The Church of the Virgin Mary in Smolyany village

Smolyani

Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

Sometimes it’s difficult to determine what is better – when some architectural structure is regularly restored and redone or if it survives with its original appearance. This question is raised while looking at the impressive ruins of the Church of the Virgin Mary in Smolyany.

The most ancient structure of Smolyany and the nearby area

From the earliest times the territory of Smolyany of Orsha district in Vitebsk region has been profitably situated – along the “Rode from the Vikings to the Greeks” and not far from the largest rivers – the Dnepr and the Zapadnaya Dvina. The high level of the cultural and economic development contributed to rather early appearance of religious attitudes among the local residents.

The Church of the Virgin Mary appeared in Smolyany in the late 70-s of the XVII century. The project was worked out by the talented and well-known artist Sergey Rabtsevich. Originally the church was a part of the larger complex of Dominican Monastery.

The architectural style of Vilna Baroque was becoming increasingly popular at that time: we can notice all its main characteristics in the ruins of the church. These are some dissymmetry of the walls and towers of the structure alongside with classical designing – two towers with a gable between them. Unfortunately, nothing of the inner decoration has survived to our days, so we can’t make our judgment about the interior of the church.

Interestingly, ancient artifacts are often found in the vicinity of the church, they are handed over to the national museums all over the country. For example, it was in the late XX century when school students found a medallion, goblets and some other items from the past in the ruins.

The further transformations

As it is known, in the late XIX century, the whole monastic complex had suffered some necessary modifications led by the architect L. Daukshi. He was responsible for the inner decoration of the Church of the Virgin Mary. However, the church performed its functions for a short period of time.

In the 1930-s, the monastery with the church were closed and transformed into storage for economic purposes. The church was neglected up to the end of the 80-s of the last century.

Today all you can see on the site of the once impressive complex is the half-destroyed facade of the church and a modest one-storey building not far from it that was a part of the monastery. Out of ignorance it was almost taken to pieces in 2013.

At the same time, the survived ruins of the Church of the Virgin Mary are a veritable monument not only of folk architecture but also of history, in general. It was not subjected to the interference of modern architects for years, thereby retained its identity and originality.

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