle.

According to statistics, before the First World War (1914–1918), about 7,000 people lived in Ruzhany. In 1915, the Ruzhany were occupied by German troops, and in 1919–1920 by Polish troops. According to the results of the Riga Peace Treaty of 1921, Western Belarus, including Ruzhany, became part of Poland, where they remained until the autumn of 1939, when they finally became part of the BSSR. Ruzhany were occupied by the German fascist invaders on the second day of the Great Patriotic War on June 23, 1941. The town was liberated from the Hitlerites on July 13, 1944.
After the war, the village was actively developed. Today there is a furniture factory, a food processing plant and a production and trading complex in Ruzhany, there are cultural and educational institutions.

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Tourism potential - Ruzhany

Undoubtedly, the main tourist attraction of Ruzhany is Sapeg Palace. This is a monument of architecture with elements of late Baroque and Classicism. The castle, built in the late XVI – early XVII centuries. Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Leo Sapieha was a defensive fortification with features of a ceremonial style. In the XVI–XVII centuries. Ruzhansky Palace was the center of political and cultural life of the principality, but at the beginning of the XVIII century. was looted and destroyed as a result of internecine clashes and war with the Swedes. Active restoration and the second life of the palace began under Alexander Sapega, on whose instructions the palace was rebuilt. The ruins of the main and eastern corps, arcades, entrance gates and wings have survived to this day. The entrance gate and two outbuildings, in which the museum is located, have now been completely reconstructed. Four exposition and one exhibition hall are available for visitors. Two exhibition halls are located in the eastern wing and tell about the history of the castle. The exposition, located in the western wing, introduces visitors to the history of Ruzhany and the Sapieg family. In the hall «The Chancellor’s Sitting Room», the interiors of the 17th-18th centuries are recreated, among which, for museum visitors, theatrical historical reconstructions are held.

In addition to the Sapeg Palace in Ruzhany, there are several architectural historical sights. The Church of the Most Holy Trinity is a monument of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, built in 1615-1617. Leo Sapega on the site of a wooden church in 1596. The original appearance of the church had gothic-renaissance features. In 1780, the church was reconstructed and the church acquired the characteristic features of classicism.

Almost completely one of the sides of the main square of Ruzhany is occupied by the complex of the Basilian monastery with the church of St. Peter and Paul. Now the Orthodox, and in the past the Uniate Peter and Paul Church was erected in 1762-1778 in baroque style. The residential building of the Basilian monastery was built a little later in 1784-1788.

A synagogue built in the baroque style, which is a complete copy of the Grodno synagogue, has been partially preserved in the urban village.

Ruzhany is a must-visit place from the point of view of historical and cultural heritage and is a great weekend travel option.

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GPS Google: 52.8678016′ N, 24.8997001′ E