The Ruins of the Church of Dominicans in the Village Druya

Druya is a small village in the Vitebsk region that is situated in the border of the Republic of Belarus and the European Union. Today like many other locations in Belarus Druya has the status of an agro-town.

At earlier times Druya was popular among ordinary countrymen, princes and dukes. It was also popular among Russian tsars and Polish kings. It was due to the fact that a famous trade road “from the Vikings to the Greek” passed through Druya. Besides, up to the middle of the XX century shipping was actively developed there. It was an honor for many eminent personalities to be buried in Druya. There lived a great number of craftsmen whose work contributed to strengthen the financial position of the location.

However, due to the border position, internecine wars did not pass the location by. Numerous destructions and fires made people leave Druya, so gradually it had changed from a large location to a small village.

Approximately in 1765-1773 in Druya there was constructed a church of Dominicans in late Baroque. It consisted of a complex of buildings including a church, a housing estate, a belfry of St Anthony and gates with a nice forged fence and an entry brahma. It decorated the entrance of the complex and made it more majestic. The complex was constructed upon the project of the architect from Genoa Anthony Parak with the assistance of another architect – Ludwig Grintsevich.

The Church of Dominicans presents a three-nave two-tower basilica. The frontage was decorated with pilasters and the nicest ledgement. Delicately curved lines passed from the cornices to the top of the tower that made the towers look simple, beautiful and majestic.

The church existed up to 1832. At first it was closed, and later, in 1839, in order to stop destructions it was transferred to the Orthodox Church. Gradually all the buildings of the complex turned out to be unneeded, shabby, grey structures. The exterior of the buildings suffered much more.

In 1909 the whole complex was blown, and the remaining stones and bricks were used to construct new dwelling houses in Druya. So there began to appear brick houses in the agro-town. Only the belfry of St Anthony and the entry brahma had survived of the whole complex, but later, in 1940, they met the same fate.

A great number of tourists that come to Druya pay their attention to the ruins. They are especially interesting for those who like the history and architecture of Belarus. A visit to the ruins of the Church of Dominicans leaves no one indifferent. There one can enjoy the atmosphere of antiquity, walk around the surroundings; imagine the life of Dominicans in Druya. There are much more tourists in summer when people actively rest at the Braslav Lakes.