The Prison of "Pishchalovsky Castle" in Minsk

Minsk

Architecture, Industrial buildings

Pishchalovsky Castle was named after Rudolph Pischallo, who was a contractor and received money fr om the treasury and ordered the building construction, carrying out the Russian Empire instructions. The fact that Minsk required prison, as the old building had strongly decayed and needed a serious renovation, the authorities decided to build a new stone prison. Although there is an opinion that the building was originally planned to be a palace, but after the construction it was forcibly bought out by the authorities and turned into a prison. Kazimir Hrschanovich was the architect instead of Pischallo, but you can often hear the opposite. There are still some debates on this point.

Pishchalovsky Castle is also called "Volodarka" by the street name of Volodarsky, where it is located. Back in 1825, a building of impressive size was built in Romanov Sloboda area. Volodarsky Street at that time was the outskirts of Minsk - now it is the capital centre. Pishchalovsky Castle operated as a prison for many years, and even during the Great Patriotic War being captured by the Germans was used as a place for partisans’ imprisonment. Now there is a detention facility.

It was decided to sanctify the prison therefore the prison temple was erected. During the construction, it became clear that the church altar wasn’t in the east but in the west, which was considered a bad omen, but the premise was still sanctified. The gaol is designed as a three-storey building with four towers, one of which has recently collapsed in 2008. Generally, the prison experienced its first rebuilt just a year after the construction. Since then, the building has been slightly reconstructed.

The Pishchalovskaya prison has a long and very sorrowful history. Many famous people served their time here: Vincent Dunin-Martsinkewich, Karus Kaganets, Ales Garun, Yakub Kolas, Felix Dzerzhinsky. Despite the fact that mostly the offenders had been in prison, many figures of culture and art were also in its walls, convicted of free thought and patriotism. During the entire prison existence only F. Dzerzhinsky managed to escape. The other two escape attempts ended in failure – the Pishchalovskaya prison is considered one of the most solid in the world.

The most shocking is the fact that the Pishchalovskaya prison is the only place in Europe wh ere for many years death penalty has been in force so far. It was cancelled only once, from 1947 to 1953. And since 1991 330 people have been deprived of their lives here. In 1937, during the Stalinist repressions, 36 Belarusian figures of science, culture and art were shot in the basement here...

It is rumored that they want to to turn Pishchalovskaya prison into a hotel with an unusual design or a museum, as the prison does not fit in the city’s centre any longer. Then many tourists would be able to get acquainted with this old-aged building. For obvious reasons, yet the gaol can only be seen from the outside.

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