The House of Masons of the XVIII century in Minsk
The House of Masons of the XVIII century in Minsk is one of the attractions of the Belarusian capital located in the Upper town.
Today the House of the Masons of the XVIII century located in Muzukalny by-street, 5 hosts the State Museum of History of Theatrical and Musical Culture of Belarus. The Museum was created in 1990 and was originally located in Starovilenskaya Street. The museum moved into the new renovated building given specifically for the needs of cultural institutions in 2001.
Today you can find numerous musical instruments, art materials, photos, audio and videos, documents, objects of memorial value, etc. - all that somehow relates to the formation and development of the Belarusian theatrical and musical culture.
And although the Museum appeared here in the early XXI century, the building itself dates back to the XIX century, and the decision to construct it even earlier and dates back to the XVIII century.
The original building was erected as a dwelling house where flats were rented and owners changed one another.
The interesting page in the history of the building was 1840 when one of the apartments located on the second floor hosted the Moniuszko family whose representative Stanislaw Moniuszko subsequently became an outstanding composer, author of numerous musical works, the creator of the Belarusian and Polish National Operas.
Later for some time the building hosted the recruiting office in the Minsk province.
The building has acquired its particular popularity and mysteriousness thanks to being recognized as the House of Masons. There is a version that there were meetings of a masonic lodge that according to some sources was called "the North torch", others - "the Red torch". However, there is no exact information that could confirm this fact. It is known only that in the 1820-s the son in-law of the first owner of the house was in the Minsk Masonic Lodge that existed between 1816 and1822.
The first masonic lodge in the world appeared in England in 1717. Thereafter Masonry has been spread to other countries.
In the territory of modern Belarus the first masonic lodge appeared in Mogilev during the reign of Catherine II after the first partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In Minsk masons appeared during the reign of Alexander I.
The House of Masons of the XVIII century appeared on the map of Minsk in 1817, at the time of the existence of the masonic lodge. It is also noteworthy that the architectural appearance of the building is based on the masonic cross, which was achieved due to projections of the central part of the facade symmetrically located on all four sides of the building.
The building has a high basement made of boulder and brick. According to the widespread version, houses of Masons were built without windows that were replaced by niches, laid with bricks or colored glass.
In general, the House of Masons of the XVIII century in Minsk has survived unchanged up to now, so that the building has fully retained its features of early Classicism and Baroque.
Today the House of Masons is included in a number of thematic and sightseeing tours in Minsk. Besides, being a Museum, the building is accessible to all visitors, even individually.