Vasilevichy

In the forests of Polessye , Rechitsa district, a small urban-type settlement under the name of Vasilevichi is situated.  A railway station on the route of Gomel-Kalinkovichi train, which is located here, adds some significance to the settlement. An important factor in the development of the region is the presence of peat deposits, located in the marshy lowlands of Vasilevichy-2.

The history of the village formation

 People appeared on the territory of modern Vasilevichi in the Bronze Age. According to perceptions and legends, popular in the region, old wells, which can be seen here, were dug on the order of famous Princess Olga, who led military expeditions into the lands of Drevlyane tribes at that time.

For the first time the name of the town is found in the fifteenth century. At that time Vasilievichi was a small village related to Minsk Province, and was also included into the lands belonging to the noble king of the Ivanovs’ dynasty. Then the owners of the settlement were Belarusian magnates Potockies, followed by the family of Masalskies. After the second partition of Poland the town of Vasilevichi, as well as many other Belarusian villages and towns became a part of the Russian Empire.

 The rapid development of the village started in the late nineteenth century. The main reason for that was discovering of peat deposits, which were actively mined there. Vasilevichi grew; their future prosperity was influenced by the emergence of the railway station in 1886, followed by the construction of new enterprises, appearance of new jobs. From 1904 to 1913 there was a timber processing plant there. Its distinguishing feature was the presence of the steam engine, which helped the plant to increase production capacity and the products produced by the plant, - to win the prestigious Grand Gold medal at the International exhibition in Liège.

 However, further historical events retard the development of the settlement. The First World War comes to the village, bringing misery and destruction. Vasilevichi happened to be in turn either at the mercy of the Germans, or in the power of the Poles. In 1919 the forces of Strepcopytov were defeated near the village and only in June 1920 it was released. In 1926, the territory of Vasilevichi comes into the subordination of the Byelorussian SSR and there is formed collective farm so-called “kolkhoz”. At that time a forestry technical school transferred from Gomel acted in the village; a peat plant, a toolmaker workshop, a mill with the steam engine etc. operated there, too.

 During the great Patriotic war a cavalry group under the command of A. I. Bazilevich was formed on the territory of Vasilevichi, which managed to constrain the advent of the Germans for some time. Besides, the village is notable for its very active anti-fascist movement. Since the beginning of the war until the liberation of Vasilevichi on 18 November 1943 a Patriotic underground under the leadership of L. P. Kurgan-Sokolova, T. M. Ostapenko, A. I. White acted in its territory. The remains of thirty-two underground fighters, who sacrificed their lives during the struggle, found the last refuge in a mass grave in the city.

 In 1935 Vasilievichi gets the status of the settlement, 15 years later it becomes an urban village, and since November 1971 it has been a town of regional subordination.

 Vasilevichi is famous for its one of the oldest weather stations in Belarus. It was founded in 1878. Besides, the Church of St. Nicholas constructed in 1934 is worth paying special attention to. Originally, the building housed a sewing guild, but in 1945 the Orthodox community of Vasilevichi bought it and turned it into a religious building. The temple found its second life in 1991, when a substantial stone structure was erected instead of wooden building.

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