Today the small town of Ostrovets in Ostrovets district of Grodno region is most commonly associated with the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Belarus. Undoubtedly, this significant event deserves special attention. Some are in favor of the construction of such a plant, others are strongly opposed to it. It is not surprising as the Belarusians will remember for a long time those regrettable consequences of 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded.
However, the local residents are proud of not only the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Some significant historical attractions have survived in the territory of Ostrovets, for example, the Church of the Cross Invention and the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Demien. This architectural object is considered to be one of the most valuable monuments in the whole Republic of Belarus.
Ostrovets town was first mentioned in chronicles of 1468. At the time, there had already been the Church of the Virgin Mary and All Saints that, by the way, still exists. Then, in the second half of the XV century, the Belarusian magnates Gashtolds donated money to the town for the construction of that church. Some time later, the church was visited by Dominicans by order of the Gashtolds.
Stanislav Gashtold tragically died in 1542, and as a result, Ostrovets land came to possession of the great prince of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Sigizmund I the Old. Later Sigizmund passed the town over to his son that in his turn, by that time, presented the rather rich estate to Jerome Karitsky. Since the XVII century, that territory was in possession of Yan Korsak, the representatives of the Kostrovitskies, the Sytyankis and Zhilinskies.
The story and the fate of the Church of the Cross Invention
The Church of the Cross Invention unlike the Church of St. Kozma and Demian has not so rich history and a brief life – little more than a century. The church was constructed in 1911; it presents an example of New-Roman architecture with some influence of Neo-Gothic. Though in the XVII-XVIII centuries, churches were mainly made of wood that, of course, played its role in the conservation of a building, the church was made of clay in Ostrovets. That is why it has perfectly survived up to now.
By the way, Roman style like New-Roman is considered to be the first all European movement in the construction of buildings and structures; its features are especially seen in the architectural appearance of Christian churches. Generally, all buildings of that type served as defensive structures. The church is also of this type in Ostrovets as the countrymen hid from the Nazi invasions in the building of the church during the Great Patriotic War. The church presents God’s fortress protected by thick walls and narrow window openings.
Excursion tours to Ostrovets with a visit to the temple of the Cross Invention
The Church of the Cross Invention originally gives the impression of some severity, heaviness and firmness – as if you venerate God. Alongside with the elements of Gothic architecture, it has also some features of Neo-Roman style – decorative finish prevails over stone carving; the interior is full of frescos showing biblical scenes. So today people come to Ostrovets not only to watch the large-scale construction of the nuclear power plant but also to visit local cultural and historical attractions. The both churches in Ostrovets you can see, having booked one of our excursions across Belarus.