Bolshie Novoselki

The first documentary mention of the village dates back to the 18th century. That time it was known as Novoselki estate, it was the Kastrovitskiy landlord’s patrimony. The road of the republican significance P-65 passes through it, once it facilitated the development of the tourist’s route, associated with the ancient manors of Belarus.


Surname Kastrovitskie, the first manor’s owners, is widely known. Three representatives of it were convicted, two of them were exiled to Siberia for participating in the uprising of 1863-1864, and the third one managed to escape to Italy, avoiding the exile. The property was passed into the possession of Shustov, then - Lensky, but they didn’t contribute to the development and prosperity of the land. But the owners Zdzehovskye were good enough. They tried to keep their possession in good condition in order not to be ashamed of passing it to their descendants. Not by accident, farmers organized there a sovkhoz (a Soviet farm) in 1921, one of the first stock-raising complexes on the territory of Belarus.

The wife of the King Kastrovitskiy followed him and went to some cold land, where she gave a birth to their son, Kasimir Karlovich Kastrovitsky – an outstanding cultural figure, writer, poet, sculptor, composer, ascetic. He relentlessly promoted the education of the Belarusian people, the popularization and development of the Belarusian language. It is reasonable to recall the fact that he was the author of the first Belarusian alphabet. Karus Kaganets is his creative pen name, under which he remained in the memory of posterity. The place of his entombment is one of the attractions of the village.

The estate was built in the beginning of the 19th century in the classical style, and belonged to Casimir Appolinary’s uncle, the elder brother of his father (it was he, who managed to escape from the authorities after the riot).

The parts of the residential buildings, stables, distillery, which functions to this day, the fence with gates, which is marked with four pillars, the building for workers and servants survived to the present day.  It is still used as a residential building.

In the former manor house now a rural hospital is located. Present practical owners installed siding on the building; however they left stucco moldings and impressive porch, standing on four massive columns untouched.

Red brick building - the former stables, amazes by its monumental quality. There are pointed gothic arches, two columns (originally there were four of them), which once supported a wooden porch. The entire second floor of the building was made of wood. There is such an unique architectural refinement: all the elements, even the round base of the pillar are brick-made, as well as the arches, they are also made of brick, it seems that they are drawn by a compass. This effect is achieved by the variation of brick forms and well-made brickwork.


Another representative of the Kastrovitskyi’s gentry surname must necessarily be mentioned as a person connected with the roots of Bolshye Novoselki Village. Guillaume Apollinaire is a French poet, hoaxer, avant-gardist, a friend of Pablo Picasso. His real name is William Kastrovitsky (it is a shortened version), he is the grandson of Apollinaris. He is a French offspring of the Belarusian that was wounded during the First World War. And what is striking: he died the same year as the second cousin of Casimir (Carus Kagantsom), in 1918.

That’s the atmosphere of the estate, even if the word “former” is applied to it, but it is truly and faithfully keeps the memories of their owners, scattered all over the world. Whether their descendants remember that the roots of their family are here, in Belarus?

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