The Estate of the Hmaras in the Village Syomkovo

Semkovo

Palaces, manors, castles

Syomkovo is a small village situated in the Papernya village council of the Minsk region. It is not far fr om Minsk, only 10 km from the Minsk Ring Road towards Myadel. The location has become popular not only thanks to its favorable geographical position near an object quite regularly visited by tourists – the Minsk Sea but also due to the fact that within it there are ruins of an ancient estate.

The premises of the Solomoretskies and Hmaras

Syomkovo has been known since the XVI century, but at the time it was called Syomkovo Solomoretskoe – in honor of the Solomoretskies princely dynasty, that governed the village and constructed a palace in the style of Renaissance in its territory. For a short time the village was in possession of the Statkevichis. In 1755 Syomkovo passed to the ownership of Adam Hmara – the last 29th war leader of Minsk. Thanks to him the estate whose ruins have survived was constructed.

The history of the estate

The Estate of the Hmaras was constructed within five years – since 1775 to 1780. The famous Italian architect Carlo Spampany conducted engineering works that originally meant - the palace would be elegant, glamorous and amazing with its majesty. This is exactly what happened: the palace-park ensemble consisted of numerous architectural and landscape elements, such as an estate house, two symmetrical outhouses, a hothouse, an impressive brahma, two circular verandas and a park in the French style with a fountain. The palace has entered history thanks to the fact that there stayed the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – Stanislav August Ponyatovsky. It is not surprising that the walls of the estate were worthy of the king himself: even a single dining hall was designed for one hundred persons! Besides, the rich interior of the estate impressed with its style and elegance: an abundance of moldings, golden chandeliers, numerous paintings and expensive furniture can bribe the most perfectionist guests. Adam Hmara being an intelligent and well-educated man had a book huge collection numbering 8000 examples of books, a numismatic collection and numerous valuable icons.

The beautiful park that was part of the complex was situated on the three terraces at the foot of the estate house that was traditionally the highest point of the ensemble. There are still lime trees that were planted at the time of the palace complex’s creation. Today they have the status of natural monuments.

Besides, the estate’s history is closely connected with the Belarusian literature. The last owner of Syomkovo built in the territory of the village a winery wh ere once Yanka Kupala came to have a seasonal work. In Syomkovo the parents of Maxim Bogdanovich got married, and another prominent figure of the Belarusian literature – Yakub Kolas – also worked there for a short period of time.

Later the vicissitudes of history were not favorable to the monument of architecture. In 1917 the palace accommodated a children’s boarding home. The Great Patriotic War that had come to the lands of Syomkovo made a concentration camp of the palace. Children that were not evacuated became victims of Nazi experiments … Just over a half of five hundred children that were at the time in the Estate of the Hmaras could survive.

The Estate of the Hmaras in the XXI century

Since the 2000-s the estate has been dilapidated and neglected. With the efforts of volunteers its territory becomes gradually cleared up, but the building of the palace is in a critical state. However, the project of restoration is being developed so very soon the Estate of the Hmaras will appear before tourists in all its glory of ancient architecture.

 

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