Berestovichanka : on its banks is located the main settlement of the district

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Berestovichanka is a right tributary of the Svisloch River. Its length is 16 kilometers. This small river takes its origin on the southeastern outskirts of the village of Berestovichany, which is located very close to the district center.

Bolshaya Berestovitsa is the largest settlement located on this river. In 2006, it celebrated the 500th anniversary since its mentioning in historical documents. In honor of this event on the Town Hall Square was established a decorative and sculptural exhibit «Tree of Life», which has become a kind of modern symbol of the town.

It is considered that the name of the river is directly related to the name of the town, which comes from the word “birch bark” (Polish Brzost) — a type of tree that is often found in our area and was actively used in its time for making various household items .

The river Berestovichanka divides the town into two parts and has a lake shape due to a significant expansion of its bed. This place is the most picturesque corner of the town. In the warm season a fountain works on the lake.

On the left bank of the river, right next to the bridge, in the past century there was a water mill, which belonged to the owners of Berestovitsa –  the Kossakovsky family. The facade of the mill was made of bricks, and the other three walls were made of hewn stones. In this form, the building of the mill existed until the early 70s of the last century.

The main architectural monument of Bolshaya Berestovitsa is the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, built in 1615. The residents call it the old church, because in 1912 the owners of the town Jozef and Maria Kosakovsky built a new church of the Transfiguration of God on the opposite side of the river-lake.

Over its history of existence, the old church has experienced many interesting events. The temple was repeatedly repaired, rebuilt, changed names, going from hand to hand, from Catholics to Orthodox and vice versa. So, after the uprising of 1863, the church was closed by the decree of the tsarist authorities, and then it was rebuilt into an Orthodox church (1866).

And in 1918-1919 the temple was returned to the Catholics. In the post-war Soviet period, it was used as various outbuildings. And today it exists in a dilapidated condition.

The underground cellars of the temple consisted of several rooms. The owners of the town, representatives of noble families of Mniszki, Pototsky, Chodkiewicz, Kosakovsky were buried in them. The heart of the famous warrior and politician, hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Jan Karol Chodkiewicz, also rested in this temple. The magnates Chodkiewicz built the temple in 1615. Nowadays the remains of the former temple have historical and cultural value.

Another historical and cultural value of Bolshaya Berestovitsa is the church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, built in 1868.

In Bolshaya Berestovitsa there is one of the most unusual museums in Belarus, called “The Squirrel Museum”. It was opened in 2014. Squirrel is a symbol of the town.

Passing the dam and the bridge, the Berestovichanka river turns into a small water stream. Having traveled some kilometers it flows into the river Svisloch, that forms the natural border between Belarus and Poland.

Sergey Khiliuta

Fotos made by the author


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