The Estate of the Bulgak family “Dobosna” in the Village of Zhilichi
Palaces, manors, castles
Zhilichi has been known since the XIV century. First, the village was ruled by the princes of the Trabsky family, then – by the Hodkevich family, and later – the Sapega family. In the XVIII century, it came to possession of the Bulgak family, this family is considered to be its last owner.
“Zhilichi Versailles” or “Dobosna”
The palace and park complex in the village can be called in both ways. The palace designed in Classicism was constructed there in the late XIX – early XX centuries by order of Ignaty Bulgak.
The large-scale construction was started in Zhilichi in 1825 by order of the master. People knowledgeable in architecture say that Zhilichi Palace looks like French due to some design features. And it is not hearsay.
The initiator of the construction of the palace, Ignaty Bulgak, during the war with Napoleon, came to Paris with the Russian troops. The Russian Prince saw architectural masterpieces in the French capital, gathered a considerable collection of paintings by eminent artists of Europe and returned home being deeply impressed. He decided to fulfill his challenging ideas and to design Zhilichi Palace and park complex in the French style. Many believed that the palace of the Bulgak family turned out better and richer than that of the Radziwills.
The first owner and founder of Zhilichi Palace was a very successful man
He had established an economically competent household before constructing the palace on 30 acres. He took an active part in the political life of the state: he was Captain in Lida, Marshal in Bobruysk and the leader of the local gentry. The landlord grew 9 children and the complex came to possession of the youngest of the sons of Ignaty – Edgar, who sold it to his nephew in 1914. The latter was not its owner for long, after the revolution of 1917 he went to France.
The palace in the shape of the letter “П”
The two-storey building was constructed in two phases. At first – the manor house with an entrance hall, back rooms, a wide staircase and state rooms; and later – the wing hosting the castle church and several living rooms. A tropical greenhouse was laid out in another part of the palace.
The interior surprised and delighted at the same time. The interior was overfilled with decorative fixtures, was furnished richly and fashionably, and there were placed mirrors throughout the building. The owner of the estate was a distinguished connoisseur of music so all rooms of Zhilichi Dobosna had good acoustics.
The palace was really huge. Its buildings formed a ring, and there was an inner courtyard within it. Its sizes were comparable to these of a modern football pitch.
The entire complex of the Bulgak family occupied 100 hectares; it consisted of the large beautiful park in the midst of which there were a couple of ponds and the manor house of the palace. The park of 18 hectares was overfilled with sculptures, summerhouses and bridges.
The estate has withstood the challenges of the XX century
Fortunately, nor wars, neither revolutions could destroy this magnificent palace and park complex. The palace hosted a school for working youth in the 1920s, and it also hosted an agricultural school 10 years later. During the Great Patriotic War, the German army established a hospital in the building, and dead soldiers were buried in the park. The greenhouse was demolished by the occupants. All the memories about the Germans have been erased since the advent of peace in Zhilichi. Even the cemetery was not spared, all the ground was plowed. A museum began to function in the palace in 1996.
Today the palace is closed for the reconstruction. A local art school functions in one of the buildings. The park and pond are being renovated. Now every effort is being exerted to return the former majesty to Dobosna in Zhilichi.