The history of the manor in detail
If you are invited to a wedding in Minsk, and even to the Vankoviches’ Manor, don't hesitate even for a minute – do agree at once. This is a chance to step into the past, 200 years back, far from the metropolitan jungle to the world of antiquity and luxury. It is a place with marble, velvet and parquet. It is a place where you can find crystal on chandeliers and paintings on the walls, where men are elegant and ladies are delicate. There you can also find the Ballroom, the Salon as well as the Great Dining Hall, which might have been a dining room in the 19th century, but is now more luxurious than just an ordinary restaurant. So here you are provided not only with the pleasure of meeting your relatives, but also with a trip to the museum, a possibility to dive into the wonderful atmosphere of the place and the noble time. And you can do it right in the centre of modern Minsk.
It all started at the end of the 18th century, when the wooden estate Bolshaya Slepyanka passed from the Radziwill family to the Vankovich family, a less noble, but also a significant one. With the change of the landlords, the house also began to change: instead of the old wooden manor, a new stone one appeared. It had French furniture, a library, paintings - everything that a country estate of a noble family relied on. The comfort inside was complemented by the comfort outside - 14 hectares of elegant park around with ponds and with sculptures. Such a beauty, multiplied by the hospitality of the owners, created a reputation of a hospitable house. For almost a hundred years it remained a place of gathering and visiting of the Minsk intelligentsia. And it was despite the great distance from Minsk of that time.
Valentiy, a talented son of the Vankovich family, had lived in the estate until 1839. He was an artist and an author of portraits of many contemporaries. The most famous of them were Adam Mickiewicz and Alexander Pushkin. Like Vladimir Vysotsky, Valentiy lived only 42 years. His descendants had remained in the estate until the arrival of Soviet regime.
And how did the estate exist after that, in the destructive 20th century? Well, like many other monuments of architecture did: the estate was nationalised in 1920. For 60 years, the Soviet state was writing its mournful biography, using the noble walls as a school for the NKVD, as the village council, or as a greenhouse factory. It was only in 1981 that the Vankoviches’ manor was recognised as a historical and cultural monument. Its newest history began, but the first 30 years it was still characterized by abeyance and devastation. The house had been dying slowly before an investor was found.
Restoration of the manor
It required 10 million dollars plus 4 years of painstaking work by historians, architects, restorers, consultants - and in 2013 a small manor house of the Vankoviches opened its doors to the guests of the large city of Minsk. Despite the critical condition of the building, the designers took care of its original appearance. It took wonders of the engineering thought to blend modern technical capabilities into the fragile historical walls: air conditioning, communications, powerful ventilation, a huge kitchen, the smells of which you will not feel in the halls. And there are as much as 10 of them. The 10 halls of the multifunctional leisure complex receive guests today.
Someone will say that it is not the noblest use of the building with such a history. But this is the place to discuss it. What is better: a historical monument, where banquets, presentations, concerts and buffet parties are held or a monument that does not exist? And such a thing could have happened to it.
In general, welcome to this place. And you don't have to wait for an invitation to the wedding at all. Just come to Filimonov Street, 24. You will be met by a real nobleman's house, the Vankoviches’ Manor. You will be impressed not only with the cuisine, service and interior. You will remember a story which is everywhere in high concentration, on all three floors.
And by the way, they serve excellent beer in the ancient cellars of the Manor of the Vankovich family.