HPS “Friendship of Peoples” in the village of Drisvyaty

Drisvyati

Architecture, Industrial buildings

Hydroelectric power station “Friendship of Peoples” is located on the Belarus – Lithuania border in the village of Drisvyaty and, paradoxically, refers to the cultural heritage of Belarus.

Drisvyaty is a small village in Vitebsk region, situated on the Prorva River, between lakes Stavok and Obolev. The village once resounded throughout the Soviet Union, thanks to hydroelectric power launched into operation. The hydroelectric power was only 300 kW, but that didn’t prevent it from leaving a mark in history. “Friendship of peoples” didn’t belong to the ancient epochs and its age was short. But since there are very few hydroelectric power stations in Belarus, HPS “Friendship of Peoples” is of particular interest, because it is a perfect example of the monumental industrial Stalinist architecture in the village of Drisvyaty.

The opening ceremony of the hydroelectric power plant with the participation government officials of Soviet republics and twenty thousand spiritualized citizens happened in July 1953. HPS “Friendship of Peoples” embodied a perfect example of pure friendship between three brotherly nations: Belarusians, Lithuanians and Latvians. It was built through the efforts of three collective farms located in these countries. Once the majestic monument to Comrade Stalin, casted in bronze, stood in beauty next to the station. However, a teeming activity gradually faded at the hydroelectric power station after the USSR dissolution. Not surprisingly, the monument was dismantled and buried somewhere, and no one knows its exact burial place.

Despite the fact that HPS “Friendship of Peoples” hasn’t operated in Drisvyaty for a long time, it doesn’t prevent the station from attracting tourists in Belarus and from neighboring countries. Someone comes here to feel nostalgic for sunk into oblivion Soviet epoch, someone comes just out of curiosity, somebody admires the grandiose Soviet architecture, over which time has no power. Soviet paraphernalia has still preserved on the facade of the hydroelectric power, but many rooms are “decorated” with the inscription “not admitted”. “Friendship of Peoples” guarantees every tourist an amazing panorama of Belarusian vast expanses, when even European landscapes are visible in the distance.

HPS “Friendship of Peoples” was expected to make an example of Drisvyaty village in the Soviet Union. For this reason, a long construction period and the subsequent grand opening were exhaustively covered in the Soviet media, starting from the local media and ending with All-Union newspaper “Pravda”. Large and small size prose, movies, and even an operetta were dedicated to the station rapid construction.

A curious fact is that tons of brought artillery gunpowder were used in an original method during the pit construction, which wasn’t burned completely – its remnants could be found in the vicinity of the hydroelectric power for a long time.

HPS “Friendship of Peoples” of Drisvyaty village though doesn’t operate now, but provides a wonderful pastime for those who are interested in Soviet imperishable classic.

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